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Tracking Eli Drinkwitz on the recruiting trail

In the midst of a defensive coordinator search, Eli Drinkwitz has been making crootin’ visits. Let’s check in with who he’s talking to.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Missouri at Ohio State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

You’d think Eli Drinkwitz didn’t have bigger things on his mind.

The world of college football coaching is in total upheaval. Three of the four College Football Playoff contenders from earlier this month will start the 2024 season with new head coaches, including both teams that appeared in the National Championship. Coordinators and assistants are flipping like hot cakes. Future NFLers are switching teams left and right. Oh, and Mizzou still doesn’t have a defensive coordinator.

So what’s Eli Drinkwitz doing? It appears he’s doing what he does best in the cold winter months. Crootin’, baby.

In the midst of a DC search that is now entering its fourth week, Drinkwitz has been doing the rounds on the high school recruiting trail, doing work on making 2025 yet another celebrated class in Columbia, Mo. From the looks of it, Recruiting Coordinator and co-defensive coordinator (???) DJ Smith, Offensive Coordinator Kirby Moore and Running Backs Coach Curtis Luper have all joined him at one point or the other.

So where in the world is Eliah Drinkwitz? Who is he visiting? Let’s peruse his Twitter likes to find out what we can.

Jack Lange, Eureka (Eureka, Mo.)

Lange, a 6’8” tackle out of Eureka, is a consensus four-star recruit and, at this point in time, is considered a heavy Notre Dame lean. As one would expect from someone that size, Lange is a monstrous physical specimen who makes opposing defenders look straight up goofy (hyuck!) on his highlight reel. Mizzou will lose a lot of offensive linemen after the 2024 season, so the cupboard will need to be restocked.

Charles Bass III, East St. Louis High (East St. Louis, Ill.)

Can Drinkwitz continue the ESL-to-Mizzou pipeline with Bass? The senior is a four-star corner with size the Tigers like to have in the secondary — he’s 6’1” right now. He’s also physical for a high school corner, which is a trait fans will be familiar with from the recently NFL-bound Ennis Rakestraw. Like the offensive line, the secondary will graduate some key pieces after 2024 so playing time will be available if Bass wants to come to Columbia and impress immediately.

Jason King, Desmet (St. Louis, Mo.)

King is a three-star linebacker who also visited Mizzou during their most recent junior day festivities. The Tigers have been on him since last September and more recent offers include Tennessee, Iowa State and kansas. This feels like one of those situations where if the Tigers wanted to lock in a rising prospect out of St. Louis, they’d be well positioned to do so.

Isaiah Mozee, Lee’s Summit North (Lee’s Summit, Mo.)

Mozee is a consensus four-star receiver out of Lee’s Summit and is verging on a top 100 player depending on which recruiting publisher you prefer. Mozee has offers from just about every school that you could think of, though the Oregon header on his Twitter profile gives me some pause for concern. Watching Mozee’s tape is like watching Luther Burden out of high school, a shifty, fast receiver who gets the ball in open space and then makes everyone else look foolish. It will be a battle to secure his commitment, but the Tigers have proof positive of their receiver development and may put two pass-catchers in the league next season.

Jackson Cantwell, Nixa (Nixa, Mo.)

Here’s the biggie. Literally and figuratively.

Jackson Cantwell is a consensus top 5 player in the country and, by 247’s Composite, the best offensive lineman in the country. He’s 6’7.5” and 300 pounds right now and, as you may be surprised to hear, it’s not his size that pops on the tape. It’s his athleticism. He’s fast, twitchy and agile, everything you’d want out of a future SEC and NFL star.

The bad news is, like most consensus five-star players, everyone wants him. The good news is Cantwell, unlike the others on this list, is a member of the 2026 class. There will be time for the staff to develop good rapport with Cantwell, who is only a two-and-a-half hour drive away from campus.

Even better news? Cantwell has a family tie to Mizzou; his dad, Christian, is one of the most decorated track and field athletes in school history, an Olympian medalist and a world champion shot-putter. Who knows if it’ll be enough to reel in one of the top recruits in the country, but it’s not a bad start!

???, Dallas, Tx.

You want a peek behind the screen for a second? I actually started to tally up the number of 2025 offers that have gone out to kids within 30 minutes of Dallas-Fort Worth. I stopped counting after 7 or 8, and I’d only made it to the offensive linemen.

It’s not surprising that Drinkwitz and Luper are making regular visits to the Lone Star State. It’s a talent rich area and one that has been a gold mine for the Tigers long before Drinkwitz showed up. Mizzou always brings about half a dozen or so players up north from Texas, so it should be no surprise that the staff is making the area a priority early on.