National Signing Day reactions are both formulaic and interesting. We know the coaches are going to say they’re super happy with the group of young men they’ve brought in. We know that this is peak time for optimism.
But we can still get a feel for which players the coaches be particularly excited about, and we get some hints of strategy and intent — what needs the coaches were attempting to address, in other words.
The primary takeaway: Mizzou wanted to get bigger with this class and did just that.
As he sized up his team and its opponent each week during pregame warmups on fields across the Southeastern Conference, Missouri coach Barry Odom noticed a consistent theme last fall.
“We didn’t look right,” he said. [...]
“This is a big-man’s league, especially the defensive linemen we see every week,” offensive line coach Glen Elarbee said. “That’s why it was a primary focus when we met after signing day last year. What can we target and get? I think we’ve accomplished that with all five of the guys. Those are some big human beings.”
The need for size didn’t just apply to the trenches, according to Odom. It applied to the defensive backfield...
Mizzou signed two cornerbacks, Terry Petry and Adam Sparks, with both listed as 6 feet. All three safeties signed, Joshuah Bledsoe, Tyree Gillespie and Jordan Ulmer, are close to 200 pounds with the frame to carry more muscle.
...and the linebacking corps.
One player whose size Odom highlighted was linebacker Jamal Brooks. Despite being listed at 227 pounds, Odom believes the linebacker is closer to 250 pounds.
The size Brooks provides is only part of what caught coaches' eyes. In what Odom said is a closely knit class, Brooks immediately assumed a leadership role among his fellow commits and even worked on bringing other recruits to Columbia.
A couple of receiver decommitments made headlines late in the signing period — Jafar Armstrong flipped to Notre Dame, Elijah Gardiner to Ohio State. Plus, one-time QB commit Rey Estes flipped to Minnesota. Perhaps not surprisingly (peak optimism, after all), Odom was happy with the staff’s ability to adapt in finding players like Taylor Powell at quarterback and O’Shae Clark at receiver.
“That’s where I think we’ve grown so much as a program in the last year is our recruiting department has done such an outstanding job of having guys lined up for every scenario,” Odom said. “I’m really proud of what they’ve done.”
The Trib’s Blake Toppmeyer put together some solid player profiles (most of which had quotes from high school coaches); he also posted quotes from Mizzou coaches about offensive and defensive signees. If you are a Trib subscriber (no more free clicks, I believe), you should check those out. PowerMizzou has a solid NSD recap as well.
Meanwhile, Mizzou Network is also a huge resource right about now.
Barry Odom on the class as a whole
Ryan Walters on Jordan Ulmer’s film
Brick Haley on Rashad Brandon’s film
Cornell Ford on Isaiah Miller’s film
Glen Elarbee on Hyrin White’s film
Mizzou Network also has coach takeaways on all the other players, too. Fall down the rabbit hole.
(By the way, you saw his byline everywhere on the page yesterday, but kudos to Ethan Triebsch, who did impressive work in putting those signing day profiles together yesterday. It was a massive help. Thanks, Ethan!)
- The Mike Alden Tree just grew a little bit more: Brian Maggard, a 21-year veteran of Mizzou administration (most of that under Alden), just took the Louisiana-Lafayette athletic director job.
- Tonight: Mizzou Hoops at No. 24 Florida (6pm CT, ESPN2). Brother vs. brother, sort of! The Trib has a nice piece on Jordan Geist and what he’s gone through to play basketball, and the KC Star looks at Russell Woods’ development amid another disappointing overall season. Meanwhile, Florida has an underhanded free throw shooter!
- Yesterday: Mizzou Tennis 6, Utah State 1
- Tomorrow night: No. 11 Mizzou Gymnastics at No. 2 LSU (7pm CT, SEC+).