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Recruiting Reset: Eli Drinkwitz continues adding high-level talent to the Tigers’ offensive line

Lebanon 3-star offensive lineman Tristan Wilson is the Tigers’ fifth in-state commit in the 2022 class.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Eli Drinkwitz is what the kids would call a “heater” right now when it comes to his in-state recruiting. Drinkwitz has made it known how highly he prioritizes the in-state recruits. If there’s someone within the state of Missouri capable of helping Missouri win an SEC East title, Drinkwitz wants to see them wearing the black and gold.

He took a strong step toward that goal last week with the commitment of Lebanon three star offensive guard Tristan Wilson.

Wilson is the Tigers’ seventh known commitment in the 2022 class, and the fifth from the state of Missouri. He joins Lee’s Summit North offensive guard Armand Membou as the two 2022 offensive line commits.

The in-state part of this commitment is important, but don’t let that distract from the talent Drinkwitz has added along the offensive line since in his first two recruiting classes.

Drinkwitz added 3-star offensive tackles Connor Tollison and J’Marion Gooch last year. The star rating might not jump off the page, but the offers will. Tollison chose the Tigers over offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Gooch was previously committed to Tennessee and also chose Mizzou over offers from Auburn, Florida State and Ole Miss.

Membou chose the Tigers over reported offers from Arkansas, K-State and Nebraska. Wilson had reported offers from Arkanas, Baylor and Kentucky.

We’ve talked plenty about the Tigers’ previous offensive additions. What are the Tigers getting in Wilson? Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently spoke with Lebanon High School head football coach Will Christian. Christian told Dave Matter that Wilson “finishes blocks as well as any kid I’ve had.”

“The thing that I think makes him most unique is he’s athletic for obviously a big kid. But he’s very nasty between the lines. He finishes blocks as well any kid I’ve had. And this is my 26th year of coaching football. He’s a finisher. Of course, we had Justin (Britt), so we’ve had some good ones. He’s right up there and does just a tremendous job.”

Let’s break down the commitment a bit further.

Where he fits: Wilson has the size to play anywhere across the line, but his best fit is likely along the interior, either at guard or center. He’s played guard in high school and I would imagine that’s where he’ll get his first opportunity. Watching Lebanon’s film is a treat. They’re an option team, so you get an opportunity to watch Wilson where he shines - as a mauler in the run game.

The pass protections are limited, which means it could take some time for Wilson to develop that aspect of his game. He does have plenty of athleticism, so that shouldn’t be too big of a concern.

When he’ll play: The Tigers have quietly loaded up with talent along the interior of the offensive line. Some combination of Luke Griffin (RS SO), Drake Heismeyer (RS FR), EJ Ndoma-Ogar (SO), Xavier Delgado (RS JR) and Mitchell Waters (SO) will have the first crack at the starting lineup when Wilson arrives on campus. He’ll also have competition from his fellow commit in Membou.

This is the benefit of adding high level talent as Drinkwitz has in his first couple of recruiting cycles - it allows for players like Wilson to take their time developing so they’re not asked to come in and play right away. If he develops the way some believe he could, he could see the field in year two and develop into a starter by year three on campus.

What it all means: Mizzou is in a really good place right now. The Tigers are recruiting the state at the level fans have always hoped they would. The 2022 recruiting class is currently ranked the 19th best in the country, according to Rivals. The offensive line is getting another strong reinforcement to build toward the future.

It’s a good time to be a Tigers fan.

Mizzou 2024 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
TE Whit Hafer Joplin, MO 2/25/2023 3-star 5.5 N/A 0.8478 6'7 230
TE-OL Ryan Jostes Washington, MO 3/11/2023 3-star 5.6 3-star 0.8619 6'6 280
QB Daniel Kaelin Bellevue, NE 3/13/2023 3-star 5.7 3-star 0.8826 6'2 198
DL Tionne Gray St. Louis, MO 3/18/2023 4-star 5.9 4-star 0.9007 6'6 305
5.68 0.8733