On Sunday, when Jafar Armstrong decommitted, I said this:
Though receiver wasn’t a drastic need for Mizzou in this class (we’ll get to that in a second), this means that Missouri will have missed out on three of four semi-local star receivers. Of DaRon Davis, Jeff Thomas, Jaevon McQuitty, and Armstrong, only Davis will sign with Mizzou.
From a position standpoint, as mentioned, it’s not the end of the world. Fellow KC-area receiver DaRon Davis is Mizzou’s most highly-rated commit prospect, and the Tigers return nine wideouts with some level of experience: J’Mon Moore, Dimetrios Mason, Johnathon Johnson, Emanuel Hall, Richaud Floyd, Ray Wingo, Justin Smith, Dominic Collins, and, fresh from injury, Nate Brown.
Of that group, only one is a senior. If these players continue to develop — and as things currently stand, there’s no specific reason to assume they won’t — then receiver will be a strength even without Armstrong.
This technically goes for Elijah Gardiner, too. The longtime Mizzou commit is visiting Ohio State this weekend, and we’ll see if he ends up flipping, if he has a committable offer from them, etc. Mizzou will deep in 2017 without him, too, but ... well ... it would stink to lose two commits that Mizzou really liked, this late in the game. You want to be doing the flipping, not getting flipped.
On Monday came what was perhaps inevitable:
Thanks to all the schools that have recruited me but my family and I have decided to further my career at The Ohio State University. ️ pic.twitter.com/ZHhSS9asOd— Eli (@elijahgardiner) January 30, 2017
What I said above still applies. Mizzou is more or less set at receiver in 2017 and 2018 despite a bad couple of days. With 2016 star Harry Ballard III scheduled to come to town after a JUCO detour in 2018, and with Mizzou in decent standing with 2018 blue-chipper Kamryn Babb of CBC in St. Louis, this doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
Gardiner was a late bloomer of sorts — the type of player Mizzou might be able to lock down before power programs come calling with a December signing period — and is currently a low- to mid-three-star recruit per 247. Losing him won’t hurt the Tigers’ team ranking all that much anyway, for what that’s worth.
Still, this obviously hurts. If Ohio State wanted him, that’s further proof that he could be really good. And this stinks from the simple standpoint that Mizzou wanted these two guys and put in a lot of legwork to keep them.
First-tier programs plucking commitments from second-tier schools has been an issue since the dawn of recruiting, and with nine wins in two years, Mizzou has lost a lot of the leverage it worked so hard to attain.
The Tigers could really, really use a nice season next fall to rebuild some momentum in this regard, especially considering how loaded with prospects the state of Missouri (and St. Louis in particular) is next year.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, here’s more on Mizzou’s two defensive tackle commits from PowerMizzou, B&G Illustrated, the Post-Dispatch, and the KC Star. From a need perspective, defensive tackle was far more important than receiver in this class, and Mizzou got stronger in this department yesterday.
- Blake Toppmeyer’s offseason key-question series continues with a look at major Mizzou position battles.
- Remember when we were worried about Mizzu Women’s Hoops making the NCAA Tournament? The Tigers won their fifth game in a row last night, outlasting No. 25 Kentucky, 73-67. Sophie Cunningham had 14 points and nine rebounds, Cierra Porter had 17 and 7, and the trio of Lindsey Cunningham, Sierra Michaelis, and Amber Smith went 7-for-14 from 3-point range. More from the Trib, the Post-Dispatch, the KC Star, and the Missourian. And highlights here:
Missouri's oldest player was born in 1993 ... this is Missouri's longest conference winning streak since 1990— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) January 31, 2017
- Tanner Houck: Preseason All-American. No surprise there.
- Your shirt for Saturday:
- Mizzou Tennis might be pretty decent this year, but the Tigers weren’t ready for No. 8 Cal yesterday.