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Missouri’s success in St. Louis will define the 2018 football recruiting cycle

Here are today’s Mizzou Links. (We’ll save the basketball for later.)

In the 2017 recruiting cycle, Barry Odom and his staff have been swimming upstream. The Tigers don’t have an incredible product to sell at the moment, sure, but beyond that, what should have been a grace period class of sorts — a coach’s first year is a time to sell his vision instead of his actual product — has been handcuffed by the fact that local recruiting has been minimal.

247Sports top 5 Missouri prospects in the 2017 class

  1. DE Chester Graves (Kansas City): **** (0.9108), No. 230 overall, supposedly unlikely to qualify
  2. WR Jaevon McQuitty (Columbia): **** (0.8952), No. 296 overall, Nebraska commit.
  3. WR Daron Davis (Kansas City): *** (0.8887), No. 338 overall, Mizzou commit.
  4. OL Marquis Hayes (Maryland Heights): *** (0.8879), No. 342 overall, Oklahoma commit.
  5. OL Larry Boyd (St. Louis): *** (0.8721), No. 442 overall, Illinois commit.

Only one player in the top 250, and he might not qualify. Plus, Jaevon McQuitty early on made the declaration that he wanted to leave town for college.

Granted, one’s grace-period class doesn’t have to consist of only locals, but it helps, and Mizzou had few locals to try and sell. (Granted, East St. Louis’ Jeff Thomas and Bishop Miege’s Jafar Armstrong, both top-500 guys, are from pretty close to Missouri, too.) The result: Only one of Mizzou’s current 19 commits is from in state.

Are the Tigers missing on instate talent, or is the 2017 talent within Missouri not there to begin with?

“I think it’s a little bit of both,” said Jeremy Crabtree, a senior writer for ESPN’s RecruitingNation. … “They haven’t gotten a few of the guys that they’ve wanted instate, but I think for the large part, there just isn’t as much high-level SEC-caliber talent in the Show-Me State this season. I think that certainly is probably the biggest factor.”

Added Mike Farrell, the national recruiting director for “I don’t see it as a real banner year in the state of Missouri.”

A better indication of whether Odom and his staff can lock down the borders will come next year, the analysts say.

Ah yes, next year.

247Sports top 9 Missouri prospects in the 2017 class

  1. DT Michael Thompson (St. Louis): **** (0.9599), No. 84 overall
  2. WR Kamryn Babb (St. Louis): **** (0.9593), No. 86 overall
  3. DT Trevor Trout (St. Louis): **** (0.9411), No. 131 overall
  4. ATH Mario Goodrich (Lee’s Summit): **** (0.9249), No. 189 overall
  5. QB Kaleb Eleby (Maryland Heights): *** (0.8742), No. 381 overall
  6. DE Daniel Parker (Blue Springs): *** (0.8739), No. 385 overall
  7. WR Dallas Craddieth (St. Louis): *** (0.8659), No. 436 overall
  8. DE Ronnie Perkins (St. Louis): *** (0.8604), No. 465 overall
  9. WR Cameron Brown (St. Louis): *** (0.8496), No. 549 overall

Mizzou has already offered eight of these nine (Eleby is the only one without) and has already offered more 2018ers than 2017ers. The No. 4 player in the 2018 list would be No. 1 in 2017. This is an immense opportunity to recreate some inroads in St. Louis, but wow, is that going to be tough. Guys in the top 200 are national recruits, and Mizzou will have to fend off heavy hitters to land some of them.

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