April 23, 2018

Studies show Maryland has (some of) the best high school sports in the country

Good Counsel football takes the field before their nationally televised game on ESPN against DeMatha. Maryland ranks fifth in sending football players to Division I programs. File photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

One of the main reasons we launched Maryland Sports Access is to fill a void in a region that’s rich in high school sports. We, and just about every Maryland resident who craves their local prep sports, can now justify our schools provide some of the top athletic play in the country.

With some new software, the NCAA research department decided to produce some social media content, charting the percentage of athletes from each state recruited to play for a Division I college with data from 2013-16. Of the 11 studied sports, Maryland ranked first four times and in the top five eight times. 

Let’s breakdown the results, starting with football:

Florida shouldn’t be a surprise at No. 1 with a 9.9 percent clip. The Sunshine State takes ownage of the most dominant gridiron program in recent years, IMG Academy, and has a trio of rich in-state college programs (Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes) to motivate the up-and-comers.

Maryland checks in at No. 5 with a 6.5 percent mark, above nationally hyped hotbeds Alabama (5 percent), California (3.5 percent) and Texas (2.7 percent). With nationally ranked regulars like DeMatha and Good Counsel out of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, and other stout programs like Bullis, Gilman, McDonogh, Mount St. Joseph and St. Frances Academy, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Consistently dominant public school programs with healthy feeder systems like Fort Hill, Damascus, Linganore, Northwest, Quince Orchard and Wise is a large reason for Maryland’s top five positioning as well.

It’s also worth noting D.C. sits at No. 4 at 7.2 percent. WCAC stalwarts like Gonzaga College and St. John’s College can take majority ownership of that statistic.

[RELATED: NFL players born in Md.]

On the hardwood, regardless of gender, Maryland is no match. Five percent of boys hoopers go Division I, a full percent and a half higher than second-place North Carolina. On the girls side of things, four and a half percent play at the highest level. With traditionally rich pockets like Baltimore and Prince George’s County, nurturers of some of the nation’s top ballers, this is once again no surprise. 

Recent NBA Champion and Finals MVP, Kevin Durant (Montrose Christian), and 2017 No. 1 draft pick, Markelle Fultz (DeMatha), are from PG County. NBA perennials Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) and Rudy Gay (Severn), were raised in Baltimore.  

With elite programs like Bullis, DeMatha, Goretti, John Carroll, McDonogh, Mount St. Joseph, Patterson, Perry Hall Rock Creek Christian Academy, St. Frances Academy, Maryland should stay on top for a while. 

If you had to pick one statistic on this page to determine which state produces the best pure athletes, it’s this one. And of course, Maryland’s girls athletes sit first at 6.7 percent and the boys claim second at 4.5 percent.

It’s also worth noting Marylanders Matthew Centrowitz and Christina Epps both competed in last summer’s Rio Olympic track and field games, with Epps taking home two gold medals.

Well, would you look at that — another Maryland first. Nearly four percent of male footballers (3.7) go D-I. For lady footballers, 4.3 percent go D-1, which ranks fourth.

For wrestling, Maryland checks in at No. 5 with 2.5 percent of its athletes going D-1. It’s worth noting that Kyle Snyder, a Good Counsel alum, won a gold medal at last year’s Rio Olympics. Rockville native and female wrestler Helen Maroulis also won a gold medal at last summer’s olympics as well.

Here’s how Maryland fares on the diamond: 4.9 percent of Maryland baseball players go D-1, which ranks tied for seventh, and 2.3 percent of Maryland softball players go D-1, which ties for 13th.

For girls volleyball players, 2.3 percent go D-1, which ranks 14th.

The NCAA research department did forget one sport, though: Lacrosse. But Marylanders already know who would be first in that department. 

About Kyle McFadden 416 Articles
Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School's Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore's student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles. McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access. With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels. McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church -- serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night. Although he's only been around journalism since January 2014, he's a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post. McFadden's work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He's also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists. McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor's degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.
Contact: Twitter

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