Missouri might have more athletic potential at linebacker in the coming years than it ever has under Gary Pinkel. How is the staff planning to use the 2016 class as a supplement?
- 2014 Signees: Brandon Lee (RSFr.), Roderick Winters (RSFr.), Grant Jones (RSFr.)
- 2015 Signees: Terez Hall (Fr.), Franklin Agbasimere (Fr.) (* - could end up at this position or another one)
- Known 2016 Offers: 18-20
Missouri heads into 2015 with 11 scholarship linebackers, only two of whom are seniors. Obviously attrition happens, but right now you're looking at returning three starters in 2015 (Kentrell Brothers, Michael Scherer, Donavin Newsom) and returning two-thirds of that (sans Brothers) for 2016. In 2017, the current youth will take over, with (in theory) some combination of seniors Eric Beisel and Joey Burkett, juniors Lee, Jones, and Winters, and redshirt sophomores Hall and Agbasimere taking over. There are a lot of exciting names in there.
Accordingly, I didn't expect linebackers to make up a large portion of the 2016 recruiting class, especially without any serious standout talent residing within the Missouri borders. (Rivals ranks Kearney's Cale Garrett as the No. 6 senior-to-be in the state, but he doesn't have a Mizzou offer yet. That could obviously change during camp season.)
Mizzou currently has about 18 to 20 known offers out to linebackers; 11 of them are to prospects who were given four stars by either Rivals, 247, or both, and the most effective way to gauge the staff's intentions might be to lop those players off and count the other offers. And there are at least a few of those. This certainly isn't like Missouri's current RB and WR recruiting situations -- blue chips or nichts -- and I figure the goal is indeed to sign about two LBs in this class.
Missouri will have what basically constitutes a third round of offers going out in the next couple of months, and if the Tigers end up taking two LBs, odds are good that at least one of them comes from that (unknown) list. But that's kind of an unspoken disclaimer, isn't it? Simply judging from offer lists and recent articles, here are some of what might be the most realistic names to track so far.
Tobias Little -- Atlanta, GA, 6'0, 233, *** (Rivals), *** (247)
Maciah Long -- Houston, TX, 6'1, 223, *** (Rivals), *** (247)
(Long is still pursuing offers at quarterback, too, which is why his film is what it is. Proves his athleticism, if nothing else.
Tyrel Dodson -- Franklin, TN, 6'1, 228, unrated (Rivals), *** (247)
Dodson comes from what is quickly becoming prime Missouri recruiting territory, so my guess is he's the most realistic of the bunch. And that's good -- while his running back clips are impressive, and he looks decent enough in pass defense, watch the clips of him defending the run. Seems to move at a different speed in those.
And while he doesn't have an offer yet...
Cale Garrett -- Kearney, MO, 6'2, 218, *** (Rivals), *** (247)
Dude likes to run and hit, I'll say that much. Wouldn't break my heart if he got an offer. #analysis
(If Garrett does end up at Mizzou, he'd be the second Kearney product in two classes to sign. Kearney's population is 8,400. Impressive.)