For years, players were only ranked nationally on a top 100 list. But after digging deeper and deeper each year, it became clear to Rivals.com that there were many more blue-chip players that deserved national recognition.
That's why the Rivals250 was created three years ago.
With the first release of the ranking for the class of 2008 on Tuesday, it has become a true barometer as to where the top talent is at both regionally and by position.
Rivals250 by State
8t. N. Carolina
8t. S. Carolina
10t. New Jersey
22t. New York
33t. Dist. of Col.
33t. New Mexico
As expected, there's no shortage of talent in the big three states of California, Florida and Texas. Those are the states that lead the way in the Rivals250. California has 32 players on the list, followed closely by Florida with 31 and Texas with 30.
Once you peel off the top layer and look beyond the big three, it's clear that some states are more loaded than others this season.
A great example is Ohio. The initial Rivals250 will have 13 players from the Buckeye State. After already having eight players on the Rivals100, that means five more players from the state are ranked among the top prospects in the country.
For those trying to figure out who those players are from Ohio, look for two offensive tackles, a running back, a safety and a defensive end to make the cut. Then again, maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that Ohio is that high. In this year's NFL Draft, Ohio had 18 players selected.
It's no surprise that that Midwest is also well represented by Illinois and Michigan. Each has seven players on the list.
When looking for the region that dominates the ranking, it's undoubtedly the Southeast.
This edition of the Rivals250 features 83 players that hail from South of Mason-Dixon Line.
Rivals250 Region breakdown
After Florida, Georgia is the No. 2 southern state with 15 players in the ranking. It's also becoming clearer and clearer that Alabama has become a prime recruiting hotspot – it has 13 players ranked among the best in the nation.
The West – headlined by California and more specifically the Los Angeles area – is the region with the second highest total of players (49) in the 250. Los Angles is the biggest metropolitan area represented in the Rivals250, with 26 players making the list.
What's really helped Los Angeles the past few years, and again this season, is a rapidly expanding talent base.
There will always be talent-rich areas in the city and in Orange County, but cities in the Inland Empire like Fontana, Corona, Redlands and Colton have really pumped out some great players the past few years.
Also helping out the West's numbers are strong years in Washington and Arizona. As more people flock to Phoenix – one of the nation's fastest growing cities – more blue-chip players are expected to come from the area. All five players from Arizona that made the 250 are from the Phoenix area. In the Pacific Northwest, Washington had four players that made the list.
Texas obviously takes up a major chunk of the players from the Heartland Region. Thirty of the region's 43 players come from the Lone Star State. When the rankings of the class of 2008 are finalized, it looks like there may not be a clear-cut winner in the battle between Houston and Dallas for the top rung on the talent ladder. Big D currently has nine players on the list and H-Town has 10.
The East is headlined by an amazing class in Pennsylvania. There are 10 players from the Keystone State that made the Rivals250. New Jersey also has a strong group with seven players.
In the Mid-Atlantic, North Carolina that leads the way with eight players.
The breakdown by position reveals that it's a great group of receivers nationally.
Thirty eight wideouts made the elite list. When you throw in the 14 tight ends that also made it, it's clear that the high-flying passing attacks that have been a part of college football recently aren't going away any time soon.
Then again, you need somebody to throw it to all those receivers. Only 10 quarterbacks (seven pro-style and three dual-threat) are ranked among the top 250 at this point.