Missouri Football: 2014 Recruiting Preview
Missouri Tigers football has experienced a great deal of success this season with the recruits they have traditionally been able to get. Never very highly ranked among classes in the recruiting rankings, the Tigers, led by Gary Pinkel, have been sticking to the Don James methods and ways and have blossomed in the SEC East.
You can forget all about the recruiting rankings when it comes to the Tigers. Show me (no pun intended) who you've got who fits your style and program, and we'll talk about it accordingly. For the Missouri team, it's never been about high-profile recruits and top-25 ranking classes. They just use the Pinkel system and somehow end up turning out more NFL draft picks over the past five years than all but two other teams in college football.
And if we're not handing the SEC, and possibly NCAA, Coach of the Year Award to Pinkel at year's end, I'd sure like to know who they're going to hand it to.
As of right now, according to Rivals, there are nine 2-star recruits on Missouri's verbal commit list. There are also 15 3-star recruits and, since the switch of Bauer at the beginning of the week, one 4-star commit.
So what is this class looking like? Will Gary Pinkel's methods of recruiting have turned up another crop of guys who end up excelling?
Currently, the amount of players coming out of the state of Florida is almost as many as the amount who are coming from the state of Missouri. It's also worth noting that three pairs of high school teammates are among those coming in.
Let's first talk about who we have coming in, starting with the 2-star commits that Mizzou currently has verbals from.
This incoming class has nine 2-star recruits, headlined by a name we're halfway familiar with in Darnell Green-Beckham. The younger brother is coming to be teammates with Dorial again, and at 6'5" he will keep the trend of tall receivers going at Mizzou.
Out of the 2-star bunch, only two of them are defensive players. Here's a list of list of the players:
|Thomas Richard||WR||6'1"/185||Nashville, Tenn.||Christ Presbyterian Academy|
|Tavon Ross||ATH||6'1"/196||Cochran, Ga.||Bleckley County|
|Finis Stribling IV||DB||5'10"/170||Thompson's Station, Tenn.||Independence|
|Sam Bailey||OL||6'5"/245||Lamar, Mo.||Lamar R-1|
|Trevon Walters||RB||5'10"/189||Bradenton, Fla.||Manatee|
|Darnell Green-Beckham||WR||6'5"/175||Springfield, Mo.||Hillcrest|
|Michael Fairchild||OL||6'6"/262||Overland Park, Kan.||Blue Valley West|
|Roderick Winters||LB||5'11"/196||Arlington, Texas||Bowie|
|Kendall Blanton||TE||6'5"/225||Blue Springs, Mo.||Blue Springs South|
The theme is similar with the 3-star guys, as there is more offense than defense. Ten offensive commits to five defensive make up the bunch.
If you're looking for a player to show you something, check out this video of the only quarterback in the class so far, Marvin Zanders. Zanders will be coming to Mizzou by way of Jacksonville, Fla., showing the talent Mizzou has now been able to tap into in these regions. Gary Pinkel's old stomping ground of Texas has only two commits so far.
Also of note is the hometown guy from David H. Hickman High School in Columbia, Grant Jones. Jones already has exceptional size for a potential receiver and could end up being a very versatile utility man.
Here's a list of Mizzou's 3-star recruits:
|Lawrence Lee||WR||5'10"/167||Pensacola, Fla.||West Florida Tech|
|Paul Adams||OL||6'6"/270||Nashville, Tenn.||Christ Presbyterian Academy|
|Ish Witter||RB||5'8"/190||Tampa, Fla.||Alonso|
|Nate Brown||WR||6'3"/215||Suwanee, Ga.||North Gwinnett|
|Logan Cheadle||DB||5'10"/165||Lee's Summit, Mo.||Lee's Summitt West|
|Kenya Dennis||DB||6'0"/190||Raymond, Miss.||Hinds C.C.|
|Thomas Wilson||ATH||5'10"/176||Buford, Ga.||Buford|
|Jhonathon Williams||DE||6'6"/230||Berrien Springs, Mich.||Berrien Springs|
|Zach Hudson||OL||6'5"/280||Tampa, Fla.||Sickles|
|Stepfawn Hughes||ATH||5'10"/170||Fort Worth, Texas||Dunbar|
|Grant Jones||ATH||6'3"/216||Columbia, Mo.||Hickman|
|Greg Taylor||DB||5'10"/181||East Saint Louis, Ill.||East Saint Louis|
|Rocel McWilliams||DE||6'3"/240||Pensacola, Fla.||West Florida Tech|
|Kevin Pendleton||OL||6'4"/329||Lee's Summit, Mo.||Lee's Summit West|
|Marvin Zanders||QB||6'1"/175||Jacksonville, Fla.||Raines|
This guy is a beast, and Mizzou is fortunate to have re-attained him.
Meet offensive lineman Andy Bauer, who is the best high school player in the state of Missouri, according to Rivals, and an absolute maniac in the weight room. Coming in at 6'6" and 304 pounds out of De Smet High School in St. Louis, Bauer ranks among the top recruits at his position and in the country and is Mizzou's lone 4-star commitment at the moment.
Bauer had previously committed to Mizzou, then changed his mind and went with Ole Miss. But Monday morning, he announced via Twitter that he had changed his mind back and would be sticking with his original choice of Mizzou.
Bauer will be able to control games. He will, in all likelihood, be put on the back side of the quarterback and will be a solid foundation for protecting the quarterback and enabling the run. The future of the offense is bright at Mizzou with Bauer. The hope is that his re-commitment will entice other players on the fence to commit to Mizzou now, especially other linemen.
Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted a sentiment from Bauer's high school coach that really says it all about what was going to end up happening when the dust settled.
De Smet coach Pat Mahoney on Andy Bauer: "All along, he really wanted to go to Mizzou to be honest with you."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) November 4, 2013
Mizzou's Wish List
Dante Sawyer, DE, Suwanee, Ga.
This is Missouri's best chance of getting the highest-rated player available to them. Sawyer is rated at 4-stars and has fluctuated around from narrowing his choices down to two team, to widening it back open to four, to having a final three...of which Missouri is now a part of according to Scout.com (subscription required).
Shown here in the video, he is an explosive player with a knack for getting to the quarterback.
One of the key things that may make a decision in what he does is one of his current teammates. If that city in Georgia looks familiar, it should because that's where his high school teammate and Mizzou verbal commitment Nate Brown is from. Already having a member of his offense as a part of Mizzou could be a huge deciding factor, especially for a player who would be leaving out of state.
Braden Smith, OG, Olathe, Kan.
He is the No. 1 player, according to Rivals, out of the state of Kansas, and he's not made a peep about where he's leaning. He's been offered by Missouri as well as Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma and South Carolina, among many of his other suitors. Rivals has him as the No. 5-ranked offensive guard prospect in the nation. He would be a welcome addition and one of those players who may be thinking about joining to help complement a player like Bauer.
Laughably, he has been offered by the Kansas Jayhawks.
Brian Wallace, OT, St. Louis, Mo.
Wallace had made it known back in July that he was thinking about the big teams like Alabama, Nebraska and Ohio State, among others, not Mizzou.
Scratch all that as Scout.com has reported (subscription required) at the end of October that Wallace is now back on board with Mizzou as a possibility. Such an abrupt declaration after he made it clear that his choices were narrowing, is a sign that Missouri could be the front-runner. A commitment by Wallace would be huge in holding down the borders of the state of Missouri.
Roderick Johnson, OT, Florissant, Mo.
Johnson is another guy who was reported as having his choices slimmed down to the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Michigan, only now to be considering the Tigers again according to 247sport.com (subscription required). Again, keeping an in-state recruit of Johnson's value sends a huge message to the rest of the SEC that Pinkel will keep his guys.
The Home Run: DE Lorenzo Carter
Okay, I will be the first to admit that a Lorenzo Carter to Mizzou move isn't quite out there yet. Many say that he has his favorites down to Alabama, Auburn and Florida. Many think that Georgia will be a strong influence. But could he want to play in the SEC for a team that is just as capable of putting defensive ends in the NFL?
Just like many of the other recruits who are now rethinking their positions and offers from Mizzou based on what they've seen this season, it's not impossible for Carter to pick Mizzou, as he certainly has not ruled them out yet; he's only let people know who some of his favorites are, which change all the time.
Carter is out of Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga., and with his 6'5", 234-pound frame, he fits right in line with other top ends that have been at Mizzou and found amazing success. Missouri will still keep talking with him, but they will have to push through some of the best teams to get to him.
In conclusion, Mizzou's 2014 recruiting class will be a solid addition to next year's team regardless of where it's ranked in the end because of the fact that it has guys who fit the Pinkel system. It's worked in the Big 12, and it's working in the SEC. Time to see what this baby can do when it's rolling full speed downhill.