St. Louis has become one of the premier recruiting hotspots in the nation as of late. In the past, schools such as Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, and even other SEC schools could easily come in and poach talent from The Gateway to the West.
Eliah Drinkwitz came in and made it a point to lock down the Missouri borders, and the biggest battle to accomplish this task takes place in St. Louis. In his first two recruiting classes, Drinkwitz has managed to reel in nine players from the St. Louis area. For context, the Tigers managed to sign only five in the two years prior.
One of these major signees was Tyler Hibbler, a 3-star safety out of now-defunct Trinity Catholic High School. Mizzou managed to edge Arkansas and Iowa State for Hibbler’s signature, as he chose to stay in-state for a reason.
“I chose Mizzou because I feel we can build something in our home state. Only we are going to fight as hard for our (home team). That was (Drinkwitz’s) main focus, his No. 1 topic - it was an emphasis on the guys from home,” Hibbler explained. “It’s a big pride because when you go out on the town back home, if you are with the home school, everyone watches it and everyone back home is going to notice.”
At 6’1”, 185 lbs, Hibbler already has a college-ready frame at safety. His strength lies in his ability to come down to the line of scrimmage and be physical. Hibbler is not afraid to lay the lumber on running backs and tight ends. He has also shown the ability to consistently disrupt opposing pass catchers at the line of scrimmage with his physicality, allowing him to throw off an offense’s timing.
Hibbler is also a very versatile defender. His coaching staff trusted him to cover both tight ends and wide receivers alike in high school, but he can also be used as a rover that excels at tackling in the open field.
To become a reliable starter in the SEC, however, Hibbler will have to work on his straight-line speed and explosiveness. Winning at the line of scrimmage is great and all, but with the speed he will face in this conference, that will only take him so far.
Eli Drinkwitz landed five of the top eleven prospects in the state of Missouri during this 2021 recruiting cycle. Hibbler, Travion Ford, Connor Tollison, Mekhi Wingo, and others are looking to spearhead the new era of Missouri football as home-state heroes.