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On what positions is Missouri focusing to finish its 2016 football recruiting class?

It's been mostly quiet on the recruiting front since Darius Anderson's late-August commitment. That brought Mizzou to 13 commitments in a class that will likely end up with a size of about 18-22. (I guess it's 14 commits if you want to go ahead and count 2015 JUCO signee Tyler Howell, who is supposedly on academic track to join the team in the winter.)

With so few spots left, there haven't been tons of recruiting headlines involving Mizzou, but here are some recent links, mostly from Rivals/PowerMizzou.

Commits - Coach Q&A: Trystan Castillo - Coach Q&A: Tobias Little - Coach Q&A: Trey Baldwin - Coach Q&A: Tucker McCann

FOOTBALL RECRUITING - AND BASKETBALL RECRUITING Q&A, 9/15 | Football Recruiting - Six schools Okwuegbunam could visit Football Recruiting - Mizzou monitoring Ballard - Okeke focused on five

BenFred: Edwardsville's Epenesa is the next big thing : Stlhss

Numbers game

As a refresher, I figured I'd start with the class estimates that I revisit from time to time. Here's a quick table showing my own estimate of class needs and an estimate based on the dispersal of known Mizzou offers. (For more info, go here.) Commits with an asterisk could end up at any of a few different positions.

Position Bill's Estimate Proportion of Offers Average Known Commits
QB 0.7 0.3 0.5 none
RB 1.5 1.2 1.4 Nate Strong
Darius Anderson
WR 1.1 1.4 1.3 Ca'Ron Baham*
Christian Holmes
TE 1.5 1.3 1.4 none
OL 6.2 4.3 5.3 Trystan Castillo
Mackenzie Nworah
Royce Newman
(Tyler Howell)
DE 0.4 2.9 1.7 Tre Williams
DT 1.1 2.0 1.6 none
LB 2.9 2.6 2.8 Trey Baldwin
Tobias Little
CB 2.9 2.1 2.5 Jerod Alton
S 1.8 1.9 1.9 Greg Taylor

There could always be a shift in focus; if the staff is told about a potential transfer (as a purely hypothetical example, let's say Eddie Printz tells the staff he's going to become a graduate transfer in the spring), then maybe they send out a new batch of offers. But it has appeared for a while that the focus of this class would be mostly at offensive line (about 5 potential commits), defensive line (about three), and linebacker (about three). Because of Cam Hilton's torn-off redshirt and the move of Ray Wingo to offense, the numbers in the defensive backfield have ticked up a bit as well.

Going by these numbers, it would appear that Mizzou is still in the market for a tight end, maybe an offensive lineman, two to three defensive linemen, another linebacker, and one to two more defensive backs. With about six to seven spots left, that seems to add up. It also makes sense when you start to look at recent offers. There have been a couple of new (known) offers at tight end, three or four new ones at OL, quite a few at DE and DT, and a few more at LB and CB.

Few local battles

One of the links above is about how Mizzou is keeping tabs on St. Louis WR Harry Ballard III, a potential stud (No. 5 in the state according to Rivals) and academic risk, but there has been no offer there yet.

It's been an odd year for in-state recruiting overall. Of the four Rivals in-state 4-stars, a) all four have already committed somewhere, and b) Mizzou only offered two of them (A.J. Taylor and Tre Williams). That makes for very few local battles to watch down the stretch.

Who are the big names still on the table?

The biggest name Mizzou is still involved with might be Amani Bledsoe. The four-star Lawrence (Kan.) defensive end pared his list down to six in August, and Mizzou made the cutHe will evidently be playing in the Semper Fi All-American Bowl, one of approximately 1,147 high school all-star games, after the season. The Tigers are also high on four-star Brownsville (Tenn.) end Emmit Gooden, but he seems to have been making quite a few trips to Starkville of late.

Who else? Another one of the links above references three-star Smyrna (Tenn.) safety Ikenna Okeke, who is expected to visit Columbia soon. Springfield (Ill.) athlete Albert Okwuegbunam, a potential tight end target, is likely to visit Mizzou as wellas is three-star Buford (Ga.) tight end Brett ShepherdAnd Mizzou made the top 6 of four-star Mobile (Ala.) defensive tackle Darius Whitfield a while back as well.

That Mizzou is still throwing offers out at some of these positions probably tells you that some more potential visitors will come out of the woodwork soon, so aside from Bledsoe, I find myself not paying too much attention to specific names.

2017 will be louder

While this recruiting cycle hasn't included many high-profile local battles, the next one should be different. Three relative locals have shot up the recruiting ladder:

WR Jeff Thomas (East St. Louis, IL) -- No. 24 recruit in the country per 247, No. 63 per Rivals

DE A.J. Epenesa (Edwardsville, IL) -- No. 15 per 247, No. 23 per Rivals

DE Chester Graves (Park Hill, MO) -- No. 154 per 247, No. 173 per Rivals

Here are a couple of Hudl clips of Thomas. He is dynamite, and Mizzou has been on him since the Tigers first started recruiting Greg Taylor, Nate Strong, and Terry Beckner Jr.

Mizzou seems to be in excellent shape with all three players, and if they were to commit, that would, among other things, give the Tigers two of the top 25 recruits in the country per the 247Sports Composite. Obviously things will change many times, but their recruitment has already been pretty interesting to watch.