Q: How much of an advantage do in-state athletes have over out-of-state players for scholarships?
A: Every coaching staff will say that they put priority on keeping the best in-state players at home. But when making scholarship decisions, it’s irrelevant to coaches where you are from. They are looking to sign the best players that they can, period!
Being in-state does help you get your foot in the door. Many programs split up the home state, giving each assistant coach an assigned area to monitor and build relationships in. Most schools make it a priority to keep “the best players in the state at home,” making sure each of the assistant coaches play a role in identifying ALL potential recruits in the state and building relationships with prep coaches and programs at home. Each assistant is often assigned a handful of counties to become an expert in within the state, so you probably have a better chance to get someone to watch your unsolicited film.
In most cases, college coaches still put a lot of attention to in-state high schools even if they currently have no prospects. They will spend time talking to prep coaches and their players who may not make the cut athletically as a goodwill gesture for the program. They are building long-term relationships for the future so that once the school has a great player they will already have close relationships with the coaching staff. They’re never just building for that season, they’re building for the future. Being an in-state player can help you get a quick evaluation but won’t usually effect scholarship decisions.