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What Eli Drinkwitz had to say: Early National Signing Day edition

Eli Drinkwitz had some positive thoughts to share after locking up this year’s recruiting class.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday is a big day for the college football landscape as it is the Early National Signing Day. Mizzou signed 20 players to its recruiting class. The Tigers recruiting class ranks 23rd in the nation according to 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals, and On3 sports. Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz was made available to the media on Wednesday afternoon giving his thoughts about this year’s recruiting class.


Missouri head football coach Eli Drinkwitz

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday’s events: “We’re very excited about what transpired today. We had a top 25 recruiting class for the third time in four years and [that’s] only been done two times in the previous 20 years.”

The qualities that the group brings to the team: “I think these are all guys that are competitors. They all looked at Missouri as an opportunity to compete. They weren’t afraid of the competition. They embrace the competition, not only the competition of the SEC, but the competition on our roster. They wanted to join the brotherhood.”

On the incoming edge rusher group: “We signed three defensive ends, one five-star, two four-stars. We know in this league you have to win at the line of scrimmage and look forward to Williams (Nwaneri), Elias (Williams) and Jaylen Brown really being the future of D-Line Zou.”

On the incoming linebacker group: “I really feel strongly about our linebacker corps, the guys we were able to sign there with Nick Rodriguez and Brian Huff. Both of those guys are elite players. Both of those guys are going to come in and be able to contribute and find a role whether that’s through special teams. They both have great size and instincts... I’m really excited about Nick’s leadership capabilities.”

On the incoming cornerback group: “We signed two four-star corners. We’re graduating two elite corners at that position. We got to continue to bring depth. [I’m] very excited about Cameron Keys and Jaren Sensabaugh. I think they’ll really help us.”

Words on quarterback Aidan Glover, a 3-star from Memphis, Tennessee: “Aidan Glover, our quarterback, I can’t say enough positive things about him and what his development will be under coach (Kirby) Moore and his offense.”

On the incoming wide receiver group: “Wide receivers, NWO [Nasty Wideouts], is strong. It’s alive and well with coach [Jacob] Peeler with James Madison and Courtney Crutchfield, two guys I think will come in and compete.”

On the incoming offensive linemen: “We signed four offensive linemen including the top-rated junior college offensive tackle in Jayven Richardson. All those guys will be here in January, which I think is very exciting for our program... Coach (Brandon) Jones can start teaching the fundamentals and technique to give them a chance to play early.”

On Williams Nwaneri’s commitment: “He’s been an oak. I never once worried about him. Not one time... I think Williams, when he made his commitment in August, I don’t think he even kind of wavered, contrary to what other people might have reported on Twitter.”

On how the past weeks of recruiting has been: “I think I said in here thank God for caffeine and private planes. I think there was a day last week within a 48-hour period or I guess would be a 36-hour period, I had eight visits.”

“Not all were in their homes but coffees, lunch, schools you know all the way from a couple in Atlanta down to see Elias to Fort Lauderdale and back up to some other places that I can’t speak on just yet, but it’s been busy.”

On getting running back Kewan Lacy: “I thought we had a really good opportunity there. It was going to be us and two other schools. One of those schools and their head coach came in on Thursday and Kewan told us that he wasn’t going to go on an official visit to that school, and that he was done and was going to have a decision within that week and so we felt pretty good about it.”

More on Lacy: “We’re very, very excited to get him. He’s got electric speed, great vision, tough runner, just a dynamic football player with the ball in his hands. I think he sees and opportunity for us, with our team with two seniors graduating the opportunity to come in and earn playing time.”

On where Jude James and Austyn Dendy could play: “Jude for us could play either the H-position or the linebacker, nickel position. We feel he could be a four-team special teams guy as a freshman.”

“With Austyn, he has versatility at both the running back position, wide receiver position or in the secondary at the safety position, we play with three different safeties.”

Is this the most fun Drinkwitz has had coaching? “I told the team by middle October this is the most fun I had coaching football, and I really believe that. It was just the right mix right now. There’s a lot of really good stuff going on within our program, within the players and you don’t take that for granted.”

“It’s such a joy coaching guys like Cody Schrader and Xavier Delgado and Javon Foster and Bence Polgar and Marcellus Johnson and Shawn Hendershot, The Thiccer Kicker, you know, Kris Abrams-Draine, Chad Bailey and watching Ty’Ron Hopper’s journey, Ennis Rakestraw’s journey. Marquis Johnson, it’s been really fun coaching him and seeing him grow and develop as a true freshman.”

On the future of Blake Baker and Kirby Moore: “Things change all the time in college football, so you never know. But I feel confident they’ll both call plays in the bowl.”