For a while now, I’ve tried to understand what the 2023 class could look like. The current sentiment is that there’s a strong possibility that Missouri takes a step back in recruiting.
Missouri’s staff has invested a lot of energy and resources into recruiting its in-state, in-area blue chips. Efforts for elite nationally ranked offensive lineman like Cayden Green and Miles McVay haven’t materialized. Their efforts recruiting a pair of elite edge prospects in Chandavian Bradley and PJ Adebawore didn’t ever really amount to anything serious.
They have reeled in a few highly ranked players in Brett Norfleet, Gabarri Thompson and Joshua Manning. That’s a really nice trio of high school players. Overall though, things probably haven’t went according to plan. However, the question is...
With many of their initial targets choosing programs, where does Missouri go from here?
Continue to search for mid to high 3-Stars
Missouri has quite a few offers out to players that fall into this category. This is traditionally the bread and butter of how Missouri’s football program has operated over the past 15-20 years and there’s no reason they can’t tap back into that well for a class heavy on developmental prospects.
They can continue to keep offering some of these guys who they consider to be underranked and undervalued by ranking services and opposing teams. There’s nothing at all wrong with this approach. There’s just some risk in it as well.
Players don’t pan out all the time and as a staff in todays era, you can always find room by pushing kids out the door but on the flip side, what if you sign a kid who’s undervalued as a high school player, he blows up after a year or two on campus and bounces in the portal? It’s a tough proposition nowadays.
Nowadays, every coach in America has begun the practice of saving at least a scholarship or two in case a need arises or if a particularly enticing player decides to pack his bags and hit the transfer portal. Like it or not, the transfer portal has obviously become a tool for coaches to fill in more immediate needs.
What if the plan is for you to sign more transfers, than high school prospects? This isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility. Just last cycle, Missouri signed 17 high school prospects to 12 transfers. Perhaps that number gets a little bit higher?
With roughly 13 scholarships remaining, you can probably earmark at least a couple of those for high school players but maybe the better idea is to take those scholarships to the portal where you can find players who can be that immediate help but players who also have already used their one free undergraduate transfer. This too comes with risk.
You may be able to think you can find what you need from the portal until other schools get involved and make it difficult for you. If you miss on a transfer, you’re essentially stuck with the player until he exhausts his eligibility or if he graduates. It’s all a very nuanced game that they’re playing here.
What I think they’ll do
I think Missouri will lean towards adding more players by transfer in this cycle. Said transfers may not overtake the amount of high school prospects, but to see that gap close even further seems more likely by the day. It’s important to remember that this isn’t a strategy that they probably want to be using, but hey, this is life when you’re depending on kids choosing your school.