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2015 Missouri football recruiting: Where are the Tigers focusing for the next class?

What are Missouri's football recruiting needs for the class of 2015?

Bill Carter

Long ago, I came up with an incredibly unscientific way for estimating a team's needs for a coming recruiting class. When projecting (or fantasizing about) a given class, I used this to determine how many players are needed at each position.

  1. Look at the first, second, and third string for a given position or unit.
  2. Add one point for every senior, 0.5 points for every junior, and 0.25 points for every sophomore.
  3. Subtract 0.25 points for every redshirting freshman.

That's pretty much it. If you add these totals up, you're not going to get a perfect representation for the scholarships a team has available, but it will give you a pretty good idea.

With the 2014 recruiting class in the books (barring any surprise signings later on), and potential names emerging for the 2015 class (there's just no break, is there?), I figured we could use this silly formula to look at Missouri's potential needs moving forward. To do this, we're going to make some (false) assumptions: First, we're going to assume that all incoming freshmen will redshirt. Then, we're going to assume that nobody currently on the roster will leave. Again, this is patently inaccurate -- there are currently between 90-92 scholarships accounted for, and Mizzou will have to be at 85 by the time fall camp begins, so we know for a fact that some will be leaving. But instead of guessing who that will be, we'll just accept that we'll be off by a few.

  • Quarterback: Sophomore Maty Mauk (+0.25 points), redshirt freshman Eddie Printz, junior Corbin Berkstresser (+0.5). Redshirting Marvin Zanders (-0.25). +0.5 points.

  • Running Back: Junior Russell Hansbrough (+0.5 points), senior Marcus Murphy (+1 point), sophomore Morgan Steward (+0.25 points). Redshirting Trevon Walters and Ish Witter (-0.5 points). +1.25 points.

  • Wide Receiver: Junior Dorial Green-Beckham (+1 point, since he's almost certainly going pro), seniors Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt, and Darius White (+3 points), sophomore Levi Copelin (+0.25 points), redshirt freshman J'Mon Moore, juniors Wesley Leftwich Gavin Otte, and Sheldon Gerau (+1.5 points). Redshirting Nate Brown, Lawrence Lee, DeSean Blair, Thomas Richard, Keyon Dilosa, Darnell Green (-1.5 points). +4.25 points.

  • Tight End: Sophomore Sean Culkin (+0.25 points), redshirt freshman Jason Reese, junior Clayton Echard (+0.5 points). Redshirting Kendall Blanton (-0.25 points).+0.5 points.

  • Offensive Line: Seniors Mitch Morse, Anthony Gatti, Stephen Carberry, and Nick Demien (+4 points), juniors Evan Boehm, Connor McGovern, Brad McNulty, Mitch Hall, and Michael Boddie (+2.5 points), sophomores Taylor Chappell and Jordan Williams (+0.5 points), redshirt freshmen Clay Rhodes and Alec Abeln. Redshirting Andy Bauer, Paul Adams, Kevin Pendleton, Mike Fairchild, and Sam Bailey (-1.25 points). +5.75 points.

  • Defensive End: Senior Markus Golden (+1 point), junior Shane Ray (+0.5 points), sophomore Rickey Hatley (+0.25 points), redshirt freshmen Marcus Loud and Charles Harris. Redshirting Rocel McWilliams, Spencer Williams, and Walter Brady (-0.75 points). +1.0 points.

  • Defensive Tackle: Seniors Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent (+2 points), sophomores Harold Brantley, Josh Augusta, and Evan Winston (+0.75 points), redshirt freshmen Nate Crawford, A.J. Logan, and DeQuinton Osborne. +2.75 points.

  • Linebacker: Senior Darvin Ruise (+1 point), juniors Kentrell Brothers and Clarence Green (+1 point), sophomores Michael Scherer and Donavin Newsom (+0.5 points), redshirt freshmen Eric Beisel and Joey Burkett. Redshirting Brandon Lee, Grant Jones, and Roderick Winters (-0.75 points). +1.75 points.

  • Cornerback: Senior Xavier Smith (+1 point), Juniors David Johnson and Kenya Dennis (+1 point), sophomores Aarion Penton, John Gibson, and Ernest Payton (+0.75 points). Redshirting Raymond Wingo, Logan Cheadle, Thomas Wilson, and Finis Stribling IV (-1 point). +1.75 points.

  • Safety: Seniors Braylon Webb, Duron Singleton and Daniel Easterly (+3 points), juniors Ian Simon and Cortland Browning (+1 point), sophomore Chaston Ward (+0.25 points). Redshirting Greg Taylor and Tavon Ross (-0.5 points). +3.75 points.

Add these points up, and you arrive at 23.25. Depending on attrition, Mizzou will probably have between 19 and 24 scholarships to give in the 2015 class, so that's not too bad.

Now, there's another partially inaccurate way of evaluating needs: the Rivals offer list. As kids report offers, Rivals (and other services, obviously) adds them to the database. If the offers aren't reported, we don't know about them, obviously. Still, if we assume that the unknown offers are distributed with the same proportions as the known offers, we can learn something about what Mizzou feels it needs for the class.

As of Friday morning, here is the number of reported offers Mizzou has sent out for each position.

  • Quarterback: 3
  • Running Back: 8
  • Wide Receiver: 6
  • Tight End: 2
  • Offensive Line: 8
  • Defensive End: 6
  • Defensive Tackle: 3
  • Linebacker: 7
  • Cornerback: 4
  • Safety: 2

That's 49 offers so far, a total that will multiply quite a bit now that everybody's paying more attention to the 2015 class.

So let's look at some percentages. And for now, let's assume Mizzou's giving out 21 scholarships next year.

Position/Unit Bill's Formula Known Offers ~Needs
QB 2.2% 6.1% 1
RB 5.4% 16.3% 2
WR 18.3% 12.2% 3
TE 2.2% 4.1% 1
OL 24.7% 16.3% 4
DE 4.3% 12.2% 2
DT 11.8% 6.1% 2
LB 7.5% 14.3% 2
CB 7.5% 8.2% 2
S 16.1% 4.1% 2

I figure this table will be fun to revisit periodically to see how needs are both changing and being filled (as commitments begin to roll in). The last step for today, though, is to look at some of the local (or at least semi-local) names for which Mizzou is aiming. Obviously a large percentage of the early offers are for four- and five-star out-of-staters. A great class would include a commit from, say, 2-3 of those, so we won't worry about those names until we find out who's actually interested. But here are some of the local guys:

  • Quarterback: Drew Lock (Lee's Summit; 4 stars, #136 overall recruit).
  • Running Back: Natereace Strong (East St. Louis; 4 stars, #194 overall), Marquise Doherty (Kansas City; 3 stars), Ryan Williams (Lee's Summit, 3 stars).
  • Wide Receiver: Alex Ofodile (Columbia; 4 stars, #138 overall).
  • Tight End: Hale Hentges (Jefferson City; 4 stars)
  • Offensive Line: A.J. Harris (Stilwell, KS; 4 stars, #243 overall), Gabe Megginson (Jacksonville, IL; 3 stars)
  • Defensive End: Terry Beckner, Jr. (East St. Louis; 4 stars, #31 overall)
  • Defensive Tackle: Khalil Davis (Blue Springs; 4 stars), Carlos Davis (Blue Springs; 3 stars)
  • Linebacker: none
  • Cornerback: none
  • Safety: none

The state of Missouri appears to be much more loaded on the offensive side of the ball this year, but the biggest catches are probably Lock and the two EStL players, both of whom appear to like Mizzou quite a bit. Mizzou will likely be taking the "look under rocks in Georgia and Florida" route for linebackers and defensive backs, though they've sent out a ton of offers to high-profile linebackers, including Tennessee natives Joshua McMillon (#63 overall) and Josh Smith (#150). My numbers suggest safety should be a higher priority than the staff thinks, while the staff is aiming super-high for defensive ends, even beyond Beckner.

We're all hoping for tons of four-stars and a top-15 class -- it's 12 months to Signing Day, so it's the time for dreaming big -- but regardless, I thought it would be interesting to look at the likely layout of the class. We'll try to do this at least once a month or so.