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Has Barry Odom’s recruiting turned a corner?

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Missouri’s 2019 recruiting class took a big step forward; its 2020 class is shaping up to be even better.

Delaware State v Missouri Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Elijah Young’s commitment to Missouri on Tuesday continued Barry Odom’s hot stretch on the recruiting trail.

Going back the last four weeks, six recruits have committed to the Tigers. That streak began with offensive lineman Mitchell Walters on May 23 and it includes four-star linebacker Antonio Doyle on June 8.

Young’s commitments is the latest, but certainly not the last, as the Tigers haven’t really even entered the normal mid-summer stretch of decisions. Young, a 5.6 three-star, was a nice get for the running-back needy Tigers. He spurned offers from hometown Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky, among others, to head west from Knoxville to Columbia.

Missouri’s had some hot stretches in recruiting before — it landed James Franklin, Mitch Morse, Jimmie Hunt, Braylon Webb and EJ Gaines before July 2009 was over in the 2010 class, for instance.

While this current recruiting streak isn’t really out of the norm for what we’ve seen under Odom, it does hint at future success, based on past examples.

This will be Odom’s fourth full recruiting class as head coach, with his first full class being 2017. He finalized the 2016 class, but Odom was announced as head coach in early December 2015, giving him two months as the point person for that group.

So, going back to 2017. here’s how many commitments each of his recruiting classes have had by the end of August prior to their signing day:

2017 — 9

2018 — 9

2019 — 8

2020 — 9

Now, a key difference for this 2020 group: there’s till a month and half before summer is over. If you look at Missouri’s highest-rated classes, they’ve had a big thing in common: Double-digit commitments before September hit on the calendar.

Missouri has finished with recruiting classes ranked in the 20s nationally three times:

2008 (25th overall) — 12 commitments

2010 (21st overall) — 12 commitments

2015 (27th overall) — 11 commitments

Since 2005, Missouri has had double-digit commitments through August six times, including the three listed above. The average ranking of those six classes was 31.3; Missouri’s average class ranking when it doesn’t reach double-figure commitments by September in the same span:

40.9

It’s not a science — correlation does not equal causation — but we’re going to say that 11 commitments prior to September is a good barometer for Missouri recruiting success. Given the fact that Missouri already has nine, and we still have six weeks left of fertile recruiting season. the Tigers should easily surpass that mark this class.

Does this make sense? I’d say it does. For Missouri, early commitments mean these were priority players — even if they may not be as highly ranked as other recruits out there, Missouri identified these players early and went after them above others. So if you trust Barry Odom’s evaluation system, then you should be hopeful that these early commitments serve as the backbone of the class.