Well, that was easy.
On a day when several programs around the country are left in limbo while blue-chip recruits save their announcements for what amounts to a glorified press conference, all 23 members of Missouri's 2010 class have signed a national letter of intent by late Wednesday morning, Power Mizzou and MU's official athletics Web site have both confirmed.
Minus defensive back Kenronte Walker, tight end Eric Waters, and quarterbacks Tyler Gabbert and James Franklin—all of whom are currently enrolled at MU and signed a letter of intent weeks ago—every member of the class had signed and faxed their letters by 9:00 a.m. Wednesday.
The aforementioned foursome will be eligible to participate in spring drills, which begin in March. The remainder of the class will begin to show up in Columbia shortly thereafter, once each player has graduated from high school.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that NSD has gone as smoothly as it has thus far for head coach Gary Pinkel and the Tigers. With the exception of a late decommitment from Kansas City cornerback Dexter McDonald, who decided to switch his allegiance to Kansas last week, Missouri's class has been set for the better part of a month and a half.
As of 10:00 a.m. CT Wednesday, MU's class was rated No. 18 nationally by Rivals.com. And though those projections may fluctuate wildly as teams receive letters of intent throughout the day, this class figures to be Pinkel's best in his 10-year tenure in Columbia.
According to Rivals.com, which records recruiting rankings dating back to 2002, the Tigers have ranked in the top 25 nationally only once in that span, in 2008. Last season, Missouri was ranked No. 40 by the site.
National Signing Day's lack of drama is a complete 180 from a year ago. Last February, St. Louis five-star defensive tackle/tight end Sheldon Richardson finally ended his recruiting by siding with the hometown Tigers, but not before he tortured fans and MU staff by keeping the Miami Hurricanes in the picture until the last second.
Richardson is currently enrolled in junior college in California after failing to qualify academically. He is expected to arrive in Columbia in January of 2011, with three years of eligibility to his name, as part of next year's class. Richardson is one of three 2011 commitments, joining quarterback Corbin Berkstresser (Lee's Summit, Mo.) and receiver Wesley Leftwich (Columbia), who gave MU his verbal pledge Tuesday evening.
Unfortunately, I will be unavailable for a good portion of the day due to other obligations. However, be sure to revisit Power Mizzou and MUTigers.com throughout the day for more NSD coverage, including live chats with the coaching staff, signee interviews, and Pinkel's press conference at 4:00 p.m. CT.
Photo credit: Columbia Daily Tribune
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