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Missouri Position-by-Position Recruiting in the SEC: Defense

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Let’s go position by position and see how the Tigers’ recruits historically stack up with their SEC mates, this time on defense.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee
DeMarkus Acy is part of a Missouri secondary that was not as highly rated in recruiting as its SEC counterparts. How much of a difference does that make? We’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

And now, the thrilling conclusion to last week’s post about how Missouri’s recruiting stacks up with the rest of the conference on a position-by-position basis.

For a bit of a refresher:

We’re going through the 2015-19 classes — the ones that make up almost all (if not all) of this year’s teams — and see where the Tigers are the most and least competitive on an average-player basis.

To do this, we looked at 247Sports’ composite player ratings, since it’s a nice distillation of different sites’ valuations of players. We also included 2019 transfers because, well, 247Sports does, along with either a high school or transfer rating for each of them.

Today, the defense.

Overall

SEC Avg. Star Rating: 3.43
MU Avg. Star Rating: 3.07
Pct. Difference: -10.5
SEC Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8881
MU Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8534
Pct. Difference: -3.90

DL

SEC Avg. Star Rating: 3.49
MU Avg. Star Rating: 3.14
Pct. Difference: -10.0
SEC Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8921
MU Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8596
Pct. Difference: -3.65

LB

SEC Avg. Star Rating: 3.40
MU Avg. Star Rating: 3.00
Pct. Difference: -11.7
SEC Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8835
MU Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8514
Pct. Difference: -3.63

DB

SEC Avg. Star Rating: 3.38
MU Avg. Star Rating: 3.05
Pct. Difference: -9.94
SEC Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8864
MU Avg. 247Sports Rating: .8485
Pct. Difference: -4.27

Missouri is remarkably consistent across the board on defense: about 9-12 percent behind the league average in stars per position and 3.6-4.3 percent behind in average 247Sports rating.

The Tigers’ defensive line stars and rating (3.14, .8596) are ahead of just Kentucky (3.04, .8506) and Vanderbilt (2.82, .8335).

Its linebacker stars and rating (3.00, .8514) are ahead of just Arkansas (3.08...so a little behind on stars, actually, .8505) and Vanderbilt (3.00, .8494).

Its defensive back stars and rating (3.05, .8485) are behind everybody. Cue the tumult and the shouting from the “PLAY THE CORNERS CLOSER TO THE GOTDANG LINE” crowd.

In the continuation of my “recruiting rankings do matter” efforts, it should perhaps come as no surprise that five of the seven teams that recruited above the league average (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M) also finished in the top half of the league in total defense. Mississippi State and Kentucky greatly exceeded recruiting expectations, and Auburn and Tennessee underperformed them.

It should also come as no surprise that Missouri’s recruiting for defense — which has been the problem spot for the Tigers over the past three years — is coming in about 13-23 percent worse when compared to the rest of the league (-10.5% on stars, -3.90 on 247 Rating) than the offense (-9.26 on stars, 3.17 on rating).

To close all this out, I want to run through two things: ranking each position group (not counting athlete...because it’s not really a position) by cumulative rating of recruit and going through each team and showing which position it has recruited most and least strongly at, compared with the rest of the league.

Position Groups

QB — 3.56, .8929
RB — 3.52, .8921
DL — 3.49, .8921
WR/TE — 3.41, .8869
DB — 3.38, .8864
OL — 3.39, .8837
LB — 3.40, .8835

Teams, Most Successful Positions (% Diff. from League Average)

Alabama — DB (18.2, 6.91)
Arkansas — WR/TE (1.08, -0.51)
Auburn — QB (12.4, 4.98)
Florida — WR/TE (5.21, 2.42)
Georgia — LB (17.7, 5.82)
Kentucky — LB (-3.68, -1.71)
LSU — DB (20.1, 7.20)
Ole Miss — WR/TE (7.94, 2.88)
Mississippi St. — LB (-3.30, 1.82)
Missouri — QB (-7.66, -0.72)
South Carolina — QB (3.05, 1.84)
Tennessee — LB (5.95, 2.52)
Texas A&M — WR/TE (4.98, 2.39)
Vanderbilt — QB (-10.1, -1.61)

Teams, Least Successful Positions (% Diff. from League Average)

Alabama — QB (12.4, 2.51)
Arkansas — LB (-9.25, -3.73)
Auburn — DB (2.45, -0.49)
Florida — LB (-1.20, -0.34)
Georgia — WR/TE (7.43, 2.07)
Kentucky — QB (-15.7, -4.71)
LSU — QB (1.18, -1.33)
Ole Miss — LB (-10.1, -3.17)
Mississippi St. — WR/TE (-7.92, -2.69)
Missouri — RB (-8.41, -4.76)
South Carolina — LB (-7.50, -2.63)
Tennessee — WR/TE (-5.13, -1.42)
Texas A&M — QB (-3.64, -1.83)
Vanderbilt — DL (-19.2, -6.57)

And here’s the defensive spreadsheet: