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Pourover: Luther Burden has changed the feelings about a dour season

Eli Drinkwitz hasn’t gotten much done on the field this year, but his off the field moves are reason to keep the faith.

luther burden

There’s no way around the fact this football season hasn’t lived up to the hopes of most of the fan base. But as Missouri’s defensive rankings have plummeted, the 2022 recruit class continues to ascend the charts.

Football and basketball recruiting are wildly different. For example, Auburn’s basketball recruiting class of 1 top 10 5-star player ranked below Missouri’s class of 5 3-star players. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would think Auburn got out-recruited by Mizzou in this last cycle. In basketball, a highly ranked recruiting class isn’t a harbinger of success. It’s more about the individual players you get, versus amassing pools of talent.

But in Football it’s very important to have a well-ranked class. Stacking good recruiting classes is how to reduce your margin for error for when specific recruits hit. 247sports has a nice little tool called the “talent caculator” you can use to determine how talented a roster is by the recruiting rankings for previous classes. You still need to coach them up, you still need a good quarterback who can make plays, and you still need to do all the things to make your team competitive. But starting with a deep foundation of talent helps a lot.

If you click on the Talent Calculator, you’ll notice some familiar names. The cream of the SEC crop is at the top with Georgia and Alabama. Missouri’s talent level ranks them 13th in the SEC, and 46th overall. They’re ahead of Vanderbilt in the league, and nobody else.

It’s why the work Eli Drinkwitz has done on the recruiting trail shouldn’t go without commendation. After taking the job, he held together most of Barry Odom’s 2020 recruiting class which ranked 13th in the SEC. Then his first full class, in 2021, ended up ranked 11th in the SEC, and 27th nationally. In the 2022 class, with Luther Burden’s commitment, Mizzou is 5th in the SEC and 14th nationally. The class has 7 4 & 5-star recruits out of 15 commitments. Considering the entire Missouri roster now has 9 4-star players on the roster, I’d say this is a good class for the Tigers already.

If Drinkwitz can somehow get equivalent classes for 3 years, Missouri’s roster would move into the top 25 of the Talent Calculator. That’s not getting into Georgia or Alabama territory, but you’re moving solidly into the upper middle class of the SEC. Georgia and Alabama are playing a different game. Both have double digit 5-stars on their roster, and 23 of the roster filled with 4-stars. You don’t need to do that to compete; that’s an unreasonable ask.

But the benefit of getting a guy like Burden is he raises the overall profile of the roster. Mizzou’s average recruit ranking in this class creeped over the 0.9000 spot at 0.9031. That’s the equivalent of a top 300 recruit... as the average. That’s really good.

All of this doesn’t excuse the poor play of the defense, the mental mistakes, or the penalties. The Missouri defense should be better than they are this year. The talent level is low on this team, but it’s still inside the top 50, which isn’t all that dissimilar from where they’ve been prior to this year (Mizzou has fallen between 34th and 45th since the metric has been used in 2015). So it’s reasonable to ask them to just play better.

But it does give you hope for the future. The good vibes are flowing around the program right now. A player like Burden can help boost Mizzou’s profile going into the class of ‘23 and ‘24 and potentially be the boost and lift the program needs to stack classes.

Maybe these good vibes only last until the next time we have to watch the defense play, but they’re here right now, so I’m gonna enjoy them.

Here are your other SEC scores:

  • Arkansas 45, Arkansas Pine Bluff 3
  • 12. Ole Miss 31, LSU 17
  • Mississippi State 45, Vanderbilt 6
  • 4. Alabama 52, Tennessee 24
  • 17. Texas A&M 44, South Carolina 14

Yesterday at Rock M

Links of Interest:

And both of those things caused me to do well on twitter yesterday: