How would you interpret this stat blurb? (Texas vs. Oklahoma)

I recall a TV statistic blurb during a Texas vs. Oklahoma college football game (around a decade ago) that said that more than 30 Oklahoma players playing in that game were from the state of Texas, whereas not a single Texas player was from Oklahoma.

Seems that there are several different ways to interpret this, which could be to either Longhorns or Sooners’ fans advantage:
[li]Oklahoma Sooners football is so good that many Texas players prefer to go there rather than play for their home state.[/li][li]Texas football rosters are so hard to get onto that many Texas players just go to Oklahoma instead.[/li][li]Oklahoma has such a shortage of football players that it can’t fill them all in-state and hence has to recruit players from nearby Texas instead, which has a much larger population.[/li][/ul]
What does that stat really suggest?

The latter interpretation is closest to my takeaway, which is just that Texas is a far larger state with seven times the population, and since each school is going to have 90-100 players, it makes sense that OU would be more likely to have players from Texas than UT would have players from Oklahoma.

It’s a combo of all 3.

The level of highest quality football talent in Oklahoma goes to OU the majority of the time. Sometimes it ends up at OSU, sometimes it ends up elsewhere (SEC normally), but not many get away from OU. But there isn’t enough 4* and 5* guys to run a full program.

There are scads of elite players in Texas. If you are fantastic, you can normally choose if you go to UT or TAMU. If you aren’t the very cream of the crop, there may not be a scholarship for you in College Station or Austin. If you aren’t at that level, you can go to TTU, TCU, or Baylor. OU is a better option than those, Oklahoma State is normally a half step behind. And some players from Texas want to be at OU. Whole buncha grads from the state of Oklahoma end up south of the Red River.

And then you have the annoying fact that OU has been a stronger football program for the last long while than anyone else in the region. Which sucks.

It’s mainly an issue of the talent pool.

Programs that are serious about football, but are located in a state with sparse homegrown talent are forced to recruit elsewhere.

Nebraska is another program that heavily recruits out of state for that reason.

Think of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. I haven’t checked the rosters (maybe someone else can?), but I think I’m safe in saying that Michigan has a high number of players from Ohio, while OSU has very few players from Michigan. It’s just a matter of where the high school talent is located.

It sounds like they were intending to get across the first point, but the third point is a lot closer to reality.

The cynic might opines that OU pays more than UT.

I have a vested interest, so keep that in mind.

A decade ago when you heard the broadcast, both teams were top five programs. At that time #3 was the best explanation. Since then, UT has been in a serious state of decline (with a bit of an improvement this year). Now #3 still stands, but #1 is also a factor.

However, the real reasons are more complex. The mentality in Texas (UT, A&M, TCU, etc) has been to recruit Texas players almost exclusively. So for the most part all of these teams are made up primarily of Texas HS players. In fact, Texas HS coaches (reportedly) even punished the Texas colleges that tried to recruit outside of the state by limiting access. OU usually gets their pick of Oklahoma HS players, but that only amounts to a handful or less of the 25 allowed each year. But unlike UT, OU is a national recruiter and finds players from many states.

Texas population is 28 million, OK about 3.9 million. Smaller states like OK always have to recruit all over to compete with teams in bigger states. Even with Texas, Texas A&M, Houston, etc. there are still enough Texas players that can go to out of state schools.

Perhaps a bit off topic, but this article lists 14 guys who grew up in Texas that are now quarterbacks in the NFL. Only one of them went to the University of Texas.

Patrick Mahomes: Texas Tech
Robert Griffin III: Baylor
Colt McCoy: Texas
Chase Daniel: Missouri
Baker Mayfield: Oklahoma
Ryan Tannehill: Texas A&M
Josh McCown: SMU & Sam Houston State
Case Keenum: Houston
Nick Foles: Arizona
Andy Dalton: TCU
Derek Carr: Fresno State
Matthew Stafford: Georgia
Andrew Luck: Stanford
Drew Brees: Purdue

Foles, Brees, and Mayfield grew up in the Austin area, and Griffin less than an hour away, and none of them went to UT. Lot of talent to go around in Texas.

My first thought would be that the border between Oklahoma and Texas is an arbitrary one that doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of sporting inherent to the people on either side. Texas is a huge state with a lot of people and a lot of people who grow up playing football. That means there are naturally many more high-quality football players in Texas than in Oklahoma. Because the university system is based on the arbitrary state borders you have the phenomenon of Oklahoma’s potential pool of athletes including a lot of people from Texas.