If you want to base it on the last seven classes and those prospects that have actually panned out and produced in college, you almost have to go with the state of Alabama.
You may say, wait a minute, how can that be? The numbers don’t lie.
Of course, on sheer population alone, Florida, Texas and California have distinct advantages and we would argue that the last few years Georgia has produced better than California.
Just look at Alabama’s program. There is a notion that they have to continually go outside of the state to supplement their recruiting efforts, but the reality is they do this on an as-needed basis more often than not. Julio Jones, Andre Smith, Dre Kirkpatrick, D.J. Fluker, Dee Milliner, Courtney Upshaw and Marcel Dareus were all in-state players and all were NFL first-round draft picks. This list does not count the likes of AJ McCarron, Nico Johnson, Rolando McClain, T.J. Yeldon and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, to name a few more.
You mentioned an underrated “area,” so if we don’t pinpoint just one state, it would likely be the eastern seaboard of the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and New Jersey, which produces enough players to provide an ample player pool for the Big Ten, ACC, American and even the SEC.