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2015 Missouri recruiting recap: Drew Lock brings both skill and expectations to Columbia

Four-star quarterback Drew Lock committed to Missouri early in the recruiting process. Now he'll have to fight the expectations that come with both being a blue-chipper and serving as the backup quarterback fans love.

If you follow Mizzou recruiting at all, you've read the "Mizzou wants to sign a quarterback in every class" mantra plenty of times. It is the trickiest position to recruit because, while there's only one on the field at any given time -- with rare exceptions -- well, there's only one on the field at any given time. Platoons aren't particularly common (or effective), which means that whoever doesn't win the starting job might have to go elsewhere to see playing time. Sign three four-star guys in a five-year period, and you still might have to call on a backup quarterback who is either terribly young or a walk-on when the starter goes down or struggles.

At the same time, the backup quarterback is commonly the most popular player on the team. He has all the traits the struggling starter doesn't have! The head coach is just being stubborn sticking with the imperfect starter when the backup clearly has the 'it' factor! We've never seen him screw up! Maty Mauk was the popular backup in 2013, as fans called for him to replace James Franklin any time the senior struggled. Then, in 2014, Mauk moved into the starting lineup and struggled. Some fans wanted him replaced by Eddie Printz. Others just bided their time; "just wait till Drew Lock gets here."

Drew Lock committed to Mizzou 10 months ago and signed on Wednesday. He could be awfully good, and Mizzou fans will want to see him on the field the moment Maty Mauk throws an iffy pass.


2015 returnees: Maty Mauk (6'0, 200, Jr.; 14-4 as a starter), Eddie Printz (6'2, 215, So.), Corbin Berkstresser (6'3, 225, Sr.), Marvin Zanders (6'2, 190, RSFr.)

2015 signees: Drew Lock (6'4, 205, Fr.)

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: QB Drew Lock

A player Missouri had to have, both for football and symbolic reasons. In the football sense, he’s a tall, strong-armed, accurate quarterback who could probably step in and play meaningful snaps right away if the Tigers needed him. But, with four quarterbacks already on roster, they don’t need him to. Instead, he can benefit greatly from a redshirt year captaining the scout team and be ready to go as a redshirt freshman, as Maty Mauk was. From a symbolic standpoint, he and Alex Ofodile were, arguably, the two most important in-state prospects from this year’s class. Missouri lost traction on Ofodile fairly early in the process, which made it crucial that they get Lock. Plus, from a program-prestige standpoint, a franchise quarterback is more visible than a franchise wide receiver any day.

The Missourian: Beckner Jr., Lock lead Missouri football's Class of 2015

The Beef: Lock seems to have tremendous leadership qualities and a great head on his shoulders. As a QB, I think it has to start there. You can have a million-dollar arm (which he may have), but if you have a 10-cent brain, you are not going to be a successful QB. I think Lock understands the position and appears to be a student of the game. That is the best foundational trait he can have and that is what excites me the most.

dcrockett17: The buzzword I like associated with a young guy is "calm," and I've heard that a few times with Lock. I am generally an "it takes all kinda folk to fill up the freeway" type of person, but I prefer my QB to be of the cool, calm, and collected type.

AlaTiger: I was very impressed with how he went about recruiting his teammates. He was chill and got to know them. He didn't talk football; he was trying to get to know them as people. Not everyone has that level of people skills. I was also excited about his all-star game performance. He threw an interception to start, but came back to throw a long TD. It is reading too much into a small sample size, but to me it serves as an indicator of his ability to learn and adjust to a higher level of competition.

FullbackU: He can throw deep like Maty Mauk, he can move like a young James Franklin, he can break down defenses like Chase Daniel, he has the Blaine Gabbert NFL appeal both in his prototypical body and name, and could become the next transformational Mizzou QB like Brad Smith.

No recruit is a slam-dunk, however. And the biggest concern with a blue-chip quarterback might simply be the expectations that accompany him, especially when combined with the Backup Quarterback Effect.

The Beef: Outside pressure exerted by our fan base. As we all know, the backup QB is the most popular player on the team. In comments from media members, I’ve already seen inferences that Lock somehow steps on campus, immediately supplants Berk and Printz and might even be someone GP could look to if Mauk just doesn’t have it (as he didn’t, at times, this past season). To me, that notion is pretty laughable, but it is also somewhat toxic, and that is what concerns me.

AlaTiger: Unrealistic expectations for his freshman year will almost certainly arise in a certain segment of the fanbase. Thankfully, he seems level-headed enough to not let that bother him. But we shall see.

dcrockett17: Has he just lived off a diet of easy throws and run after catch? Can he read defenses, understand route concepts, and hang with his protection. Anyone can get better at that, but where you start matters.

FullbackU: I won't be able to come up with enough "Lock" puns.