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Recruiting Reset: Missouri adds another athlete to its secondary in Austyn Dendy

The Tigers are adding another athlete from Arkansas to the mix.

Missouri is ready to add all of the defensive backs. That appears to be the message from Missouri’s 2024 recruiting class. The Tigers have already added Jude James, Cameron Keys and Jackson Hancock. It seems like Cam Dooley most likely position in college is somewhere in the secondary.

And now, you can add Austyn Dendy’s name to the list. The 3-star athlete out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas committed to the Tigers this past weekend over a top 3 list that included Ole Miss and Tulsa.

Dendy plays safety, running back and wide receiver in high school, but he said in an interview this past spring that he believes he’ll ultimately land at safety in college. He is the 15th known commitment in Missouri’s 2024 recruiting class, and the second known commit from Arkansas, joining 4-star linebacker Brian Huff.

It’s worth noting Dendy was teammates with current Missouri tight end Jordon Harris in both football and basketball last year at Pine Bluff. The duo helped Pine Bluff win a state title in basketball last year, the first for Pine Bluff since 2015.

Arkansas hasn’t exactly been a hot bed for Missouri recruiting over the years, but the Tigers aren’t strangers to the area. Some recent notable Mizzou players from Arkansas include Akial Byers, Damarea Crockett and Markell Utsey. Dendy hopes to add his name to that list in the future.

Where he fits: It sure sounds like Dendy’s future position will be on the defensive side of the ball, but it’s hard to say with any certainty. His high school film primarily features highlights of his work at wide receiver. One thing that pops off the screen is his fluid athleticism. You can see his basketball background. He looks like the best athlete on the field. It could take some time for that to translate to the college level, but taking a chance on a 6-foot-1 athlete with a self-reported 4.4 40 is probably a bet worth making.

When he’ll play: Good luck sorting through Missouri’s options in the secondary in future years. Missouri could return Jaylon Carlies, Tre’Vez Johnson, Sidney Williams, Daylan Carnell, Tyler Hibbler, Isaac Thompson, Phillip Roche and Marvin Burks next year at safety. You might add Keys, Hancock, James, Dooley and Dendy to the group. You can never rule out a transfer (or two), either.

So, yeah, that’s a lot of names for three spots. Getting on the field early and often probably isn’t in the cards for Dendy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Missouri has done a good job in recent classes of adding instant impact players at specific positions, and backfilling that group with long-term projects with the potential to be starters down the road. That’s a good way to build for the now, and also for the future.

What it all means: The Tigers added another safety to a defensive back room that seems to be full of long and athletic players. That’s the theme for Blake Baker’s defense. Get as many athletes on the field as humanly possible, and the rest will work itself out.