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Recruiting Reset: Can Daniel Kaelin be Missouri’s quarterback of the future?

Daniel Kaelin has the potential to be everything the Tigers need in Drinkwitz’s (or Kirby Moore’s?) offense.

Less than half of the top 30 pro-style quarterbacks in the country have committed. Three-star quarterabck Daniel Kaelin is the most recent among that group to commit, and he will be spending his college career at the University of Missouri.

This commitment was not a shock for those of you paying close attention to the visit lists. Kaelin has visited (at least) three times over the past couple years. The Bellevue, Nebraska native has clearly been one of the Tigers’ top targets in this class, and he has officially decided to end his recruitment, committing to the Tigers over offers from the likes of North Carolina, Colorado, Ole Miss and Illinois, among others. Kaelin is the third known commitment in the Tigers’ 2024 class, and the first from outside the state borders.

It’s nice for the Tigers to get their quarterback early in this class. Quarterbacks are often seen as an extra recruiter in a class, and getting Kaelin locked in early can’t do anything but help. For context on the timing, here’s when recent Mizzou quarterbacks committed to the Tigers:

  • 2020 class: Brady Cook - December 18, 2019
  • 2021 class: Tyler Macon - March 13, 2020
  • 2022 class: Sam Horn - February 28, 2021
  • 2023 class: Gabarri Johnson - May 8, 2022
  • 2024 class: Daniel Kaelin - March 13, 2023

It’s clear Drinkwitz likes locking his quarterback commits in as early as possible. I would be surprised if Missouri took another quarterback in this class. Kaelin is their guy. And now he’s a Tiger.

Where he fits: Well, at quarterback. But to speck to his ‘fit’ in Missouri’s offense, it’s a good one. He has the mobility that Connor Bazelak lacked after Bazelak’s knee injury. He also appears to have better ball placement and accuracy than we saw at times last year from Cook.

There’s a comparison for Kaelin’s playing style and ability that I couldn’t get out of my head as I was watching his film: Derek Carr. The former Las Vegas Raiders turned New Orleans Saints quarterback has a powerful arm when he chooses to use it, but what has always stood out about him is his ability to put the ball where it needs to go with timing and anticipation. Carr was listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds coming out of high school, and Kaelin is listed at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds.

If you’re familiar with Carr’s game, I think you can picture what Kaelin looks like on film, as well.

When he’ll play: Hahahahaha you really think I can predict how Missouri is going to utilize its quarterbacks? Yeah, right.

The Tigers currently have Brady Cook, Jake Garcia, Sam Horn and Gabarri Johnson on the roster. The overwhelming likelihood is one or two of those names will not be on the roster by the time Kaelin arrives on campus. That is not based on any reporting, but it’s how quarterback movement works in the transfer portal era. It’s the only position on the roster where one man gets the vast majority of the snaps, especially at Missouri. Drinkwitz names his quarterback and then he tends to stick with that quarterback come hell or high water.

What does that mean for Kaelin? Well, it depends entirely on what happens with the Tigers at quarterback this season, and it also depends on how Johnson translates to the college level. If Johnson pans out, well, it could take some time before we see Kaelin on the field. If he doesn’t, we could see Kaelin starting within the next couple of seasons. It’s impossible to predict. But having another talented option in the room is always a plus.

What it all means: It’s always good to get your top choice at quarterback, and it’s particularly appealing when that quarterback is ready to commit so early in the recruiting process. Kaelin has the chance to be an impact starter at the college level, and his time could come sooner rather than later depending on how things shake out at the position over the next couple seasons.