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Barry Odom adds old friend A.J. Ofodile to his Missouri coaching staff

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A.J. Ofodile is back. It's about damn time.

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MUtigers.com: A.J. Ofodile Joins Barry Odom’s Coaching Staff at Mizzou

University of Missouri Head Football Coach Barry Odom has added former Mizzou standout and NFL tight end A.J. Ofodile (owe-FAH-delay) to his staff, as announced today.  Ofodile, who has been a successful head coach at Columbia's Rock Bridge High School since 2003, will serve as the football program's Director of Recruiting Operations.  Details of Ofodile's appointment will be released once finalized, pending the completion of human resources procedures.

Ofodile, 42, served as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator for Odom at Rock Bridge during Odom's head coaching stint there from 2001-02.  After Odom joined Mizzou's coaching staff prior to the 2003 season, Ofodile took over as the program's head coach.  In 2013, his Bruins were state runners up, reaching the state championship game for the school's first time since 1993.

A first-team All-Big Eight selection in 1993 for Mizzou, Ofodile was a three-year letterwinner (1991-93), and finished his Tiger career with 73 receptions for 851 yards and six touchdowns.  After an outstanding 1993 season which included 55 catches for 589 yards and four TDs, he was drafted in the fifth round of the 1994 NFL Draft by Buffalo, and spent six years in the league with Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Baltimore through 1999.

The Trib: A.J. Ofodile hired as MU director of recruiting operations

We’ve had conversations off and on," Ofodile said. "They have really just picked up steam recently with this position coming to fruition for me. It’s been something we’ve talked about for quite some time."

Ofodile will leave a Rock Bridge program much different now than when he joined the program in 2001. He was 69-68 with the Bruins, leading them to a Class 6 state runner-up finish in 2013 and national top-50 rankings in 2006 and 2013. He informed the team of his departure Monday afternoon.

"With a lot of these kids, we put three years of time and cultivating relationships into developing them as athletes and young men. They count on you," Ofodile said. "That’s about the hardest thing. That’s why" it’s "been, for all these years, so difficult to go. After a while, these young men count on you as their high school coach for a lot of different things. I take that responsibility seriously."

Post-Dispatch: Mizzou adds A.J. Ofodile to football staff

KC Star: Mizzou adds Columbia Rock Bridge coach A.J. Ofodile to football staff

PowerMizzou: Mizzou hires A.J. Ofodile

Ofodile caught 54 passes in his final season at Mizzou; it was the most ever for a Big 8 tight end at the time. He's definitely experienced recruiting from every angle (though the cynical, bitter fan I locked away long ago wants to note that a few of those recruiting experiences when he was a coach at Rock Bridge could have gone much better for Mizzou), and he definitely improved Rock Bridge's lot in life. This move makes plenty of sense.

And speaking of recruiting...

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Post-Dispatch: What's next for Mizzou's embattled softball coach?

With the national outbreak of lawsuits and investigations stemming from allegations of athlete mistreatment by college coaches, any administrator in Rhoades’ position is obligated to take a closer look at any sort of allegation. No doubt influenced by last year’s football team boycott that triggered monumental change across Mizzou’s campus and university system, Earleywine’s players took a similar, though more measured approach to defend their coach. Will it instead backfire?

For the sake of appearances, can an AD who’s absorbed one controversy after another the last year fire a popular, successful coach while other less popular, less successful coaches continue to earn university paychecks? If the player allegations are serious enough, can Rhoades afford to not fire Earleywine? If social media and Sunday’s home crowd are any indication, fans have overwhelmingly taken the coach’s side, but with so many facts still in the dark, is it too early in the game to know the score?

Mizzou Tigers pennant NERRRRRRRDS

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