This is your annual reminder that I am absolutely insane and keep track of fairly useless amounts of data about Missouri’s roster. And, instead of being a weird hoarder of this information, once a year I put it into an article for you to gaze upon, a fleeting moment to take a look at the makeup of this 2022 team. There’s lots of excitement about what the on-the-field product can be, yes, but aren’t you more excited about where they come from, the massive class imbalance, and the blue-chip ratios? I know I am!
Let’s start with the roster breakdown. Here’s the overview:
Let me break it down into the four subcategories here:
Per 247’s Bud Elliott, the blue-chip ratio tracks how well an individual team recruits over a four-year period. Teams who are able to consistently reel in recruiting classes of 4- and 5-star kids are able to field a team with enough athleticism to compete for national championships. It doesn’t mean the team is any good, mind you (think TEXAS), it just simply means their ceiling is high enough that they could hold their own against elite teams. The cutoff point is 50%, meaning at least 43 of a team’s 85 scholarship players are 4/5 star guys coming out of high school.
When I did this exercise in 2021, I pointed out that the 2020 roster had a 5% blue-chip ratio and the ‘21 version had an 11% BCR. I joked that we should expect ‘22 to be at 24% and then ‘23 to be at 53%, since Drinkwitz doubled the BCR in one year and clearly could continue doing so ad infinetum.
Heading into the ‘22 season your Missouri Tigers have a BCR of 21%, pretty dang close to my jokey 24% hypothesis.
Now, I’m fairly confident that he won’t get the BCR to anywhere near 50% by next year, but then again, he did double it in two consecutive years. He should at least get a lifetime achievement award for doing so, IMO.
We’re heading into our second year of managing super senior/graduate students on the roster and, well, the class balance is still pretty messy:
How much of this is a COVID-senior problem and how much of it is a transfer portal problem? No clue! It’ll take time to figure that aspect out as the transfer portal normalizes after being (probably) overutilized in the beginning and the super seniors cycle out of the sport but, as far as we can tell, the portal is here for good. It used to be that teams would have fewer players as they got older, so seniors would be maybe 10-15% of your roster while freshmen would be around 40-45%; now, the Junior and Sophomore classes combined equal the freshman class and neither class is as large as the Senior class! It’s much easier to add eligible players to a roster now than it was even three years ago but it is odd to see the uneven breakdown here.
Stars and Positions
Outside of tight end and offensive line, each position group has at least one blue chipper in it. I haven’t done the research but I honestly don’t need to: this is the most star talent a Missouri roster has had since the dawn of the recruiting service era. Going off of stars, the most talented position groups are the safeties (4) followed by the receivers (3, with a 5-star) and the defensive tackles (3). Do those positions seem to be the most talented to you?
What states are the Tigers drawing talent from?
At this time last year, Missouri (17), Texas (14), and Florida (7) were the top three contributing states of scholarship players to the Missouri football team. This year? Missouri’s lead has grown (23), the Texan contingent has shrunk but is solidly #2 (11), and eight Georgians have pushed the Peach State into #3, supplanting a mildly shrinking Florida contingent (6). If you think about the metro areas that the Tigers have been targeting these numbers make a lot of sense.
Here’s a visual representation of the areas that Missouri has drawn talent from to craft the 2022 roster:
The darker the circle means the more players the team is pulling from that specific zip code. And, as you can see, the dark areas continue to be the major metro areas you would want the Tigers to target: STL, DFW, ATL, plus a growing contribution from Houston, Chicago, and the middle reaches of Florida.
Overall -and to no one’s surprise - the roster is skewed heavily to states located in the SEC footprint since, as we all know, the most talented high school football talent tends to come from the southeastern United States.
So what’s the point of all this?
This piece is mostly just to act as a depository for my weird data hoarding, if we’re being frank. But also to give you a better idea of where the roster currently stands and provide a benchmark in order to watch as to how it evolves over time.
I’ll admit it: this is my favorite piece to write every year. I’m not sure if you all get anything out of it but I love deep diving on how a roster gets constructed and where the players come from.
The real question, at least for me, is whether the ever-increasing number of blue-chip recruits starts seeing the field this year. Drinkwitz has done the hard work of creating relationships, opening pipelines, and getting active with elite talent that previous regimes either couldn’t do reliably or wouldn’t do at all. And yet it’s Odom holdovers that are projected to see the majority of snaps across each unit. I’d love to see that hard recruiting work from the staff payoff and get the talent on the field, even if it’s unproven.