Missouri Tigers Invade SEC Territory for Latest Recruit

Ryan FallerAnalyst INovember 9, 2009

I'll say this for Darvin Ruise : He should be commended for refusing to let Missouri's disturbing loss to Baylor play a role in his recruitment.

The 6'2", 218-pound athlete from Glen St. Mary, Florida, became the 16th member of MU's 2010 recruiting class on Sunday, pledging less than 24 hours after his official visit, Power Mizzou reported yesterday afternoon.

Ruise, who held more than 20 offers, is currently leading Baker County High School's option running attack as a quarterback, but most recruiting services are calling for him to switch positions at the next level, to either linebacker or safety.

Ruise's decision has to be considered somewhat of a surprise—and I'm not referring to the fact he chose to commit after presumably witnessing the Tigers' second-half collapse on Saturday.

Focusing a majority of their recruiting efforts in Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, and a host of midwestern states, head coach Gary Pinkel and his staff defied convention a bit in landing Ruise, who passed up offers from several SEC powers, including LSU, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

But it should perhaps come as no shock that the Tigers are widening their recruiting scope and attempting to build pipelines that run into Florida and other south-eastern states, where arguably the nation's richest reserve of college football talent resides.

Co-offensive line coach Josh Henson, who served as LSU's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator prior to coming to MU earlier this year, is working hard to rekindle his southern connections to give the Tigers a fighting chance at obtaining players who typically pledge their allegiance to SEC programs.

According to ESPN.com, Missouri is currently being considered by three other players from the state of Florida. Outside linebacker Kyle Wallace , offensive lineman Justin Wilson , and defensive tackle Alton Bailey , list MU among their potential suitors, along with defensive end Mike Douglas , who is reportedly preparing to set a date on an official visit to Columbia.

When he enters the program next season, Ruise will be one of only three Floridians on the MU roster, joining offensive tackle Elvis Fisher (St. Petersburg), and safety Jasper Simmons (Pensacola).



Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel reported at his Monday teleconference that senior safety Hardy Ricks will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Ricks, who began the season as the starter at strong safety before being replaced by JuCo transfer Jasper Simmons , has played in eight games, totaling eight tackles and one interception.

The school announced Monday that Grant Ressel has been named as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award , given annually to college football's top placekicker.

Ressel, a sophomore in his first season as a starter, has been nothing short of spectacular in replacing the departed Jeff Wolfert, who left MU as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history. A former walk-on, Ressel has connected on 43 of his 44 attempts this season, including a near-perfect 17-of-18 on field goals.