Missouri Tigers News and Notes: Program Avoids Ugly Offseason Publicity

Ryan FallerAnalyst IJanuary 24, 2010

It's been awfully slow around here lately, at least as far as Missouri football is concerned.

Normally, bowl season serves as a nice precursor to the rabid fanaticism that is college football recruiting and the build-up to National Signing Day in early February, when incoming freshmen are allowed to begin inking national letters of intent.

And then there's the array of off-the-field distractions that seem to rear their ugly heads around this time of year, thus causing many a program some unwanted publicity: Coaches (Lane Kiffin, Pete Carroll) spurn their schools to follow the big money into greener pastures, players (see Texas , Texas A & M , just to name a few) who think they're invincible incur legal woes out of their own disrespect for the law, and a disgruntled worker (Mike Leach) accuses his former employer (Texas Tech) of wrongful termination.

Alas, all is peaceful in Columbia, Mo. A beacon of stability and calm, the MU program has been laying low since its bowl loss to Navy nearly a month ago—and that's the way it should be. Head coach Gary Pinkel's staff is fully intact, players are staying out of trouble (as far as we know), and a recruiting class that was completed before Christmas is somewhat of a dead issue, though that may change a bit as evaluations of MU's newest haul begin to emerge as National Signing Day on Feb. 3 inches closer.

The uneventful start to Missouri's offseason is nice, but it doesn't help the cause of writers much. But if the cost of riveting content is crippling drama within the program, I guess I'll make due. Here's a few things to look over while you take a break from reading about coaching changes in the Pac-10 and criminal charges in the SEC:

  • Though it has been at maximum capacity for more than a month, Missouri's 2010 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 14 in the nation by Rivals.com. To put into perspective how good this class could be, consider these teams who are ranked behind the Tigers: Virginia Tech, Michigan, Miami, Oregon, Ohio State, West Virginia.
  • And to give you an idea of how subjective the rankings of recruiting services tend to be, ESPN.com's Tom Luginbill doesn't even have the Tigers' class in his most recent top 25 .
  • Because it's never too early to look ahead, Missouri Rivals.com affiliate Power Mizzou takes a look at the class of 2011 , which has the potential to feature a bevy of the state's top players.
  • Speaking of the class of 2011, Hickman High School (Columbia, Mo.) receiver Wesley Leftwich made a name for himself in a major way at the U.S. Army National Combine earlier this month. Leftwich, a junior who currently holds an offer from Missouri and is assured of receiving interest from many other schools in the coming months, ran a blazing 4.3 in the 40-yard dash to lead all participants at the event and break the previous record set by former Florida wideout Percy Harvin.
  • Sure, there's little moving and shaking within the MU program now, but that may very well change in the not-so-distant future, at least according to ESPN.com's Tim Griffin and Mark Schlabach .
  • Like Power Mizzou, Rock M Nation is a terrific source for info on the Tigers, and its guys never shy away from thorough, in-depth analysis. The Nation's latest undertaking is an outstanding positional look toward next season that is currently in progress:
  • Life has been rosy for Chase Daniel since the former MU great ended his career as a Tiger. Cut by the Washington Redskins one week before the start of the NFL season in September, the rookie caught on two days later with New Orleans and now has an excellent chance of receiving a championship ring as the Saints' No. 3 quarterback. Columbia Daily Tribune writer Dave Matter recently caught up with Daniel, who discusses his life of an NFL rookie and admits he wasn't surprised by the record-breaking exploits of his former teammate, Tiger receiver Danario Alexander.


Photo credit: Anne Shifley/Columbia Missourian