A Guide On Where NCAA Teams Specialize (Part 2)

 * Georgia's Matthew Boling in the long jump

Photo Credit: University of Georgia sports department

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By Garrett Zatlin - MileSplit Recruiting Correspondent

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Last week, we dove into an examination of NCAA track and field programs and their particular roster strengths, as viewed by their recruiting practices. 

Today, we shift to the final three event disciplines. 

Below, I've highlighted a few different event areas and analyzed which schools go after certain athletes.

This is part two of a two-part examination on the specialization of track and field programs. 


Part 1: A Guide On Where NCAA Teams Specialize In Event Areas


Trying to figure out the throwing events and how NCAA Division I programs recruit is a little bit of a challenge.

This is because, unlike the sprints or the distance events, there isn't necessarily a clear reason why some of these throwers go to certain schools.

For instance, NCAA programs in the midwest, specifically in the BIG 10, often have men and women sitting near the top of the NCAA leaderboard in the throws.

Not all of these throwers are American, but there are still enough United States-based recruits to make the Huskers, as well as the rest of the BIG 10, key players when it comes to attracting throwers.

Just take a look at Class of 2020 graduate Jeff Kline, who signed with Maryland. How about current Yorkville High School senior and Illinois native Kyle Clabough, who signed with Wisconsin?

We also can't forget about Santa Fe Trail's (KS) Brett Schwartz, the top discus thrower in the country so far this spring. He's signed with Nebraska.

On the girls side, Shenango's (PA) Emma Callahan, the nation's current leader in the girls shot put, has signed with Iowa.

We also need to mention Bullis School's (MD) Trinity Franklinwho is currently the nation's second-best senior in the girls shot put this spring. She has signed with Michigan.

And Alexandria's (VA) Wisdom Williams? The third-best senior in the shot put? Yeah, she also signed with Iowa.

All six of those names who I just mentioned either signed with a BIG 10 school or currently attend a BIG 10 school. This conference has a substantial influence when it comes to recruiting the top throwers in the country.

Other teams such as Arizona and Arizona State have had a few select standout stars in the throws. As a result, they have landed elite names from the high school recruiting pool.

The University of Virginia also has a strong history of incredible throws success. While some years have been better than others, their recent recruiting has been phenomenal.


The jump events are a bit unique, mainly because they vary in terms of the athletic ability required to succeed in them.

The high jump, for instance, requires a different skill set than the one you would need for the long jump and the triple jump.

And the pole vault? Well, that's the most unique event that track and field has.

Jumps success is a bit scattered, but much like the sprints, you can often find many of the best jumpers in the SEC.

This is because many jumpers are incredibly versatile and can often compete in more than just one event.

As a result, these athletes are increasingly more valuable as potential scorers, leaving fully-funded programs in the SEC and BIG 12 to aggressively pursue these athletes in recruiting.

That would explain why teams like LSU, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Texas A&M have a history of success in the jumps.

It also makes sense why those are some of the best NCAA programs in the country.

For example, Georgia's Matthew Boling, a '19 Houston Strake Jesuit graduate, is not only an all-time elite sprinter, but he was also the nation's top long jumper this past winter.

And how about the fact that five of the last 10 men's winners for The Bowerman award have been jumps specialists?

Pole vaulters aren't recruited the same way that other jumpers are. This might be because pole vaulters are typically less versatile than standard vertical and horizontal jumpers.

Teams like BYU, Kansas, LSU, South Dakota, Virginia Tech, Arkansas and a few select others have an extensive history of success with pole vaulters.

And with that athletic success has come recruiting success.

Photo Credit: Duke athletics


Much like the sprints and the jumps, the teams that thrive in the recruiting circuit when searching for hurdlers are the teams from down south.

If you take a look at the top of the national high school leaderboard in the 110/100m hurdles and the 300m and 400m hurdles, you'll find that many of those top talents are going to southern-based programs well below the Mason Dixon line.

Once again, teams like Texas and Texas A&M have made their presence known when it comes to recruiting hurdlers. However, other teams from the BIG 10 and PAC-12 have also been able to land a few top-level talents of their own.

For the most part, the usual suspects like LSU and Arkansas continue to have a massive influence in this area of recruiting. Baylor, North Carolina A&T and a few schools out west can also be put in this conversation.

That said, there are other teams like Iowa and Duke that have had major success in these areas of recruiting and, as a result, have found a way to put their school near the top of the NCAA leaderboard in the hurdles events.

Hurdlers and sprinters often hold many similarities thanks to their closely mirrored skill sets required to succeed in both areas.

Sure enough, that scoring value is reflected in how coaches are approaching recruiting.