California, Texas, Florida and Ohio.
These four states are synonymous with historically dominant high school football, but three have a leg up on the other: Ohio is the only state out of the group that does not allow spring practices for high school football teams. It is time for that to change.
As someone who played high school football in Ohio and has seen the game through the eyes of a coach, I know spring practice could be more than beneficial for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
I understand the health of the players is a concern, but even allowing non-contact practices at this time of year would help players get acclimated to a playbook and to each other.
There is no arguing that California, Texas and Florida produce some of the best, if not the best, pro prospects coming out of college and I have to believe the extra practices have something to do with it.
If Ohio wants to be a part of that conversation, adding just 10-15 spring practices could give it the boost it needs.
California allows 10 practices, Texas allows 15, and Florida allows 20 practices while Ohio high school football players are either playing another sport or living in the weight room.
According to multiple studies, Ohio ranked fifth in players born in the respective states behind California (224), Florida (186), Texas (147) and Georgia (91) that are currently in the NFL with 78.
If you were wondering, Georgia also allows spring practice.
I’m not saying that if Ohio allowed spring practice it would instantly produce more NFL players, but I am saying it would give more players a chance to shine on the field and get noticed.
It would also give coaches — especially incoming coaches — a chance to see what their new team is capable of and develop a depth chart going into summer practice.
I never had a chance of playing on the varsity squad as a sophomore in high school, but I was behind the eight-ball to begin with when I had to learn an entirely new playbook in just weeks before two-a-day sessions began in August.
This is the dilemma that high school football players all over Ohio have to deal with, and if there is a player who is talented enough to get varsity time as a sophomore or even as a freshman, spring practice would get them ready to make an impact in the fall.
For now, Ohio high school coaches will need to continue to prepare their teams as best they can in the weight room in the spring while other coaches in the football hotbeds are allowed to blow their whistles on the field and install their playbooks.
Make the change, OHSAA. It’s for the kids.