Does The South Produce More Top Lineman Because Everyone Is Bigger Down There?

Is it any coincidence that the fattest states also produce the greatest number of top lineman? Perhaps, but it’s a coincidence worth mentioning. Let’s compare this Sports Illustrated piece from January about lineman from the South and this graphic from The Daily that highlights the fattest states. First, we’ll let SI point out that many of the large, talented football players we watch on Saturdays are from Southern states.

There is a region that produces a higher percentage of elite defensive linemen, and anyone who has watched the past five BCS title games should have an idea where to point on the map. Think back to who made the biggest plays in those games — all of which were won by a team from the SEC.

(Note: ESS EEE SEE Speed)

Except for Moss (Texas) and Harvey (Maryland), all played their high school football in the region commonly known as the deep South. McDonald is from Belle Glade, Fla. Dorsey is from Gonzales, La. Dunlap is from North Charleston, S.C. Dareus is from Huffman, Ala. Fairley is from Mobile, Ala.

(I love how Texas doesn’t count as the “deep South.” As a native of New York I’m conditioned to believe everything below Washington D.C. is the South.)

Now, if we look at this fun graphic from The Daily, you’ll notice that many of the fattest states in America are also in the South. The “fattest states in America” are Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana.

More from SI:

Despite the fact that the region accounts for only 22.1 percent of the nation’s population, 43 percent of the NFL’s defensive linemen went to high school in the following 10 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Is it any coincidence that the states with the biggest people produce the highest number of big people who play football? The south is a hotbed for football so it makes sense that a high percentage of players will come from the region. The fact that their diets might be a little less healthy could be turning linebackers into linemen.

[SI, The Daily, Getty]

How in the world did I think that headline was OK? – CRM

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