Let's wrap up a couple of things, then move on to 2016.
First, what does Gary Pinkel think about the class he just signed?
Second, kickers are people, too. We didn't do a special teams post, but Corey Fatony still indeed signed and, if ready, could be one of the first true freshmen to see the field in 2015.
Fatony started kicking and punting in seventh grade. He’d played soccer since he was 5 years old.
[Fatony's kicking coach James] Wilhoit found him as a high school sophomore — the year Fatony quit playing soccer to focus on football — punting a ball back and forth to himself. He’d send one kick flying down one end of the field, then run after it and thwack it right back.
"One of my former clients saw him kicking on a field and said, ‘This guy is incredible,’ " Wilhoit said. "Within the first couple of days, I saw he had talent." [...]
Fatony "fell in love" with punting, he said, once he started working with Wilhoit. It’s more challenging to do consistently, he said, and it’s all on you. There’s no holder to rely on.
Catch the ball. Stick it in front of you. Smack it with your foot.
Two of Mizzou's most successful recruiting classes were those signed in 2005 and 2010. The 2010 class may have been the only Pinkel class more highly-touted than this one, and the 2005 class may have been the least touted. Mizzou fans should be very well aware of the randomness that exists in recruiting, even (or perhaps especially) when your head coach prizes talent evaluation and development above all other aspects of coaching and recruiting.
So the fact that the 2015 class is well-regarded could end up meaning absolutely nothing. But there's no question that, on paper, Mizzou addressed its needs well signed quite a few high-caliber pieces. Now we erease the ratings and force them to prove it on the field. And we move on to 2016.
According to Rivals.com, Mizzou has already offered well more than 50 current high school juniors; recruiting for the 2016 class is obviously well underway already. But while we wait to get a read on who might or might not sign with Mizzou about 11.5 months from now, let's take a look at per-position needs in a couple of different ways.
First, we're going to use my own system. I explained it last year, and I'll do it again here. Long ago, pre-blogdom, I came up with a little points system to determine how a team might best divvy out scholarships. It is pretty easy, even if it isn't particuarly statistically sound. I look at the likely first-, second-, and third-stringers at each position, and I assign point values as such: seniors are one point, juniors are 0.5 points, sophomores are 0.25 points, freshmen and redshirt freshmen are zero points. I add that together and subtract 0.25 points for each likely redshirt at the position, and I've got a point total for each position.
Easy example: Mizzou quarterbacks in 2015. For now, we'll say that Maty Mauk (junior, 0.5 points), Eddie Printz (sophomore, 0.25 points), and Corbin Berkstresser (senior, 1.0 points) are the top three on the list and that Drew Lock will probably redshirt. Obviously that could change if there's a transfer or if Lock is simply dominant in practice. But that's 0.5 + 0.25 + 1.0 - 0.25, or 1.5 points.
So once you've got point totals for each unit, you can add them up; that will probably give you an approximate number of the scholarships available in the class (they currently add up to 23.25 for me), but to the extent that it doesn't, you can just use percentages.
Second, we're going to simply look at the offer list. Rivals.com maintains a pretty good one. It will never tell you everybody Mizzou has offered simply because it relies on the prospects themselves to report it, and not all of them will. Still, if you look at the total number of offers and those at each position, you can come up with an approximate way of determining what the coaches themselves think they need. Flawed? Absolutely? At least a little bit informative? I think so.
If we average these two percentages together, we have an interesting number to use. Below are the current results for the 2016 class; they are based on an estimated 22-man class. There are currently only about 15-16 scholarship seniors on the roster, but we know there will be attrition, so I'll go with 22 for now.
|Unit||Bill's Numbers %||% of known offers
(per 22-man class)
Mizzou will have five senior offensive linemen in the rotation -- either starting or atop the second string -- so it makes sense that this might be an OL-heavy class. Pinkel and staff currently have more offers out to OLs than anybody else, which verifies that thought. I would be surprised if Mizzou took more than five OLs in this class, but there will be quite a few.
This also shows us that Mizzou is in need of some more athletes in the back of the defense. My numbers suggest more of a need in the secondary -- which could feature four seniors and two juniors on the 2015 two-deep -- than Mizzou's offer list. In part, this is because Mizzou is probably pretty happy with its young set of DBs: Logan Cheadle, Anthony Sherrils, Shaun Rupert, Tavon Ross, Raymond Wingo, Finis Stribling IV. But my numbers do point out that the secondary could be awfully young in 2016. And even if they don't take 4-5 DBs, I bet they take at least 2-3.
For all intents and purposes, Mizzou already has two 2016 commits on board: Hinds CC athletes and East St. Louis transplants Greg Taylor (safety) and Nate Strong (running back). Taylor signed in 2014, and Strong would have signed in 2015, but he instead tried to get a jump on the clock and enrolled at Hinds early. In theory, they will both sign with Mizzou next February; the good folks at PowerMizzou said they are just waiting on official confirmation from the players themselves to add them to the commit list. Both are considered solid commits in theory.
It's too early to figure out who Mizzou might land in any one unit, but one last thing I'll point out with this class is that the in-state crop of seniors-to-be is considered by recruiting analysts to be weaker than normal. Barring some diamond mining, it would apparently be a surprise if Mizzou finds even 10 players to offer. So far, only two have offers: CBC running back Tre Bryant and Rockhurst WR/DB A.J. Taylor, the consensus No. 1 in-state prospect in this class. The Rivals folks seem to like Fort Osage quarterback Skylar Thompson, Wildwood tight end Brendan Scales, Cape Girardeau ATH Al Young, Columbia defensive end Jerrion Nelson, St. Louis cornerback Roderick Campbell, St. Louis receiver Roddrick Bryant, and offensive linemen Trystan Castillo (Webb City) and Dylan Powell (Hannibal). We'll see who the staff likes.
Mizzou appears to be in excellent shape with Taylor, which is nice. Even in a thin class, it would be a pretty symbolic thing to land an early commitment from the No. 1 player in the field.