Let's face it: Missouri football recruiting is kind of boring. And I in no way mean that as a bad thing. But while the Tigers will be in on local blue-chippers, and while there will certainly be some high-profile battles along the way, the Missouri recruiting calendar exists on a different plane than most:
Stage 1 (March-April): Missouri snags a small handful of in-state commitments.
Stage 2 (May-August): Mizzou lands some out-of-staters with decent-but-unspectacular offer lists.
Stage 3 (September-November): Almost nothing happens beyond a commitment or two and some of Mizzou's early commits getting a bump in their recruiting rankings.
Stage 4 (December): Rumors emerge that an in-stater who committed elsewhere early in the process might be back in the fold. Plus, on the first Saturday after the last regular season game, the Tigers host a ton of official visitors.
Stage 5 (January): Mizzou lands a couple of out-of-the-blue, two-star or low-three-star commitments. Also: someone flips their commitment (good), and someone flips their commitment (bad).
Stage 6 (February): The most high-profile local kid announces his commitment on or close to Signing Day.
Stage 7: Mizzou wins about 44-45 games over the next five years.
This recruiting cycle has more or less fit the normal routine. From February to April, Mizzou landed five commits: running back Ryan Williams (Lee's Summit), running back Nate Strong (East St. Louis), quarterback Drew Lock (Lee's Summit), athlete Cam Hilton (St. Louis), and lineman A.J. Harris (Stilwell, Kan.). JUCO transfer and 2013 signee Chase Abbington had already re-committed the previous November, and while Georgia tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe also joined the party with an April commitment, he later decommitted.
Then, from June to early August, Mizzou landed out-of-staters like kicker Corey Fatony (Franklin, Tenn.), receiver Richaud Floyd (Gulfport, Miss.), and receiver Emanuel Hall (Franklin, Tenn.), in addition to two more Missouri kids: lineman Tanner Owen (Kearney) and receiver Ronnell Perkins (University City).
Stage 3 followed suit with almost no news; Imatorbhebhe de-committed, and Missouri landed Georgia defensive back T.J. Warren in early October, and that was pretty much it.
Because of the reliability of these stages, it's hard to get too worked up about recruiting in general. We know that most of Missouri's early out-of-state offers are going to go to future blue-chippers who begin to tune Mizzou out when Alabama and Ohio State call. We know that some in-staters might give Mizzou a second look in December if a) Mizzou did pretty well on the field and b) the school to which they committed isn't doing particularly well (though the second part of that isn't a necessity). And we know that there will be one or two specific Mizzou recruiting battles that suck up most of the oxygen in the room.
We also know that Stage 4 is the most exciting stage on the recruiting calendar. So in preparation of a big recruiting weekend, let's take a look at the primary storylines for Missouri as it goes about completing its 2015 class, one that will inevitably a) rank low within the SEC, and b) do just fine on the field.
Note: virtually all the recruiting news we get comes from either Twitter or PowerMizzou. (And a good amount of the news on Twitter also comes from PowerMizzou.) Gabe, Pete, Brian, and company do great work covering recruiting and separating random rumors from
Missouri will get Terry Beckner's last official visit
It's been pretty clear for a while who the biggest fish in the 2015 class is for Mizzou. East St. Louis defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. quickly put together a ridiculous offer list last spring, and this fall he was named the No. 1 overall recruit in the country by ESPN.com. He is a five-star recruit according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings, he has already visited Florida State, and he scheduled visits for Ohio State (January 23) and Missouri (January 30) this week. It is generally assumed that having a chance to make the last impression is a good thing, and Mizzou is in that boat for Beckner.
The downside to getting the last visit is simply that at any point a recruit could say, "Actually, I've seen what I need to see" and commit after fewer than five visits. But Beckner has been high on Missouri for a long while, and rumor has it his mother's preference is for him to stay closer to home, so there's a pretty good chance that this visit will take place. And there's a pretty good chance that former Mizzou players like Sheldon Richardson, Michael Sam, etc., will just happen to be in Columbia that weekend, too. Mizzou will put on the full-court press and give Beckner DGB-level attention, and there's a decent chance that it works.
The Davis twins are back in play
To date, 14 of Rivals' top 15 seniors in Missouri are accounted for. Four have committed to Mizzou (No. 1 Lock, No. 8 Hilton, No. 9 Williams, No. 10 Perkins), Rock Bridge receiver Alex Ofodile (No. 2) chose Oregon, Winnetonka running back Marquise Doherty (No. 4) is uncommitted (Mizzou is thought to be in pretty good shape with him), Helias tight end Hale Hentges (No. 6) is committed to Alabama, and Blue Springs twin tackles Khalil and Carlos Davis (No. 3 and 5, respectively) have been committed to Nebraska since March.
As soon as Bo Pelini was fired from Nebraska, however, the rumors began, and they picked up plenty of steam yesterday: the Davis twins are back in play. First, you had a rather amusing spat between recruiting reporters Sean Callahan (Nebraska's Rivals guy) and Sam McDowell (KC Star). McDowell recorded Carlos saying Nebraska was out of the picture, and Callahan referred to the Davis' high school coach saying that wasn't the case. Regardless, recruiting analysts seem to now think that Mizzou is the safest bet here.
The Davis twins certainly aren't the only Missourians Mizzou is still trying to woo.
.@btaustin and PowerMizzou report that Helias TE and Alabama commit Hale Hentges is making an unofficial visit to Missouri on Friday.— David Morrison (@DavidCMorrison) November 26, 2014
Missouri has become a huge factor in the Hale Hentges recruitment. No longer a Bama lock. Per http://t.co/izPmR9AtoP— Cary Clark (@ccbama) December 3, 2014
Obviously there has not been a coaching change at Alabama, so one figures the Tide still have an excellent chance of holding onto Hentges, but Mizzou is making a push, and he's been at least somewhat receptive.
Wisconsin commit Nate Howard, a defensive end from Ladue, is also considering a Mizzou visit in January.
In-state recruiting success isn't necessarily vital to Missouri's overall success -- there are plenty of examples of Mizzou missing out on in-staters, then finding success with kids from Texas and other areas (and winning about 45 games over the next five years regardless) -- but these are some talented players, and a recruiting class that included Beckner (five stars), the Davises (at least one of whom is considered a four-star), Hentges (four stars via 247 Composite), etc., would drift awfully close to the top 25 overall, even if it features only 20-22 players.
The Mizzou recruiting calendar may be reliable and semi-boring at times, but there's nothing boring about December and January. The fun began with this week's commitment from JUCO offensive lineman Malik Cuellar, and it continues with a lot of players (including Doherty) making official visits this weekend. And as we say each December, if you were ever considering giving PowerMizzou a try, now would be the time.