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Recruiting Reset: Drinkwitz keeps the in-state recruiting train rolling

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Eli Drinkwitz made it abundantly clear he plans to keep Missouri players in-state to play at #Mizzou. Three months in, he’s following through on that promise with another recruiting win over a blue blood program.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Appalachian State at South Alabama Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Eli Drinkwitz had a significant task when he was hired: To keep the in-state talent, in-state. The Tigers had some struggles with that in recent years. Barry Odom received commitments from just three of the top 15 in-state players in the 2020 class. He locked in five of the top 15 players in the state in 2019 and just one of the top 15 players in-state in 2018.

Some of that is circumstance. Some of it is evaluation. And some of it is as simple as not getting the job done. Drinkwitz came in right away and knew landing in-state talent was something that had to change.

“It all starts, first, with the state of Missouri,” Drinkwitz said in an interview with Brendan Wiese and TJ Moe on The Big 550 KTRS. “Since the year 2000, there have been 41 players drafted from Mizzou football. 26 of them came from our state. We have to recruit our state, and we have to be great. That doesn’t mean every player in the state can play at Mizzou and we can win the SEC East. We have to understand that they have to be good enough to help us win the SEC East. But once we identify that player, we have to go get them.”

Talk is cheap, but the talk is starting to roll over into legitimate results.

Tollison is the 3rd known overall commitment for Mizzou in the 2021 class, and the Tigers’ first known offensive line commitment.

Only three of Rivals’ top 15 players in the state for 2021 have committed. Two of those players have now committed to Mizzou. First it was defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo out of DeSmet in St. Louis. This week offensive tackle Connor Tollison out of Jackson added his name to the commitment list. What does it mean? Let’s break it down.

Where he fits: Tollison is your prototypical offensive tackle. He’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds. As a junior at Jackson he played at both left and right tackle. He’s athletic enough to mirror edge rushers, nasty enough to finish blocks consistently and skilled enough to have some impressive chop blocks from both the front and back side of the line.

Tollison wasn’t just some random player that Drinkwitz accepted. He was becoming a high-profile recruit who took a visit to Oklahoma the week before he decided to commit to Mizzou. If Lincoln Riley wants you on his offensive line, you have my attention.

When he’ll play: There aren’t many questions about Tollison on his film. He probably needs to add some size and strength to his frame, but that’s the case for any offensive lineman making the jump from high school to college. Offensive tackle isn’t exactly a loaded position for Mizzou. Hyrin White and Larry Borom are the projected starters at tackle this year, and both are entering their redshirt junior seasons. The depth at the position has relative unknowns in Bobby Lawrence and Javon Foster.

I wouldn’t expect Tollison to start right away, but serving in a reserve role isn’t out of the question. The hope would be to see him on the field in some capacity by his second season on campus. Realistically, Tollison is a player who should be a significant part of the offense in year three at Mizzou.

What it all means: Tollison projects to be a good player for Mizzou, but the most important piece of this commitment is the continued recruiting success by Drinkwitz. He has now locked in two of the top 15 players in the state for 2021 with 10 months remaining in the class. He’s also won recruiting battles against both Alabama and Oklahoma in his first three months on the job.

Mizzou 2021 Commitment List

Pos Recruit Name Hometown Commitment Date Rivals Rate Rivals Rank 247 Rate 247 Rank Ht Wt
Pos Recruit Name Hometown Commitment Date Rivals Rate Rivals Rank 247 Rate 247 Rank Ht Wt
DT Mekhi Wingo St. Louis, MO 1/19/2020 3-star 5.5 3-star 0.8316 6'0 285
TE Gavin McKay Memphis, TN 1/30/2020 3-star 5.5 3-star 0.8333 6'4 205
OL Connor Tollison Jackson, MO 3/8/2020 3-star 5.5 3-star 0.8567 6'5 300
QB Tyler Macon East St. Louis, IL 3/13/2020 3-star 5.6 3-star 0.8577 6'0 180
5.50 0.8448