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Mizzou Links, 6-19-08

Well, you can say this for Ronnie Wingo: he speaks from his gut. And his gut likes visiting schools. At one point, he said he was just about ready to go ahead and commit to Mizzou. Then he visited KU, and it was "a whole new ballgame." Now he's visited OU, guessed it...

"This really changed things for me," Wingo said. "It's a whole new ball game.

There's no question that Mizzou still has a pretty solid shot at landing Wingo--and in some ways, he remains the key to whether Mizzou's class is deemed a complete success or not--but there's also no question that, Jeremy Maclin aside, we haven't done well recruiting head-to-head against OU. The good news is, he wants to visit Arkansas soon...and at that point, it will be a whole new ballgame.

And I guess we've got a pretty decent fallback plan. For whatever reason, we have yet to offer 4-star Cali RB Daniel Jenkins (perhaps because it would be confusing to have a RB and OL with the same name??), but if we choose to do so, he suggests we'll move right to the top of his list.

So has released its new Class of 2009 player rankings. Here are a few of Mizzou's 4-star commits/targets:

  • Blaine Dalton (Mizzou commit) is the #12 QB, while Nathan Scheelhaase (target) is #15.
  • Ronnie Wingo (target) checks in as the #11 RB, while Tulsa's Jeremy Smith (current OSU commit, but is still considering a Mizzou visit) is #13, Brandon Wegher (target) is #14, my boy Stepfan Taylor (target) is #24, Daniel Jenkins is #35
  • Marlon Brown (target, 5 stars) is the #3 WR, while Miami's Rodney Smith (target) is #7, Kraig Appleton (target) is #11, Justin Brown (target) is #16, Kenric McNeal (target) is #25, Jheranie Boyd (target) is #29...much lower than what Rivals has, Jaleel Clark (target) is #30.
  • Proving that nobody has a clue where to list him, Sheldon Richardson (commit) is currently the #7 OG. He's now been listed by somebody at TE, OG, DE, and DT. Versatility!
  • AZ DE Craig Roh (target) is the #8 DE, Terrance Lloyd (target) is #14.
  • Kevin Brent (target) is the #3 S.

And while we're discussing recruiting, let's jump over to basketball for a sec. 4-star SF Reginald Buckner (2009's #87 player) visited Columbia recently, and he apparently liked what he saw. Sounds like he'll be coming back for an official visit in the fall. In all, there's a decent amount of potential with the 2009 class--between Buckner, Michael Snaer, and KC's Mike Dixon, there are some super-talented players taking a long look at Mike Anderson's Tigers.

Finally...that's right...MORE BEN ASKREN ARTICLES!! First up is a Q&A from

On the difference between College and Olympic Wrestling styles:

"What they call the funk in college, I had to take that all out. Scrapped it, threw it out. Then I had to learn. It took a lot of time to learn and that's why my first few months were so tough because I was learning. I wasn't where I needed to be yet, I was learning, it was all a process. And then, about sometime later last fall, November, December, everything came together for me and I started figuring it out."


On competing against some of his favorite wrestlers to watch growing up:

"(Buvaisar) Saitiev, who is a six-time world champ and two-time Olympic champ, is also one of my favorite wrestlers to watch. He will be in my weight class in Beijing. He's always a threat. Then you've got a lot of other guys that are threats too. You've got (Ibrahim) Aldatov from Ukraine and (Ivan) Fundora from Cuba. Those are probably the top three guys. But I think all of them can compete. I talked with Coach Scott in February with the plan of, as soon as I make the team, I've got to get ready for those guys."

And then, it's The Trib's turn to follow him around for a while.

When Askren finished wrestling at Missouri in March 2007, he made a decision to focus entirely on international wrestling rather than pursue a career in mixed martial arts. That decision led to a question: Was it realistic to think he could make the 2008 Games, or should he focus on the 2012 Games in London?

"A lot of people thought" he should wait until 2012, "but I don’t think anybody had the balls enough to come up to me and say that," Askren said. "My mind was, you can’t plan six years ahead. That would be like giving up on this Games. I wasn’t ready to give up. I’m never ready to give up."

So Askren poured all of his efforts into making it to Beijing. After a rougher-than-anticipated transition to freestyle wrestling last summer, he quickly rose to the top of his sport. Askren’s rise, which began last fall and became obvious in April when he won the U.S. Senior Nationals as the No. 3 seed, was similar to his rise at Missouri.