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What are Missouri’s biggest needs in the 2019 recruiting class?

Expect WR, OL, LB, and DB to be the primary positions of need for Barry Odom moving forward in the 2019 class.

Let’s face it: Missouri has made following football recruiting ... I mean, it’s not boring, really, but even in Gary Pinkel’s heyday, there were only a few truly standout recruiting battles to follow in a given year. Most of the major battles the Tigers lost didn’t end up being incredibly costly*, and a healthy percentage of Mizzou’s breakthrough players committed either out of nowhere or after less high-profile battles.

For every blue-chip battle for a Jeremy Maclin, Tony Temple, Sheldon Richardson, or Dorial Green-Beckham, there were, like, eight recruitments that played out like Sean Weatherspoon’s (mid-major commit who flipped late) or Michael Sam’s/L’Damian Washington’s (out-of-nowhere late offers because some other commitment fell through).

It is the blessing and the curse of following a team reliant on its talent evaluation. You’d like to win more high-profile battles — especially over the last couple of seasons — but you’re also excited about every less-heralded breakout star Mizzou has found so far under Barry Odom, from Larry Rountree III to Yasir Durant to Cale Garrett to Adam Sparks to, hopefully, younger guys like Joshuah Bledsoe, Aubrey Miller Jr., Kobie Whiteside, Logan Christopherson, and, most recently, Dominic Gicinto.

Though it’s not particularly rewarding to track specific names this early in a Mizzou recruiting cycle, it’s still worth our time to lay out what to expect from Mizzou’s 2019 class from a position standpoint.

While we await further roster attrition, my conservative guess is that this class will end up with about 23 commits. That could easily end up a hair higher, but we’ll go with that.

The Tigers have only two commits thus far: four-star IMG receiver Shamar Nash and Michigan safety Aidan Harrison. But let’s go ahead and lay out what Mizzou is probably going for from the perspective of position distribution.

We’ll do this in two ways:

Points allotment

I’ve assessed the roster in this way before. Basically, I look at the three-deep for each position and award the following point totals:

  • 1 point for every senior or walk-on (which, except for Dawson Downing-like exceptions, tends to suggest a positional need)
  • 0.5 points for every junior
  • 0.25 points for every sophomore
  • -0.25 points for every likely redshirting freshman

I add these points up and then divvy out the scholarships based on which areas have the highest proportion of points. This allows us to look at which positions are most in need when it comes to general roster balance.

Offer allotment

Without getting into specific names yet, we have a pretty good idea of who Missouri is offering simply from the offer databases at 247 Sports, Rivals, etc.

I use 247 because the Composite ratings are the most predictive for me overall, and right now 247’s database says that Mizzou has offered 13 quarterbacks, 17 running backs, 29 receivers, eight tight ends, 35 offensive linemen, 61 defensive ends, seven defensive tackles, 20 linebackers, 21 cornerbacks, and 20 safeties.

(They’ve also offered 17 “athletes,” but we’ll ignore them because they are position-less ... even though we can assume that most of them are either going to end up as WRs or DBs.)

Divvy those percentages out to 23 scholarships, and we can get a second view of class balance.

So here’s what my points and Mizzou’s offers have to say about Mizzou’s position distribution.

* Losing guys like Adrian Clayborn and Laurence Maroney hurt. Losing guys like Will Paul and Chris Brooks didn’t.

Mizzou football scholarship allotment

unit allotment (points) allotment (offers) most likely allotment
unit allotment (points) allotment (offers) most likely allotment
QB 1 2 1 to 2
RB 0 2 0 to 2
WR 3 4 3 to 4
TE 1 1 1
OL 6 4 4 to 6
DE 2 2 2
DT 3 1 1 to 3
LB 3 2 2 to 3
CB 1 3 1 to 3
S 3 2 2 to 3

Mizzou isn’t going after as many offensive linemen or defensive tackles as my point system would suggest. I’m a little surprised by the OLs — by the time the season begins, Mizzou might have only about 10 scholarship OLs who aren’t redshirting. Of course, only two are seniors, so when up to four redshirts join the party in 2019, Mizzou’s three-deep will be pretty stocked. So maybe it’s another year before Odom loads up there.

Meanwhile, Mizzou has a metric ton of DTs at the moment — there’s a bit of roster imbalance on the defensive line overall — and will again in 2019 even with the departures of Terry Beckner Jr., Rashad Brandon, and Walter Palmore. Most of them are sophomores, too, so while that probably means you stock up in the 2020 class, Mizzou’s set for now.

Meanwhile, there seems to be a surprisingly high focus on offering running backs and cornerbacks. Including incoming freshmen Chris Mills and Jarvis Ware (who could easily still end up at another position), Mizzou currently has eight corners on the roster, and only two (junior DeMarkus Acy and senior Finis Stribling IV) have fewer than two years of eligibility remaining. So I didn’t expect quite as many offers.

Otherwise, between my roster balance system and Mizzou’s known offers, the numbers more or less balance out. Mizzou needs receivers, linebackers, and, as always, offensive linemen and will spend a good chunk of scholarships on WR- and DB-sized athletes.

Moving forward, we can begin to look at some of the story lines for the 2019 class with this structure in mind.