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Expand chart
Data: 247 Sports; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Today is National Signing Day. What was once a day filled with frenetic activity is now much quieter due to the "early signing period" scooping up most FBS signees, but it still signifies the end of the college football recruiting cycle.

Why it matters: Elite football prospects spring up all over the country, but they're heavily concentrated in the South and California, plus notable hotspots near Houston and Dallas.

By the numbers:

  • "The Big Four": Florida produced 59 blue-chip recruits (i.e. four- or five-stars) in the class of 2020, followed by Texas (54), Georgia (36) and California (30). Combined, the four states were responsible for 49.4% of all 2020 blue-chips.
  • The next tier: Louisiana (16), Alabama (15), Maryland (15), North Carolina (13) and Tennessee (11) were the only other states to produce more than 10.
  • No blue-chips: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.

Go deeper: SEC football to exit CBS after 2023 season, will likely move to ESPN/ABC

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.