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Missouri Tigers Clean Up During Key Recruiting Weekend

Ryan FallerAnalyst IDecember 14, 2009

The Missouri Tigers received verbal commitments from three players on Saturday, thus turning what was easily the biggest recruiting weekend of the season into a wild success.

Running back Marcus Murphy (DeSoto, Tx.), quarterback Tyler Gabbert (Ballwin, Mo.), cornerback Kenronte Walker (San Francisco, Calif.), and wide receiver Curtis Carter (Stonewall, La.) were among the 10 recruits who visited the MU campus this weekend.

The remainder of the recruits were players who had already verbally committed and were in town to take a tour of the MU facilities and perhaps play the role of unofficial recruiter.

As it turned out, when all the schmoozing was done, Carter was the only one of the four to leave Columbia without accepting an offer from the Tigers, although he spoke glowingly of MU players and coaches and the program as a whole.

Carter, a four-star athlete who is rated by Rivals.com as the eighth-best player in the state of Louisiana, said he "was in awe" over his visit to Missouri but will wait until after his visit to TCU next weekend before he makes his final decision, which he says will happen around Christmas.

"I like to go home and let all the emotions settle," Carter, who recently withdrew his verbal commitment from Nebraska, told MU's Rivals.com affiliate, Power Mizzou. "I feel so good, I could have committed based on how good everything was. But I want to see both schools with my own eyes."

With the addition of Murphy, Gabbert, and Walker, MU's 2010 recruiting class is now up to 19 members, including five four-star players, making it one of the Big 12's best. Only Texas (17), Oklahoma (13), and Texas A&M (8) have managed to nab as many four-star recruits as the Tigers.

And the better news is that Missouri may not be done.

Depending on the number of remaining scholarships available, the Tigers could afford to sign another small group of players—a scenario that would enable them to pursue whatever targets remain on their board.

Among those players whom Missouri still has its eye on is Detroit three-star safety Daniel Easterly . The 6'4", 178-pound Easterly originally committed to Illinois in June but has since softened on his pledge .

He currently considers Missouri to be one of his top two choices and is expected to make a decision soon after returning from a visit to Champaign this weekend.

Joining Easterly on the list of MU's remaining prospects is a duo of highly regarded receivers.

Bud Sasser (Denton, Texas) is a three-star recruit who is currently considering Missouri and Arizona. A player who already possesses tremendous size (6'3", 200 lbs.), Sasser caught 71 balls for 1,157 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior this past season and, according to Rivals.com, is the country's No. 64-rated receiver.

His decision should be made in the near future .

Marcus Lucas (Liberty, Mo.), the No. 15-rated receiver in the nation and second-best player in the state, also remains available.

Lucas at one time seemed a lock to choose Oklahoma but has since moved Stanford and Missouri, his mother's alma mater, to the forefront.

Still, it's likely Lucas, who was selected as an U.S. Army All-American , will milk his recruiting process all the way up to National Signing Day on Feb. 3.

Sasser and Lucas are both expected to visit Missouri on Dec. 18.

Assuming Lucas and Carter both decide on Missouri, the Tigers' 2010 recruiting class would feature seven four-star players, or one fewer than the three previous recruiting classes combined.

Prior to this weekend, Missouri's recruiting class was ranked No. 42 in the nation by Rivals.com.

The 5'9", 170-pound Murphy, a preseason Texas Class 5A second team selection, produced 2,063 combined yards (1,410 rushing) his senior season at DeSoto High School. 

Somehow considered one of Texas' more well-kept secrets, Murphy still held offers from several schools, including Kansas, Iowa State, Utah, and TCU.

Murphy officially committed following MU's morning practice at Dan Devine Pavilion on Saturday, at which time players and coaches reportedly erupted in a congratulatory cheer.

Tyler Gabbert, the younger brother of MU quarterback Blaine Gabbert, was seemingly destined to commit to the Tigers.

Like Carter, Gabbert was originally committed to Nebraska but rescinded earlier this week when it became clear the Huskers were working to move toward a more run-based offense.

As a senior at Parkway West High School, where he took over the starting duties from his brother in 2008, Gabbert threw for 965 yards, eight scores, and four interceptions.

With his recruitment now wrapped up, Gabbert admitted to Power Mizzou on Sunday that he knew prior to his visit what his ultimate decision would be.

"I went in to this weekend knowing what I was going to do," said Gabbert, who is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 7 overall player in Missouri and the No. 17 pro-style quarterback prospect in the country. "I definitely wanted to go to school there."

A native of Fayetteville, NC, Walker serves as a safety/cornerback/linebacker hybrid at City College of San Francisco, where he played with current Tigers Josh Tatum and Jarrell Harrison — both of whom transferred to MU prior to the 2009 season.

The 6'1", 205-pound Walker, who runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and is projected to play safety for the Tigers, will graduate from junior college in December with three years of eligibility left.

Five other recruits who visited Columbia this weekend—quarterback James Franklin (Corinth, Texas), wide receiver Jimmie Hunt (Cahokia, Ill.), offensive linemen Nick Demien (Wentzville, Mo.) and Anthony Gatti (St. Louis, Mo.), and defensive lineman Lucas Vincent (Olathe, Kan.)—had all previously committed to the Tigers.

Henry Josey , a running back from Angleton, Texas, was also among the visitors who already held a verbal commitment, but his pledge wasn't considered to be as strong as others. On Sunday, Josey, who ran for 1,354 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior, solidified his commitment .

Photo credit: Power Mizzou.com

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