Much has been made in Barry Odom’s three years about the job he and his staff have had to undertake rebuilding the program, after some less-than-whelming returns from the final recruiting classes of the Gary Pinkel era.
Some positions were decimated and needed a massive facelift. Some positions were pretty well set for the future and didn’t need all that much tweaking.
We looked at the 2012-18 recruiting classes (including Division-I transfers) to see where Odom and the staff needed to make the most immediate infusions and how well they addressed those deficiencies. To do this, we looked at how many players in each group signed with the Tigers in each class, then what proportion of those completed their eligibility or are currently on track to do so.
People who signed twice were counted both times. Because they were taking up a recruiting slot both times. People who left early for a good reason (early entry to the NFL Draft) were treated the same way as those who left early for a not-so-good reason, because both were leaving before the time their eligibility ran out.
Odom has spoken before about the importance of not missing in recruiting. Let’s see where he’s had to cover up for misses the most, and how well he has covered them.
2012-15 signees: 5
Played/Playing out eligibility: 1
Completion %: 20.0
This is kind of understandable. You recruit at least one quarterback every year and, if they don’t end up shoring up the starting spot, they have a good chance of transferring. So, with Maty Mauk and Drew Lock ascending, Trent Hosick, Eddie Printz and Marvin Zanders all fell by the wayside. Then Mauk did as well...for other reasons...leaving Lock the last man standing. Odom and Co. have set themselves up very well for Lock’s departure by securing transfers from Kelly Bryant and Shawn Robinson, but that also means that attrition percentage of signal-callers currently on the roster might rise over the next couple years.
2012-15 signees: 9
Played/Playing out eligibility: 2
Completion %: 22.2
Possibly the most snakebit of these positions, all told, the backfield has seen its share of career-ending injuries (Morgan Steward), early defections for the draft (Damarea Keener-Crockett) and guys who just didn’t work out (Trevon Walters, Ryan Williams, Chase Abbington, Natereace Strong, Marquise Doherty). The two on pace to finish their eligibility – Larry Rountree and Tyler Badie – are looking pretty good, though, and Simi Bakare and 2019 signee Anthony Watkins are waiting in the wings.
2012-15 signees: 20
Played/Playing out eligibility: 8
Completion %: 40.0
The 2013-14 classes were especially disastrous for the depth of D-Line ‘Zou. Out of 10 signees, only two completed their eligibility: A.J. Logan and Josh Augusta. Charles Harris left for the draft, Nate Crawford medically retired, Marcus Loud and Walter Brady were dismissed, Rocel McWilliams and Spencer Williams left, and Dequinton Osborne and Antar Thompson never showed up...even though Thompson re-signed in 2018. That’s why you’ve seen so many JUCO stopgaps (Rashad Brandon, Walter Palmore, Nate Anderson, 2019 signee Chris Daniels) and a transfer (Jordan Elliott) to go along with a bunch of high-schoolers playing as true freshmen and sophomores. The line seems to be in pretty good shape going forward, even with Terry Beckner leaving, though whatever’s going on with Tre Williams might throw a bit of a wrench into things at end.
2012-15 signees: 15
Played/Playing out eligibility: 7
Completion %: 46.7
2015 was the rough class here, with only Tyler Howell lasting out of four signees...and even he had to wait a semester before he could show up. Malik Cuellar “quit football,” Tanner Owen supposedly medically retired (but then showed up at Northwest Missouri State), and AJ Harris medically retired as well. Paul Adams and Kevin Pendleton were the success stories, and 2016 helped a bunch with Trystan Colon-Castillo and Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms. Yasir Durant, Hyrin White and Case Cook also appear to be hits, and the staff has done a good job identifying and retaining depth in the 2017-19 classes.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
2012-15 signees: 18
Played/Playing out eligibility: 10
Completion %: 55.6
The 2014 class netted only two of seven – Nate Brown and Kendall Blanton yes, Darnell Green, Lawrence Lee, Keyon Dilosa, DeSean Blair and Thomas Richard no – which led to pursuing some immediate stopgaps such as Chris Black, Dominic Collins and Alex Ofodile. Johnathon Johnson has been steady, and Jalen Knox, Kam Scott and Dominic Gicinto look promising from 2018, but the Odom regime has also been weirdly unsuccessful holding onto wideouts – six of the 2016-18 signees are not finishing their eligibility here. That includes two Harry Ballards (still on the roster, but don’t tell Arkansas-Pine Bluff!), DaRon Davis, Dimetrios Mason, O’Shae Clark and Danny Gray.
2012-15 signees: 17
Played/Playing out eligibility: 10
Completion %: 58.8
2012 was a bit of a setback – John Gibson yes, Chaston Ward, Torey Boozer and Ka’Ra Stewart no – but nine out of 13 from the next three classes stuck it/are sticking it out to provide a bit of stability at the back end, including short-timers Kenya Dennis, Duron Singleton and Anthony Hines. And, actually, 2016 was another step back, with only DeMarkus Acy and Christian Holmes sticking around out of five signees (so long, Greg Taylor, Jerod Alton and Kaleb Prewett). But Missouri is recovering a bit, with nine signees still hanging around from the past two classes and help such as 2019 signees Jalani Williams and Ishmael Burdine on the way.
2012-15 signees: 10
Played/Playing out eligibility: 9
Completion %: 90.0
The most immune position to attrition, by far. Out of 18 linebacker signees from 2012-18, only two – Trey Baldwin and Grant Jones – didn’t make it to the “have finished/going to finish eligibility” track. That’s why linebacker play was a bit of a boon on an inconsistent defense this season and, with Cale Garrett back and Nick Bolton and Ronnell Perkins stepping up, should be the same again in 2019.