There may be many reasons for the talent advantage in the south. Football may simply be more popular in the south. Warmer weather makes for a longer period of outdoor activity and practice. Simply spending more time in the sun leads to higher Vitamin D levels which can further boost athletic performance. As suggested by Dr. Cannell: Five converging—but totally separate—lines of scientific evidence leave little doubt that vitamin D improves athletic performance. Vitamin D is a potent steroid hormone that needs to be managed. Most people don't get enough sunshine especially in the north where the sun is too weak to produce Vitamin D in the winter.
The Rivals recruiting data base rates recruits by state. It's easy enough to calculate the number of top recruits (3, 4 and 5 star) per million population in each state and compare with the average amount of sunshine in the state (Ultra Violet Index). The top states are:
|State||Population (Mil)||Rivals 3*,4*&5*||Athletes/Million||UVI|
Figure 1 summarizes the number of 3 or more star rated recruits for all states for which Rivals rates football prospects. Figure 2 summarizes the number of 4 and 5 star recruits by state.
Figure 1. Correlation of Rivals 3, 4 and 5 Star Football Prospects with the UV Index.
Figure 2. Correlation of Rivals 4 and 5 Star Football Prospects with the UV Index.
The correlations evident in Figures 1 and 2 are quite significant. While it is well known that recruiting the south is important, if Vitamin D is a significant reason for the prolific production of top quality athletes, then those in the north should be able to enhance their prospects by better managing their Vitamin D intake.
So the most important star in the recruiting game may be the one most of us don't get enough of (at least in the northern latitudes). The UV Index is a measure of the potential for Vitamin D production. Vitamin D is a potent steroid hormone that is vital for good health and developing to one's fullest potential. While southern athletes have a natural advantage due to greater sun intensity, northern athletes can level the playing field by means of diet and supplements.