COLUMBIA, Mo- On Wednesday, the University of Missouri’s Head Football Coach, Eli Drinkwitz addressed the press via zoom call.
By now you’re probably aware that Missouri’s 2021 early-signing recruiting class has been ranked 20th in the nation according to Rivals rankings. Head Coach, Eli Drinkwitz said he hopes that this is seen as a statement throughout the state of Missouri. As Drinkwitz put it, “We need to build a wall around the state of Missouri.” He made it clear that his mission going forward is to lock up the best high school football players from Missouri every year. Coach said as long as you do that, you’re going to have a top 25 recruiting class in the country year after year. So what exactly is there to be excited about?
Let’s start with the in-state kids. In total, the Tigers signed 8 players from the state of Missouri, 6 of whom are from the St. Louis/East St. Louis metropolitan area. Defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo was Missouri’s first commitment way back in January. At 6’1 275, Wingo will be a fine addition to a crippled Tiger defensive line. The St. Louis native native proved to be an impactful signing because soon after Wingo’s commitment, a trail of St. Louis prospects made their verbal commitments to Missouri.
One of the brightest spots in next year’s freshman class is quarterback, Tyler Macon. Playing in East St. Louis his whole life, Macon decided to stay close to home, committing to Missouri back in March. He is one of Missouri’s four-star recruits in this year’s class. Macon also turned out to be a big influence on recruiting wide receiver and high school teammate, Dominic Lovett, and the two of them won a state championship together. Coach Drinkwitz pointed out in his press conference today that he and his staff look for “the right fit” type of players. Coach hinted at the fact that 10 of the signees today had won a state championship with their high school team at some point. As Coach described it, he wants to create a culture of winning, so he’s going to recruit winners.
Another St. Louis piece of the puzzle to get excited about is defensive end, Travion Ford, another four-star recruit. Ford is certain to provide some length to Missouri’s defense, as the young man stands at 6’4.
Though there is a heavy emphasis on recruiting kids in-state, Coach Drinkwitz and his staff did a tremendous job recruiting across the country. Commitments were signed in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia. Coach Drinkwitz mentioned that his coaching and recruiting staff had to get creative when it came to interacting with potential recruits this fall since they wouldn’t be able to physically come visit campus for a proper tour. “I think we have become experts at the virtual meetings,” Drinkwitz explained. He said the message he tried to sell every time is that it’s not about the bricks and buildings you see on the facilities, but the people that are in them.
Of the out-of-state signees, Drinkwitz said that he’s very excited about defensive end, Jon Jones, from McKinney, Texas. Another big body that is sure to help out the Tigers in the trenches. Defensive back, Darius Jackson was another Texas recruit that Coach seemed giddy about. The cornerback/defensive back position was a particular weakness that Drinkwitz wanted to put a lot of attention on.
So far, this recruiting class seems to have a lot of potential. With the possibility of late commitments up until this Friday, there’s a chance Missouri could land another prospect, but otherwise, there won’t be anymore recruiting news until February.