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Following Missouri’s signing classes to the finish

Historically speaking, around 80 percent of the players the Tigers signed this year will actually play for Missouri. Around half will start a game.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Missouri
Adam Sparks has the chance to be a four-year starter at Missouri. Not many people have done that.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

So signing day is over. And Missouri’s class of 2018 is all but assembled.

As you look up and down the Tigers’ newest crop of signees ( ranks it 41st in the nation as of this typing, which is right about at the average of the four classes that came before it), I want you to consider this bit of research I started at the Columbia Daily Tribune and continued here at Rock M Nation. It began with the class of 2002, Gary Pinkel’s first full class as head coach and the first year of the ever-helpful database.

When you’re trying to determine just how important every single signee is to the future of Missouri football, it’s good to give you a frame of reference as to how likely it is that your average Missouri signee achieves different levels of achievement during their Tigers careers.

A little more than half of them will ever start a game. A little less than a third of them will hold down a starting job for more than a year. A full 20 percent of them will never see the field.

Here’s some helpful information on criteria before we get started:

  • Only classes that have had at least five years to complete themselves are factored in the likelihood percentages. The 2013 class is the most recent one included, as all of its redshirt seniors have moved on. I included more recent classes (2014-17) in the study so you can take a look at how they’re shaping up, but they don’t factor into the probability percentages.
  • A "starter" is defined as someone who started at least half of the team's games in a given season. This year, for example, Yasir Durant was a “starter.” A.J. Logan and Markell Utsey, technically, were not, because they started only six of 13 games. This leads to odd quirks like Chase Coffman being a three-time all-conference performer, yet only a one-year starter.
  • A "spot starter" is anyone who has ever started a game, but never started at least half of them in a season. Yes, I realize someone who started one game in his career isn't exactly a "spot starter," but he started in a spot. So let’s get literal with it.
  • "Played" means just that. If you played at least one regular-season game in a Missouri uniform, you fall into that category.
  • Specialists were not counted as starters, even if they handled the team's primary kicking or punting duties. They are not technically starters, per the participation report.
  • All-conference selections were determined as first- or second-team choices by either the coaches or the Associated Press. Players who made both coaches and media lists in a year were only counted as one. All-America selections were determined based on the five teams officially recognized by the NCAA.
  • Players who began their careers as walk-ons were not included in the study, as they were not technically part of signing classes. Sorry, Jonah Dubinski, Adam Ploudre, Max Copeland, Randy Ponder and Colin Brown.
  • Players who signed out of high school, didn't qualify, then were signed again out of junior college were counted in the second signing. They were still used in the class count from the first signing year as well, as it was ostensibly still a signing spot taken up by a player who did not become a part of that class.
  • Players who transferred in are not counted, as they were not part of the signing classes for ranking purposes on Rivals.
  • "Class record" is determined by the team's record in the five seasons after the signing class came in.

So, knowing all that...

Of the 271 players Missouri signed from 2002 to 2013, here is the percent likelihood that a player would...

  • Play in at least one game: 79.7 (216)
  • Start at least one game: 52.4 (142)
  • Be a starter for at least a year: 45.8 (124)
  • Be a multi-year starter: 30.3 (82)
  • Be a three-year starter: 14.0 (38)
  • Be a four-year starter: 1.85 (5)
  • Be an All-Conference player: 18.1 (49)
  • Be a two-time All-Conference player: 5.54 (15)
  • Be a three-time All-Conference player: 0.74 (2)
  • Be an All-American: 2.58 (7)
  • Be a two-time All-American: 0.37 (1)

To be updated in the spring...

  • Get drafted: 11.1 (30)
  • Get drafted in the first round: 2.95 (8)

Now, how do we quantify how successful a class is as a whole? It’s tricky. There are many things to consider.

The proportion of signees who played? Who started? Who held down a starting spot for at least a year? For multiple years? Who were all-conference or All-America performers? Who got drafted? What about the on-field success of that class?

We tried to throw it all into a blender and come up with something for you.

We assigned points to each player for playing, starting, one point each for how many years he was a starter, points for all-conference selections (two for first-team, one for second-team), points for All-America selections (three...because it’s a step up from all-conference?), then points for which round of the draft they went in (3.5 for first round down to 0.5 for seventh round).

Then we divided each category by the size of the signing class and added them all together — plus the class win percentage — for a total.

Not perfect, but good enough to start some arguments, right? Here’s what we got:

Now, you’ll see that 2014-17 aren’t done. And 2013 isn’t quite done yet, as J’Mon Moore will, in all likelihood, add to that draft total.

But, taking a look around, which are the strongest classes?


Five all-conference players, as well as three (Jacquies Smith, Aldon Smith and Michael Egnew) that were multi-year. Not to mention Egnew’s All-America selection and first-round draft picks in Aldon Smith and Blaine Gabbert. On a macro level, you had 21 of 23 play, 19 start at least a game and 16 be a starter for at least a year. And they had a .631 percentage over five years.


More of a workmanlike class, with seven all-conference selections, and E.J. Gaines and Marcus Murphy pulling double duty. Plus five draft picks (Gaines, Murphy, Kony Ealy, Bud Sasser and Mitch Morse), though no first-rounders, and six guys who were three-year starters. Plus a .697 win percentage.


A sneaky good class, especially considering how it ranked 48th in the nation coming out of high school. They got a lot of mileage out of four draftees and two first-rounders (Shane Ray and Sheldon Richardson) out of a 17-member class. Plus Ray’s All-America nod and Kentrell Brothers making two all-conference teams.

As far as the individual characteristics:

  • % Played: 2008, 2011, 2010
  • % Started: 2008, 2011, 2010
  • Starters: 2008, 2010, 2003
  • All-Conference/America: 2006, 2005, 2010
  • Draft: 2011, 2008, 2012
  • Winning: 2006, 2007, 2010

Now let’s take our class rankings 1 through 12 and see how the classes ranked coming out of high school:

25, 21, 48, 39, 47, 28, 31, 29, 40, 33, 41 (with possible upward mobility), 46

Fluctuation, sure, but interesting that the two most highly regarded classes entering Missouri (2008 and 2010) were definitely among the best classes when all was said and done.

(A little sidenote: Jeremy Maclin and Sean Weatherspoon were probably about the most valuable players on here. They combined for 33 points total — Maclin 17.5, Weatherspoon 15.5 — or about 37 percent of the 2006 class total)

So how do the as-of-yet-unfinished classes look like they’re stacking up?

  • The 2014 class has only five more opportunities to pile on multiyear starters (Paul Adams and Kevin Pendleton possible three-year guys; Nate Brown, Brandon Lee and Samson Bailey possible two-year). It also has yet to claim an all-conference award and will need to go at least 9-4 this year to beat out 2002 for the worst class win percentage.
  • 2015 has a possible four-year starter (Drew Lock) and two all-conference players (Lock and Marcell Frazier) to its credit. It also has the possibility of moving six more players (Lock, Emanuel Hall, Johnathon Johnson, Terry Beckner Terez Hall and Cam Hilton) up through the multiyear starter ranks. Pretty solid class, but it’ll have to go 19-7 over the next two years to be better than 2002’s win percentage.
  • 2016 already has an all-conference player (my man Albert) and can move five (Okwuegbunam, DeMarkus Acy, Trystan Castillo, Cale Garrett and Tre’Vour Simms) into the realm of the multiyear starters this year.
  • 2017 already has two starters (Yasir Durant, Adam Sparks) and two who have started (Rashad Brandon and Jordan Ulmer) after one year, as well as 56 percent who have played at least a game. Not a bad start.

Here’s a year-by-year breakdown:


Class Size: 25 National Rank: 49th

One-Year Starter (2): OL Yasir Durant (3-star); CB Adam Sparks (3-star)

Spot Starter (2): DT Rashad Brandon (3-star); S Jordan Ulmer (3-star)

Played, Not Started (10): DE Nate Anderson (3-star); S Joshuah Bledsoe (3-star); LB Jamal Brooks (3-star); DT Akial Byers (3-star); LB Aubrey Miller (3-star); DT Walter Palmore (3-star); RB Larry Rountree (3-star); S Tyree Gillespie (2-star); DE Chris Turner (2-star); DT Kobie Whiteside (2-star)

One-Year Record: 7-6 (.539)



Class Size: 22 National Rank: 47th

One-Year Starter (6): CB DeMarkus Acy (3-star); OL Trystan Castillo (3-star); LB Cale Garrett (3-star); TE Albert Okwuegbunam (3-star); OL Tre’Vour Simms (3-star); WR Dimetrios Mason (2-star)

Spot Starter (3): RB Damarea Crockett (4-star); WR Dominic Collins (3-star); DT Markell Utsey (2-star)

Played, Not Started (11): RB Nate Strong (4-star); DE Tre Williams (4-star); CB Jerod Alton (3-star); K Tucker McCann (3-star); OL Kyle Mitchell (3-star); TE Brendan Scales (3-star); S Greg Taylor (3-star); QB Micah Wilson (3-star); LB Trey Baldwin (2-star); CB Christian Holmes (2-star); QB Jack Lowary (2-star)

All-Conference: Okwuegbunam

Two-Year Record: 11-14 (.440)



Class Size: 24 National Rank: 27th

Three-Year Starter (1): QB Drew Lock (4-star)

Two-Year Starter (2): WR Emanuel Hall (3-star); WR Johnathon Johnson (3-star)

One-Year Starter (5): DT Terry Beckner Jr. (4-star); DE Marcell Frazier (3-star); LB Terez Hall (3-star); S Cam Hilton (3-star); OL Tyler Howell (3-star)

Spot Starter (2): S Ronnell Perkins (3-star); CB T.J. Warren (3-star)

Played, Not Started (12): RB Chase Abbington (4-star); LB Franklin Agbasimere (3-star); OL Malik Cuellar (3-star); P Corey Fatony (3-star); WR Richaud Floyd (3-star); OL A.J. Harris (3-star); CB Anthony Hines (3-star); DE Nate Howard (3-star); DT Tyrell Jacobs (3-star); DT Josh Moore (3-star); WR Justin Smith (3-star); RB Ryan Williams (3-star)

All-Conference: Lock, Frazier

Three-Year Record: 16-21 (.432)



Class Size: 28 National Rank: 34th

Two-Year Starter (4): OL Paul Adams (3-star); CB Kenya Dennis (3-star); OL Kevin Pendleton (3-star); RB Ish Witter (3-star)

One-Year Starter (5): WR Nate Brown (4-star); LB Brandon Lee (3-star); S Thomas Wilson (3-star); OL Samson Bailey (2-star); DE Walter Brady (2-star)

Spot Starter (4): CB Logan Cheadle (3-star); DE Spencer Williams (3-star); TE Kendall Blanton (2-star); WR Keyon Dilosa (2-star)

Played, Not Started (10): WR DeSean Blair (3-star); LB Grant Jones (3-star); WR Lawrence Lee (3-star); WR Thomas Richard (3-star); S Tavon Ross (3-star); WR Ray Wingo (3-star); QB Marvin Zanders (3-star); OL Mike Fairchild (2-star); CB Finis Stribling IV (2-star); LB Roderick Winters (2-star)

Four-Year Record: 27-24 (.529)



Class Size: 21 National Rank: 41st

Three-Year Starter (3, 14.3%): WR J'Mon Moore (3-star); CB Aarion Penton (3-star); S Anthony Sherrils (3-star)

Two-Year Starter (1, 4.76%): DE Charles Harris (2-star)

One-Year Starter (6, 28.6%): OL Alec Abeln (3-star); DT Josh Augusta (3-star); LB Joey Burkett (3-star); OL Nate Crawford (3-star); DT A.J. Logan (3-star); S Duron Singleton (3-star)

Spot Starter (2, 9.52%): LB Eric Beisel (3-star); TE Jason Reese (3-star);

Played, not started (4, 19.0%): DE Marcus Loud (3-star); QB Eddie Printz (3-star); OL Clay Rhodes (3-star); S Shaun Rupert (3-star)

Percent Started: 57.1

Percent Played: 76.2

Two-Time All-Conference: Moore, Harris

All-Conference: Penton

First-Round Draft Pick: Harris

Four-year Record: 39-26 (.600)



Class Size: 19 National Rank: 31st

Four-year Starter (1, 5.26%): OL Evan Boehm (4-star)

Three-year Starter (2, 10.5%): TE Sean Culkin (3-star); LB Michael Scherer (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 10.5%): DE Rickey Hatley (3-star); LB Donavin Newsom (3-star)

One-year Starter (6, 31.6%): WR Dorial Green-Beckham (5-star); CB John Gibson (3-star); DE Markus Golden (3-star); RB Russell Hansbrough (3-star); QB Maty Mauk (3-star); DT Harold Brantley (2-star)

Played, not started (5, 26.3%): WR Levi Copelin (3-star); RB Morgan Steward (3-star); S Chaston Ward (3-star); OL Jordan Williams (3-star); DT Evan Winston (3-star)

Percent Started: 57.9

Percent Played: 84.2

All-Conference: Golden, Green-Beckham

Draft Picks: Boehm, Golden, Green-Beckham

Class Record: 37-27 (.578)



Class Size: 17 National Rank: 48th

Three-year Starter (2, 11.8%): LB Kentrell Brothers (3-star); OL Connor McGovern (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 11.8%): OL Taylor Chappell (3-star); S Ian Simon (3-star)

One-year Starter (4, 23.5%): DT Sheldon Richardson (4-star); WR Wesley Leftwich (3-star); OL Brad McNulty (3-star); DE Shane Ray (3-star)

Spot Starter (4, 23.5%): QB Corbin Berkstresser (3-star); S Cortland Browning (3-star); LB Clarence Green (3-star)

Played, not started (3, 17.6%): OL Michael Boddie (3-star); CB David Johnson (3-star); CB Ernest Payton (3-star)

Percent Started: 70.6

Percent Played: 88.2

All-America: Ray

Two-Time All-Conference: Brothers

All-Conference: Richardson, Ray

First-Round Draft Picks: Ray, Richardson

Other Draft Picks: Brothers, McGovern

Class Record: 41-24 (.631)



Class Size: 23 National Rank: 21st

Three-year Starter (6, 26.1%): QB James Franklin (4-star); CB E.J. Gaines (3-star); DT Matt Hoch (3-star); OL Mitch Morse (3-star); WR Bud Sasser (3-star); S Braylon Webb (3-star)

Two-year Starter (4, 17.4%): DE Kony Ealy (4-star); WR Marcus Lucas (4-star); RB Henry Josey (3-star); DT Lucas Vincent (3-star)

One-year Starter (4, 17.4%): WR Jimmie Hunt (4-star); RB Marcus Murphy (3-star); S Kenronte Walker (3-star); TE Eric Waters (3-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.3%): OL Anthony Gatti (3-star)

Played, not started (5, 21.7%): OL Nick Demien (4-star); S Daniel Easterly (3-star); LB Darvin Ruise (3-star); CB Xavier Smith (3-star); RB Greg White (3-star)

Percent Started: 65.2

Percent Played: 87.0

Two-time All-Conference: Gaines, Murphy

All-Conference: Ealy, Josey, Morse, Sasser, Webb

Draft Picks: Ealy, Gaines, Morse, Murphy, Sasser

Class Record: 46-20 (.697)



Class Size: 25 National Rank: 40th

Three-year Starter (3, 12%): WR T.J. Moe (3-star); LB Andrew Wilson (3-star); OL Justin Britt (2-star)

Two-year Starter (3, 12%): S Jarrell Harrison (3-star); DE Michael Sam (2-star); WR L’Damian Washington (2-star)

One-year Starter (5, 20%): RB Kendial Lawrence (3-star); OL Jack Meiners (3-star); S Jasper Simmons (3-star); LB Donovan Bonner (2-star); S Matt White (2-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4%): DE Brayden Burnett (3-star)

Played, not started (9, 36%): LB Josh Tatum (4-star); LB Adam Burton (3-star); WR Jaleel Clark (3-star); OL Chris Freeman (3-star); QB Ashton Glaser (3-star); WR Kerwin Stricker (3-star); S Tavon Bolden (2-star); DT Marvin Foster (2-star); OL Mark Hill (2-star)

Percent Started*: 48.0

Percent Played*: 84.0

All-America: Sam

All-Conference: Moe, Wilson, Britt, Sam

Other Draft Picks: Britt, Sam

Class Record: 43-22 (.662)

* — Richardson counted with 2011 class



Class Size: 23 National Rank: 25th

Three-year Starter (4, 17.4%): OL Dan Hoch (4-star); LB Will Ebner (3-star); LB Zaviar Gooden (3-star); WR Wes Kemp (3-star)

Two-year Starter (7, 30.4%): QB Blaine Gabbert (5-star); CB Kip Edwards (3-star); S Kenji Jackson (3-star); DE Aldon Smith (3-star); DE Jacquies Smith (3-star); TE Michael Egnew (2-star); WR Jerrell Jackson (2-star)

One-year Starter (5, 21.7%): TE Andrew Jones (4-star); DE Brad Madison (3-star); OL Travis Ruth (3-star); DT Jimmy Burge (2-star); LB Brian Coulter (JUCO transfer)

Spot Starter (3, 13.0%): WR Gahn McGaffie (3-star); CB Robert Steeples (3-star); WR Rolandis Woodland (3-star)

Played, not started (2, 8%): DT George White (3-star); DE Marcus Malbrough (2-star)

Percent Started: 82.6

Percent Played: 91.3

All-America: Egnew

Two-time All-Conference: A. Smith, J.Smith, Egnew

All-Conference: Hoch, Madison

First-Round Draft Picks: Gabbert, A. Smith

Other Draft Picks: Gooden, Egnew

Class Record: 41-24 (.631)



Class Size: 27 National Rank: 33rd

Four-year Starter (2, 7.4%): OL Elvis Fisher (3-star); CB Carl Gettis (3-star)

Three-year Starter (2, 7.4%): DT Dominique Hamilton (3-star); OL Austin Wuebbels (3-star)

Two-year Starter (6, 22.2%): RB Derrick Washington (4-star); S Justin Garrett (3-star); LB Luke Lambert (3-star); OL Jayson Palmgren (3-star); DT Terrell Resonno (3-star); LB Andrew Gachkar (2-star)

One-year Starter (1, 3.7%): RB De’Vion Moore (3-star)

Spot Starter (2, 7.4%): CB Trey Hobson (3-star); CB Tremane Vaughns (3-star)

Played, not started (8, 29.6%): DE Michael Keck (4-star); DT Andy Maples (4-star); RB Gilbert Moye (4-star); OL J.T. Beasley (3-star); DE Jaysen Corbett (3-star); DT Chris Earnhardt (3-star); LB Tyler Crane (2-star); P Jake Harry (2-star)

Percent Started*: 48.1

Percent Played*: 77.8

All-Conference: Washington, Hamilton, Lambert, Wuebbels, Gachkar

Draft Picks: Gachkar

Class Record: 48-19 (.716)

* — White, Woodland counted with 2008 class



Class Size: 24 National Rank: 47th

Three-year Starter (2, 8.3%): OL Tim Barnes (3-star); LB Sean Weatherspoon (2-star)

Two-year Starter (4, 16.7%): WR Jeremy Maclin (4-star); WR Jared Perry (3-star); CB Kevin Rutland (3-star); DE Tommy Chavis (2-star)

One-year Starter (3, 12.5%): CB Castine Bridges (3-star); S Pig Brown (3-star); WR Danario Alexander (2-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.2%): S Del Howard (3-star)

Played, not started (7, 29.2%): DL Bart Coslet (3-star); DE John Stull (3-star); LB Marquis Booker (2-star); OL Mike Prince (2-star); CB Paul Simpson (2-star); WR La’Roderick Thomas (2-star); DT Charles Gaines (JUCO transfer)

Percent Started*: 41.7

Percent Played*: 70.8

Two-time All-America: Maclin

All-America: Alexander

Three-time All-Conference: Weatherspoon

Two-time All-Conference: Maclin

All-Conference: Brown, Alexander

First-Round Draft Picks: Maclin, Weatherspoon

Class Record: 48-18 (.727)

* — Vaughns counted with 2007 class



Class Size: 23 National Rank: 39th

Three-year Starter (4, 17.4%): LB Brock Christopher (3-star); QB Chase Daniel (3-star); OL Kurtis Gregory (3-star); DT Ziggy Hood (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 8.7%): CB Darnell Terrell (4-star); DT Jaron Baston (3-star)

One-year Starter (3, 13%): TE Chase Coffman (3-star); S Hardy Ricks (3-star); DT Jamar Smith (3-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.3%): DT DeMarcus Scott (3-star)

Played, not started (9, 39.1%): DE Tarell Corby (3-star); LB Connell Davis (3-star); DE Chad Marshall (3-star); OL Louis Pintola (3-star); OL Matt Russell (3-star); OL James Stigall (3-star); LB Chad Washington (3-star); OL Dain Wise (3-star); TE Jon Gissinger (2-star)

Percent Started: 43.4

Percent Played: 82.6

All-America: Coffman

Three-time All-Conference: Coffman

Two-time All-Conference: Daniel, Gregory

All-Conference: Baston, Hood

First-Round Draft Picks: Hood

Other Draft Picks: Coffman

Class Record: 45-20 (.692)



Class Size: 25 National Rank: 46th

Three-year Starter (3, 12%): WR William Franklin (3-star); OL Ryan Madison (2-star); DE Stryker Sulak (2-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 8%): HB Tony Temple (4-star); S William Moore (3-star)

One-year Starter (1, 4%): LB Van Alexander (4-star)

Spot Starter (2, 8%): WR Earl Goldsmith (2-star); CB Domonique Johnson (2-star)

Played, not started (7, 28%): WR Jerrill Humphrey (4-star); QB Chase Patton (4-star); TE Brian Barmann (2-star); S Mack Breed (2-star); RB Jimmy Jackson (2-star); LB Steve Redmond (2-star); CB Trenile Washington (2-star)

Percent Started: 32.0

Percent Played: 60.0

Two-time All-Conference: Moore, Sulak

Draft Picks: Franklin, Moore, Sulak

Class Record: 42-21 (.667)



Class Size: 22 National Rank: 28th

Four-year Starter (2, 9.1%): TE Martin Rucker (3-star); OL Adam Spieker (3-star)

Three-year Starter (3, 13.6%): OL Tyler Luellen (4-star); WR Brad Ekwereku (3-star); DT Lorenzo Williams (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 9.1%): DE Xzavie Jackson (3-star); S Nino Williams (3-star)

One-year Starter (3, 13.6%): RB Damien Nash (4-star); RB Marcus Woods (3-star); OL Monte Wyrick (2-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.5%): TE Victor Sesay (3-star)

Played, not started (5, 23.8%): DL Josh Barbo (4-star); WR Greg Bracey (3-star); WR Jason Ray (3-star); OL Phinney Troy (2-star); CB Alex Woodley (2-star)

Percent Started: 50.0

Percent Played: 72.7

All-America: Rucker

Two-time All-Conference: Rucker

All-Conference: Luellen, Spieker, Williams

Draft Picks: Nash, Rucker

Class Record: 40-22 (.645)



Class Size: 22 National Rank: 29th

Three-year Starter (3, 13.6%): DT Atiyyah Ellison (4-star); LB Dedrick Harrington (4-star); DE Brian Smith (3-star)

Two-year Starter (5, 22.7%): LB Marcus Bacon (3-star); OL Joel Clinger (3-star); S David Overstreet (3-star); DE Zach Ville (3-star); OL Mike Cook (2-star)

One-year Starter (1, 4.5%): OL Steven Sanchez (3-star)

Played, not started (10, 45.5%): DL Fabian Bean (4-star); RB Mario Whitney (4-star); QB Brandon Coleman (3-star); S Josh Hibbets (3-star); LB Emmett Morris (3-star); K Alex Pettersen (3-star); LB Mau Uiagalelei (3-star); P Todd Gohsler (2-star); TE DeQuincy Howard (2-star); OL Phil Tizzio (2-star)

Percent Started: 40.9

Percent Played: 86.4

Two-Time All-Conference: Smith

All-Conference: Ellison, Bacon, Clinger, Overstreet

Draft Picks: Ellison, Smith

Class Record: 33-27 (.550)