I’ve been in Texas my entire adult life and agree with the sentiments here. However, there are kids who desperately want to experience a different geographic area, want to meet students from other parts of the country and just want to spread their wings and not have half their high school at the same college- even if it is a huge university like UT or A&M. That said, the networks can’t be beat. I think there are other states that are similar- if you live in Virginia and can get into UVA, there isn’t much sense in going to Brown or Williams if you think you will ultimately settle back in Virginia somewhere. Also, there are superstar students who are told throughout their lives that they should aspire to Harvard, Princeton and the like, and they pursue that. The lure of prestige can be a strong one. I’ve hired for a few companies in Texas and while, yes, we are impressed with an applicant with a strong school pedigree, it isn’t much of a tip (if any) over a good candidate from UTexas or A&M/Tech. We Texans have our personal school loyalties, of course.
I think it is a little different for tippy top students from states that might not have as strong of a state university, like perhaps Kentucky or Arkansas. Those students might be more inclined to venture in search of more prestige. Not that you can’t get a great education at those places, but the bottom can be a little lower.