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I was doing some research for my website and wanted to share some information. We have all discussed roster reading in the past, but I don’t think families are using roster reading as well as they could be. First, you should consider yourself pretty lucky that you can basically access any roster in the entire country online and see what players are currently on the team, their positions, their year of graduation, and where they are from. This can give you an idea of what the team and coach might be looking for in terms of positional players, where the coach actively recruits and what players are getting playing time. Some recruits will notice only 2 or 3 freshman but won’t notice that those freshman are playing every game and every inning.

My goal was to try and find a college baseball program that consisted of all players from the same State. While I didn’t succeed, I came pretty close. The University of South Florida baseball team has 29 players on its roster and 28 are from Florida.

Lets look at why this is the case.

(1) Florida is a state that has tremendous participation at the high school level for the sport of baseball and with the weather that allows for baseball to be played all year, Florida has very talented baseball players at the high school level.
(2) Given this vast pool of talent, from a time and cost perspective, its makes little sense for the coaching staff to scout in other regions of the country.
(3) USF is a state school and since there are only 11.7 baseball scholarships available (assuming the team has that many) they can use their scholarship dollars better with in-state recruits
(4) The majority of the college baseball teams in Florida, regardless of Division are extremely talented, so there is less incentive for top Florida high school baseball players to leave the state to compete. Players from say New England want to leave because the weather is terrible here.
(5) Florida has a tuition reciprocity program which rewards money to students with certain grades who want to attend a State School in Florida.

Now despite the fact that you have a desire to play for a team like this and the skills, you have several factors working against you. From a coaches perspective, there is simply so many local baseball players with talent that they don’t really have the time, need, or desire to recruit in other parts of the country, and who can blame them. It’s like catching a lot of fish in one part of the lake and deciding to leave to try and catch the same fish in another spot. Never leave fish to find fish!

The one player not from Florida on the roster is from New York. After reviewing his stats in high school, I can see why he was able to be recruited by USF. In his junior year he struck out 110 batters in 43 innings. In his senior year he struck out 90 batters in 44 innings and opponents hit .035 against him. I haven’t seen him personally pitch, but based on those stats over the last two years of high school, it would appear he has some talent.

Now, its not that USF doesn’t want to recruit out-of-state players, its just harder for them to evaluate out-of-state players - well, because they are out of the state. Another factor I learned after speaking to one of the assistant coaches is that they will only recruit out-of-state players (as long as they have seen them play) who will be impact players. They will not sign an out-of-state player to be a role player because it’s too far to come not to play.

It’s certainly possible to be a talented player from another part of the country and capable of playing for a team like this, but unless you understand how the coach recruits, and other factors that go into the recruiting process (the particular school, the local talent), despite your desire, getting recruited by a team like this will be more difficult.

With USF’s move to the Big East, they will get more exposure to other parts of the East Coast and they will start to draw more interest from recruits in other states and they may start to recruit more players from out-of-state because those players will get a chance to return home on a more frequent basis to play road games.

Understanding rosters, how the coach recruits, and what the team is looking for is an important part of the recruiting process. I hope this helps!

Dave G
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Dave ...

Great post. Our son's school, U C Riverside, has all Cali players except one from Oregon ... who was raised in California and attended another Cali school before coming to UCR.

For our school, one of the key factors is ... BUDGET !!! With cut backs in the athletic budgets due to state budget problems (made famous in the fall of '03), even if the coaches wanted to recruit from out of state, they would have limits on the $cholarship money available to offer an out-of-state athlete.

Just another factor to add to your excellent post ...

Mary Ann (a k a ShapsMa)

some very fine points made, but I think we can take it even further

Look at it from a purely business aspect:

In many cases, particularly where HOPE scholarship type situations prevail,players are able to get into school with 3.0 GPA or better and going tuition free--- to bring in an out of state player costs them loads of $$$$---perhaps they can get three instate players, as good or equal, for the cost of one out of state player.

After all college baseball is a business--with the numerous Showcase events in Florida getting to see out of state players is not the problem it used to be--there are 1500 plus players every October in Jupiter and a good portion are from out of state.--is a money situation more than anything.

Good tread

Some recruits will notice only 2 or 3 freshman but won’t notice that those freshman are playing every game and every inning.

So is this a BAD thing? Does it show a willingness on the coaches part to play freshman, or mean the guys right in front of you are probably won't. Confused

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." Rogers Hornsby, Hall of Famer

ghouse....Excellent post and accurate. My son is one of those USF recruits and in actuality they rarely recruit outside of the Tampa Bay area. The coach was being upfront with you. That being said, it does not mean that they would not welcome any of the quality ballplayers from the Northeast-or any other part of the country. I'm sure that the President of USF would love to have the diversity on all her athletic teams but economics is the name of the game. Moving
to the Big East will certainly open up recruiting from the NE but I
don't think it will mean a big change in the look of the roster.

11.7 divided by 30 ballplayers makes it very difficult for a coach to
get a top out of state player to leave that state when the player could do much better staying at home. Looking at some of the private school rosters will show more diversity because they are able to move
$ around and give grants,etc(academic) to players without affecting their scholarship quotas. Not sure how they do it.


My third point (3) addresses the fact that scholarship money can be used better for in-state recruits as you have stated.

As far as showcases go, I would suspect that following a local player in high school for 3 years is a much more effective means to recruiting than seeing 1,500 players play for a few days or a week out of a year. And as the assistant stated, you may be good enough to make the team and compete at that level, but unless they think you can be a major contributor, they aren't going to recruit you to be a role player. In this scenario, you have to be better than the local talent, not “as good as the local talent”

Obviously Florida coaches see a lot of players through showcases, and they have to weigh a brief showcase appearance against highly skilled players that they have been following in high school for several years that play in their own backyard and want to continue to play locally in college.


It's not a question of good or bad, its a matter of who is currently getting playing time on the roster. Maybe I didn't do a good job of explaining that point.

My point was is that some people just look at the roster and say, "Ok, they only have two freshman so maybe the coach needs new players and there won't be that much competition when I arrive next year." You have to look a little deeper and see what role those players play on the team. The reverse can hold true for rosters with lots of freshman, some recruits will see a roster with 10 freshman on it and assume that there is a logjam of players on the team, but 9 of those freshman may have seen little or no playing time and may simply just be "on the team". You also need to talk to the coach to get a sense of how he feels about certain positions. The coach may say the 3rd baseman who played last year is really an outfielder but our 3rd baseaman was hurt or transferred, and that they would like to move that player back to outfield once they find a suitable 3rd baseman which may be you, but it might not be you unless you ask the right questions.
Tom, I was simply pointing out that I mentioned that scholarship dollars can be used better for in-state players. I thought you simply may have missed the fact that I wrote that.

Unless you have psychic powers or have been trained in some unknown form of english language analysis, I have no idea how you can tell me what type of tone I had or was trying to project or what I am feeling when I write a sentenc like this.

My third point (3) addresses the fact that scholarship money can be used better for in-state recruits as you have stated.

I was simply pointing out the fact that I mentioned this already as one of the factors.

You didnt expand on what I said, you simply re-said it, and I only thought you missed what I had wrote, nothing more, nothing less.
With prepaid tuition available in Fl, and an option to have 75%-100% tuition paid for (does not include room and board - thanks to the FL lottery) talent and 11.7 scholarships available, why should FLorida schools go looking out of state? By the way, some of those out of state players may just well be alumni's kids, they get $$$ also. There has been some talk lately of this program being dissolved somewhere in the future.
USF has a fine program and they do recruit many from the south florida area as well. With the rising cost of college tuitions, unless a better opportunity is offered elsewhere most FL parents would never let their sons go out of state.
By the way private colleges/universities in FL will accept the 75-100% tuition also, based on a public college/university's costs.
M & M,
Most Flordia schools do play freshman. The reason being the talent is so great, these players can make an impact in the program immediately. You will also notice that in some out of state schools the roster might include a freshman from Florida.

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