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Missouri makes the top 6 for St. Louis blue-chipper Marcus Washington

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

On Sunday morning, we found out that Mizzou’s biggest 2019 target — St. Louis Trinity Catholic WR Marcus Washington — is still considering the Tigers. Mizzou made the blue-chipper’s top six, along with Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, and Texas.

We know that Barry Odom’s been taking an “If you don’t want to be here, we don’t want you” attitude toward the in-staters, but we also know that Mizzou’s been hitting the #LouToTheZou hashtag pretty hard as well. Staying in the Washington race will help with StL relations, that’s for sure, even if Odom has clearly taken the attitude that he can find plenty of good prospects in Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, etc.

There’s one more reason to put a little extra weight on St. Louis recruiting, though: Illinois’ Lovie Smith played the “hire the respected high school coach” card.

For years, it was common to see high school coaches be hired on to a support staff position at a college , especially when said HS coach was associated with an elite recruit or program. But in 2017, the NCAA changed the rule, making it so that a college could not have recruited a high school for two years before or after hiring one of its coaches hiring a high school coach, unless the college is willing to hire the high school coach into one of its 10 on-field assistant coaching positions. [...]

Illinois is desperate. It doesn’t have the talent to compete in the Big Ten. If it doesn’t get an infusion of talent, Smith and his staff won’t be around. And so it took a calculated risk and hired Patterson directly onto its coaching staff, ensuring it would still be allowed to recruit Trinity Catholic. Illinois fans were calling for the move. [...]

Patterson has deep, long-held bonds with prep stars in St. Louis.

Almost immediately, the move paid off in a commitment from athlete Isaiah Williams, a 5’10 five-star recruit whom seemingly every school wants as a slot receiver, but to whom Illinois is promising a shot to continue playing QB, just as he did for Patterson at Trinity.

A month later, Trinity three-star slot receiver Bryce Childress joined on.

“Coach Patterson has been like a father figure for me since I was 6,” Williams told Illini Inquirer. “I stayed with him from time to time. He got me into schools.”

Many players echoed those sentiments. There’s a trust in Patterson, sometimes formed over a decade or more, that just doesn’t exist between the players and other recruiters.

Smith’s hire of Patterson was a really nice short-term move. It will only work out long-term if the Illini actually improve on the field over the next year or two, though, and there’s nothing saying that will happen. Still, a crafty move on his part.

And speaking of #LouToTheZou, Mizzou made St. John Vianney RB/WR Kyren Williams’ top eight as well.

Next step: actually landing some StL’ers. Winning this fall — and not waiting till the second half of the season this time — will certainly help. Athletic director Jim Sterk expects it.

What are realistic expectations for next season’s football team? You look at the offense and it’s got a lot. There’s an unknown element with Dooley. But then you’ve got Barry’s defense, which is set up under him now and pretty consistent there.

You saw the shifting and the transformation of the team last year. I think the culture of the team developed. Yeah, they went through some losses early, but the coaches didn’t lose them. They had confidence. They played together. They played for each other. Those are all good things that are good indicators of how healthy the program is. I think that they can build on that.

Obviously, offensively, they have a lot of people coming back. Defensively, they know what’s expected of them, and so I’m excited about it. I don’t see anybody on the schedule that we can’t compete with, or that we can’t score.

This Weekend at Rock M

More Links:

  • The weekend’s Mother’s Day must-read: Dave Matter on Robin Pingeton.
  • Well, they pulled it off. Mizzou Softball is dancing. And they got a two-seed in the Norman Regional. DAMN. That’s how good the Tigers’ strength of schedule was, I guess. They’ll face Tulsa on Friday. Oklahoma, the host and No. 4 overall seed, will face Boston U. as well.
  • Albert O: good.