Ok, with junior day coming up this weekend reports from PowerMizzou
(Whom you all should at the very least follow on twitter if not have
memberships to their site) is reporting a minimum of 23 visitors to
Mizzou this weekend. Pete Scantlebury said on the twitters that Mizzou
has historically gotten 2/3 commits on the weekend of junior day or
shortly there after so I figured I'd go back and check to see how
important this weekend usually is. Here is the list of the last 7
signing classes and recruits who committed at/soon after signing day:
Grant Jones, ATH, ***
Darnell G-B, WR, **
Kendall BLaton, TE, ***
Chase Abbington, ATH, ****
Alec Ablen, OL, ***
Harneet Gill, OL, ***
Morgan Steward, RB, ***
Shane Ray, DE, ***
Bradon Hannah, WR, ***
Cortland Browning, DB, ***
James Franklin, QB, ****
Kerwin Stircker, WR, ***
Andrew Wilson, LB, ***
Brad Madison, OL, ***
Rolandis Woodland, WR, ***
Andrew Jones, TE, ****
Beef and Bill C. what do you think of this list?
Well, I am actually a little surprised at some of the names on the list, in that they are bigger than I thought I remembered. As we got into this piece, I was fully prepared to talk about how Junior Day commitments tend to come from some of the folks who may be down the list from a star standpoint because Mizzou may be their first, big offer, and they jump on it. I did not expect to see names like Chase Abbington (who should now be counted as our first 2015 commitment if I am not mistaken), James Franklin and one of our best recruiters of all time (if not THE best) in Andrew Jones.
At a VERY cursory glance, I think the crop of "local" (will extend that to the entire state of Missouri and metro areas on either side of the east/west border) prospects is better this coming year than this past year. A lot of folks will be focused on the pair from East St. Louis (Illinois), and though I do not believe either are attending tomorrow, we appear to be in very good shape with one or both. I think you have some high-level guys in Drew Lock and Hale Hentges and others who will have Mizzou in it until the very end, but that end wont likely come tomorrow. Sure, would it be great if you put all these kids into a room together and someone was able to convince them all to commit now and start something special? Absolutely, but I don't see that happening tomorrow. I do see a couple of names who will hit some from out of nowhere, prompting a wide array of responses from "Welcome to the Zou!" to "Coach Pinkel is taking THIS kid NOW? He can't recruit."
This is an interesting year for in-state recruiting. You've got some huge, high-end talent (Lock, Ofodile, Hentges, the Davises, and of course the EStL pair, but Mizzou's only offered a couple of locals outside of that group. Mizzou's only offered a single player from the Missouri side of St. Louis (Webster Groves ATH Cam Hilton), and that was very recent.
It's usually that second tier of recruits where the super-early commits come from -- Stricker, Wilson, Madison, Hannah, Steward, etc. Mizzou is by all accounts in good shape with Lock, Ofodile, Hentges, and the EStL pair. But when you're getting a ton of other offers, you're more likely to take your time in recruiting, so I get the feeling this will be more like 2012 (one commit) than 2011 or 2014. Sounds like the PowerMizzou folks feel pretty good about Ryan Williams pulling the trigger soon. We'll see, I guess.
I agree on the bigger names and higher rated recruits taking their
time. One thing I found interesting was the production they got out of
some of those 3* guys. I know Pinkel doesn't pull top 10 classes and
5* recruits like crazy, but he has been able to find guys early and
get them committed right out of the gate. Is this Pinkel and Co's best
I think their biggest skill in recruiting is in their early-evaluation abilities. They lock into guys who they think have the requisite athleticism and skill set, and they get offers out before others. So many of those guys then proceed to have huge senior seasons and get a lot more offers later on. And yeah, these early commits tend to be guys who a) grew up relatively close to the Mizzou program and b) only had Mizzou offers (or one or two others).
If there are two pronounced strengths of Coach Pinkel and his staff, it has to be early talent evaluation and player development. There remains (and likely always will) a contingent of fans who really want to see us parlay our (relative) success into higher recruiting gains (top-20 class). I remain a staunch supporter of us doing what we do, but I also recognize the true blue bloods are such for a reason, and part of that is recruiting. But then, I could get into the chicken or the egg on recruiting rankings, and seeing that this was supposed to be about our Junior Day, I wont derail this….yet.
Yeah, if these guys commit early, don't pursue other visits, don't go to Rivals camps to raise their stock, etc., their odds of getting better than a two- or mid-three-star rating are pretty low, even if they turn out to be really strong.
So, what should our expectations be, if any, for this weekend?
I'm setting the bar at just one commit. I'm optimistic about this class as a whole, but I'm optimistic about it because of a bunch of guys who probably aren't ready to commit just yet.
And I am going to say no BIG commitments (from the group of Lock, Ofodile, Hentges and evidently a highly-ranked 4-star kid from Oklahoma), but I will go ahead and say two commitments from kids who will be 3-star, 5.6 rated kids. Don’t make me name names :-)
If one of two of these four-stars were to commit early -- maybe the EStL duo or Lock/Hentges -- I'm really curious as to the effect that might have for the class as a whole. I'm curious about this ESPECIALLY if it's Strong and Beckner from EStL, since that would be perceived as more of a national recruiting win (sort of) than in-staters.
I think we can say with some certainty that dominoes can fall in recruiting, and while I don’t think it will tomorrow, it could always start tomorrow. Hell, the foundation could be laid tomorrow as these guys spend a few hours together, swap phone numbers and Instagram accounts (is that what the kids are doing these days?) and they go from there.
So, there ya have it. 23 and counting Juniors will be on campus this weekend. It could potentially be a big weekend to kick off the 2015 recruiting season. As always, follow Gabe D., Pete Scantlebury & PowerMizzou for breaking updates and we'll try and re-tweet/post anything of note.