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Am considering a move from NJ to TX (DFW area) following my son's HS graduation in 2022.  He wants continue playing baseball in college and preference is that he will be in college within 2-3 hours drive from us.  Most likely will be looking at D2, D3 or NAIA schools.

How does the competition in TX at these levels compare to the Northeast?  It's clear that the level of competition at D1 programs in TX is better.  I haven't heard much about the level of D2 or D3 programs in TX in comparison to a conference like the PSAC (D2) or NJAC (D3)

Any insights would be appreciated.

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Within 3 hours of DFW you have a range from Abilene to the West, Shreveport, LA to the East, Oklahoma City to the North and Austin (on a good day) to the South.  Within that range you are looking at only a relative handful of schools as you won’t find the density you have in the Northeast.  For example the state of New Jersey has only 1 less D3 baseball school than the whole state of Texas despite being 1/12 the size.  Pennsylvania and New York each have twice as many D3 baseball schools as Texas.

Within your 3 hour drive requirement you have roughly 10 schools in each of the 3 divisions you are targeting.  Thats about 1000 roster spots that I would guess are almost 100% filled with local kids.  Not to mention, a lot of these schools are rural and the cultural fit for a Jersey boy could be tough.

Not trying to rain on your parade but I think these are real considerations.

College Baseball Hub has great maps of the schools by division, laid out on a map, that can help you see what schools are within the area you are targeting.

Last edited by 22and25

You can search for schools at each level in Texas through FieldLevel and/or NCSA.  See links:

As discussed above, schools are much more spread out in Texas.  It takes an hour to an hour and a half to simply get across the DFW area, so traveling to Austin (approximately 3 hours south) or Shreveport (three hours east) or Abilene (2 hours west), Houston (3 hours southeast), or Oklahoma City (3 hours north) are not considered long drives. 

Hope this helps . . .

Texas has 2 of the top 10 D2 teams in the country (Angelo State and UT Tyler), Central Oklahoma, West Texas A&M and Oklahoma Baptist are top 25 +- programs, many of the top JUCOs in the country are in Texas as well.  All within 3-5 hours.  I would venture to say that the competition level is very high.  I have no direct knowledge of Jersey, but believe you would find the competition at the highest level in the DFW area.

@Smitty28 posted:

When I saw the title of this thread I couldn't help but think of food... NJ Italian food vs TX, Texas BBQ vs NJ, Mexican food in Texas vs NJ...

When my parents got divorced my mother moved to Maine where she grew up. I flew in from LA one summer. I told her I would rent a car and catch up with her. She was at a Mexican restaurant with a couple of friends. I walked in and ordered a grilled cheese and fries.

One of her friends mentioned it was odd to order a grilled cheese in a Mexican restaurant. I commented it would be more odd to live in California and travel to Texas on business and expect Mexican food in Maine to be comparable.

Now that I’m back on the east coast I’ve acclimated to what I used to refer to as Tourist-Mex. Fortunately I have a Mexican heritage friend who gives me her homemade hot sauce. Taco Bell has Mild, Hot and Fire. Her sauce would be called Explosion.

As someone who lived in NH for many years, I'd say NJ is not in the northeast - closer to mid-Atlantic ;-)...  Beyond that is it your son's desire for being 2-3 hours away or the parents desire? The short answer / assumption I have for your basic question is TX baseball will be deeper than NJ.

Anyway - here's a perspective for you as a parent of NH players and having umpired games at the "better" and "larger division" HS schools... I've seen HS baseball in NH, NC, and FL - the biggest difference I've found is rosters in warmer climates are much deeper for the better schools. Let's say for NH it was 3-4 players deep, NC was 5-6 deep and in FL 7-8 deep. That is good hitters up and down - they've seen a lot of baseball and play year round. One my sons was an effective, but not top level pitcher in NH that went to a D3 in PA - he was mid 80's FB. He did OK, wasn't dominant, could pitch outs (if only the fielders would make the plays - that's a different story).  Another son again not top level, but was able to get his FB to upper 80's ended up at a D2 school in NC and quickly found that batters in D2 will hit a straight fastball a long freaking way. Watching the D3 games - the better teams had deep rosters, but still lots of "holes"... Watching the D2 games there were much fewer "holes".

So what's the moral here? It's all about perspective and being realistic. You now have a map of the schools - go make visits. Do your own comparison. What type of school / division do you play in NJ - the answer doesn't matter, but understand the comparison you need to make. Consider is it 'more important' to be on a roster of a mediocre team and get to play or be on roster of a good team and possibly never see the field? Oh and of course, don't forget the broken leg test - will you be happy at the school if you get injured and cannot play.

I think if you follow along long enough here - you'll read that when players that go top D1 and don't get the play time they want or feel they deserve, they will transfer to either a lower D1 or a D2 or a D3 school. That transfer may include a trip thru some juco, some naia, etc. type school.  If you're a coach there, that player is coming for a reason and will take the roster spot of someone else. Oh and those players want to go to the top lower level school because they feel they would be the "king of the hill" there. They may not be, but that's something the coach will need to figure out and ego wise they may not necessarily like bringing in a player, finding out he's worse than what he has, and then sitting that player - makes 'em look bad.

Good luck with the decision! I hope you get to see some baseball in TX and can/will report back here what you find.

I want to mention one possible consideration at the D3 level:

When we looked at one of the very best schools (both in terms of academics and D3 baseball) in TX, it seemed like there was not a lot of financial aid to go around. I'm not sure about NJ, but at the NY, PA, and New England schools we considered, FA is generous.

JohnF’s post provoked a thought about evaluating the baseball between Texas and NJ.  With Covid, there will be a lot of streaming going on of regular season HS baseball games.  It wouldn’t be hard to pick a few high schools in the DFW area that are similar in size to your son’s NJ HS and watch a game or two.  See what he is going to be competing against for those roster spots.  Check those rosters against Perfect Game profiles to see where some might be committed.  

You could perhaps look at some of the colleges he might target, see where kids that play his position went to HS then see if you can find a live stream of that HS playing this spring.  Maybe useful, maybe not....just thinking aloud.

Last edited by 22and25

Some of the most desirable places to live in Texas cities are also the areas where the athletics in the schools are extremely tough.  Lots of those districts have multiple high level players in every sport.  My son's freshman year at our school there were 12 seniors.  Some of them never saw the field except for senior night and every one of them went on to play college baseball.  I think with Covid, it has been tough on recruiting for the 2021 kids who were looking for D2, D3 and NAIA.  They have been finding placements but not a lot of them were at Texas schools.

Here's a list of one website's opinion of the best Texas HS teams in 6a (enrollment over 2200 students) schools in one Region 1 (roughly the DFW area).  You could check some of their rosters and games, as mentioned above.  Perhaps some may be streamed.

This is from the website

Region I Top 10 Teams
1. Prosper – Returning 10 starters from an 11-2 team
2. Marcus – Returning 6 starters from an 11-2 team
3. Southlake Carroll – Returning 7 starters from a 14-2 team
4. Keller – Returning 7 starters from an 11-3 team
5. Frenship – Returning 7 starters from an 11-4 team
6. McKinney Boyd – Returning 5 starters from a 9-2-2 team
7. Flower Mound – Returning 4 starters from a 10-3 team
8. Dallas Jesuit – Returning 10 starters from an 8-4 team
9. El Paso Montwood – Returning 7 starters from a 6-4-2 team
10. Odessa Permian – Returning 3 starters from a 13-4 team

As someone who lived in NH for many years, I'd say NJ is not in the northeast - closer to mid-Atlantic ;-)...

It’s all perspective. When I lived in California I heard people refer to Chicago as back east. As someone who grew up in New England (CT, ME, MA) through soph year of high school it was absurd sounding.

I’ve lived in southeast Pennsylvania and considered it the Mid Atlantic region. But everything from metro DC to metro Boston is geographically considered the Northeast Corridor. This is even though when crossing into Maryland on I-95 you’ve crossed the Mason-Dixon Line (the south).

Last edited by RJM

All, thank you very much for the thoughtful replies and the links to the various resources!  Quite a lot for us to consider.  From what I can see it does look like avg FB velo, 60 yd times, exit velo does appear to be higher when comparing D2 programs in TX vs D2 in PA (PSAC conference) or D3 in TX vs D3 conf NJAC). Of course, a lot more goes into determining quality of competition beyond these few metrics but it does appear that the athletic baseline is somewhat higher

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