Offensive tackle Andy Bauer is altering his recruiting course again. The De Smet Jesuit (St. Louis, Mo.) standout issued a statement on Twitter Monday morning to announce he has decommitted from Ole Miss to rejoin Missouri's 2014 recruiting class.
Bauer, a 4-star prospect, originally committed to the Tigers during his sophomore year. He reopened his recruitment as a junior and created a verbal pact with Ole Miss in March.
The 6'6", 305-pound recruit reversed that decision Monday. Bauer provided a detailed explanation for his about-face on Twitter.
Here is my statement: pic.twitter.com/y6BEspqFnG— Andy Bauer (@AndyBauer_76) November 4, 2013
The letter reads:
Through much prayer, discernment, and communication with my family I have decided to attend and play football for the University of Missouri. I want to thank Coach Freeze for the opportunity to play at Ole Miss. I want to thank Coach Luke as well for recruiting me and developing a very strong relationship with me, he is a great person and someone I look up to. I am disappointed that these relationships will end. This was a very tough decision and one that was not taken lightly. My relationships with Coach Gary Pinkel, Coach Josh Henson, Coach Cornell Ford, Coach Bruce Walker, Coach Alex Grinch and the rest of the staff at Mizzou have me very excited about my future there. I am very close with my family and the opportunity to be geographically close to them was too much to pass up. Almost my entire family has attended Mizzou and it is tradition for me, my heart has always been there. Mizzou has never stopped recruiting me. Coach Pinkel, Coach Henson, and Coach Ford have stuck with me through the entire process. I have had a relationship with Coach Henson since I was 14 years old. I am excited to be able to play for and represent my home state school. I want to be a part of bringing a championship to the state of Missouri and Mizzou. I am very thankful for the opportunity to study and play football at the University of Missouri.
Missouri brings one of its top targets back into the fold. Bauer returns to a class that now features 25 commits.
He is listed as the nation's No. 8 offensive tackle prospect and Missouri's No. 1 overall recruit by 247Sports composite rankings. His other offers include Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida and Ohio State.
The Tigers' current class is heavy on offensive tackles, with six commitments at the position. Bauer joins fellow prospects Michael Fairchild (Stilwell, Kan.), Paul Adams (Nashville Tenn.), Kevin Pendleton (Lee Summit, Mo.), Zach Hudson (Tampa, Fla.) and Sam Bailey (Lamar, Mo.).
Each of those players committed to Missouri after Bauer's decommitment, so it remains to be seen how his addition may alter their collegiate plans.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss loses a key prospect to a conference rival. The Rebels are left with Tyler Putnam (South Haven, Miss.) as the team's lone offensive tackle commit.
How important is Andy Bauer's commitment for Missouri?
Bauer will arrive on campus in Columbia looking to get back on the field for the first time since 2012. He's been sidelined all season due to a torn labrum, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Bauer is a mauler when healthy. He does his finest work while run-blocking, finishing off plays with authority.
His recovery may leave him slightly rusty, but Bauer is capable of claiming a starting role by his sophomore season. He's a prototypical right tackle who doesn't require massive refinement.
Instead of becoming a Rebel, he'll spend the next phase of his football career aiming to keep Ole Miss defenders off Missouri quarterbacks. The Tigers are certainly happy to have him back.