Does Hillsborough County Belong in the ‘Big Three?’

We’ve been dealing with the ‘Big 3’ label in the State of Florida for a long time when discussing our college programs. What about the same scenario in terms of counties producing the best talent in the state and nation for that matter?

The 2011 Edition of National Signing Day promises to see over 50 kids sign Letters of Intent (LOI) to play at the next level in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. If you were to look a little closer at three specific counties in this state, you would probably like what you see if your a fan of the local scene. It’s hard to argue against Broward and Dade Counties as being the area that coaches covet the most, but the facts are Hillsborough is right there at the top with them.

Breaking Hillsborough into a Top 20 list from multiple sources and comparing that with the Miami Herald’s Top 20 list from the two counties shows that the Tampa Bay Area (and Hillsborough County specifically) is one behind Broward County, and two ahead of Dade County when it comes to sending players to BCS conference Schools. Of the Top 20 in Broward County, 16 of those players have either verbally committed, signed LOI’s, or will do so next Wednesday. Hillsborough comes in second with 15, and Dade County gets the Bronze Medal with 13.

Although things run in cycles when discussing recruiting and many times cannot be determined until 2, 3, even 4 years ahead, it’s apparent that Hillsborough is catching up on the team front as well. Quite a few people saw Hillsborough County put three teams into the State Finals, and nearly saw a fourth. Although finishing with a 1-2 record, it should be taken as a sign that this area is serious about competing on more than just a regional or even statewide scale. Now that the doors have been busted open with out-of-state scheduling, it will no longer be a surprise that a team from this area is on at least once a year.

I would say things are pretty bright in this part of the Sunshine State. Pretty bright indeed.