Eli Drinkwitz isn’t afraid to go out and improve the roster. He went out right away and found two players he affectionately called ‘touchdown makers’ in Keke Chism and Damon Hazelton. It’s no coincidence the Tigers already have five edge rushers committed for the 2021 recruiting class. Drinkwitz’s first real recruiting splash came at cornerback. That cornerback now starts for the Tigers as a true freshman.
Drinkwitz identifies needs, seeks out talent at the position and he gets those players on the field right away if they show signs of potential.
He quietly did exactly that in the bye week. You might have missed the news, but the Tigers landed a commitment from former Oklahoma offensive lineman E.J. Ndoma-Ogar last week. Ndoma-Ogar was a 3-star offensive guard recruit in the 2019 class out of Allen High School in Allen, Texas. Rivals, 247 Sports and ESPN all ranked him as one of the 20 best guard prospects in the country.
He played four games for the Sooners in his true freshman season, but opted out before this season and quietly entered the transfer portal. Now, he’s a Tiger. And he’s a Tiger worth getting excited about.
I can’t speak to what happened with Ndoma-Ogar at Oklahoma. But his high school film makes it clear why he was one of the top offensive line prospects in the 2020 class. He’s a massive human being at 6-foot-3 and more than 340 pounds. He uses his frame and he’s not afraid to finish a blocks. Dozens of the poor defensive linemen and linebackers who lined up against him quickly found themselves 30 yards beyond the line of scrimmage flattened on their back.
New #Mizzou offensive guard E.J. Ndoma-Ogar is absolutely terrifying to line up against. He routinely sent opposing defensive linemen 30+ yards down the field, and he wasn't shy about finishing blocks. pic.twitter.com/fE5BzelzcU— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) November 11, 2020
But he’s more than just power. He also showed the ability to block in a zone scheme, which will certainly come in handy playing for Drinkwitz’s offense. He could still use some work with his angles, especially getting up to the second level and working in space. But that’s something you can work with when you have a player with his kind of ability to dominate at the point of attack.
You probably wouldn't expect a 6-foot-3 340 pound offensive lineman to be good in space, but Ndoma-Ogar looks like he's pretty comfortable in a zone blocking scheme. #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/c2vI2eGmwG— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) November 11, 2020
The only disappointing thing about this news is that Ndoma-Ogar isn’t eligible to play right away. The Tigers are getting scary low on healthy scholarship offensive linemen. They have just one offensive line prospect committed for 2021. Ndoma-Ogar helps the outlook of the position in a big way. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he’s working his way into the starting lineup at either offensive guard position or at center by as soon as spring ball.
One area Ndoma-Ogar could still use some work (and he might have improved at this last year at OU) is with his angles. You can get away with bad angles in high school, but SEC linebackers will know how to take advantage of it. pic.twitter.com/FBNLQealec— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) November 11, 2020
Drinkwitz identified a need, he found a talented player available at the position, and he got him to commit as soon as he could. That’s what good coaches do. And it’s something we’ve already seen multiple times in the year since Drinkwitz stepped on campus at Mizzou.