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Mizzou 2024 Recruiting Superlatives: The Late Bloomer

He may not get a chance to shine early on, but the Tigers have a future star in the WR room that will bide his time.

Amidst all of the chaos of the transfer portal, the high school recruiting calendar also takes center stage in December. With the Early National Signing Day happening on Dec. 21, many classes from programs across the nation are already beginning to take shape.

Attempting to discern what positions are truly a need from the high school ranks has become even more challenging given the ebs and flows of the portal, but high school recruiting will always remain the backbone of any strong program and will continue to be a major industry in the sport.

For instance, Mizzou saw freshmen such as Brett Norfleet, Marvin Burks Jr., Marquis Johnson and Daniel Blood all play significant snaps on an experienced Tigers roster in 2023. This has become a program that puts the most talented and reliable players on the field regardless of experience, meaning that there is always potential for youngsters to see significant playing time.

This ‘24 class may not quite resemble the highly-touted ones from ‘21 and ‘22, but there are still plenty of noteworthy prospects that have the potential to be major contributors. In this series, I’ll be dealing out a handful of superlatives so Tiger fans can better get to know their new players:

The Late Bloomer: James Madison II

6-foot-3 | 190 lbs. | Wide Receiver

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fl. (St. Thomas Aquinas High School

247 Sports Rating: 4-star (No. 64 WR in the country, No. 428 overall)

Former Tiger Comparison: J’Mon Moore (2014-2017)

The President has made his name well-known not only because of his play on the field but also because of his well-documented recruiting efforts after he pledged to join the Tigers last July 4th.

Madison II has been vocal in his attempts to draw other big-name recruits to Columbia and has shown great enthusiasm for the program and its future. The fan base has responded in suit, latching on to his noteworthy name and showering him with nicknames and internet memes alike.

I place Madison as a “late bloomer” in this class not because he wouldn’t be able to step in and contribute right away. Based on what Marquis Johnson did this past season as a true freshman with a similar skillset, I’d venture to say that Madison could have that kind of impact in year one.

He earned this superlative simply because of how crowded the wide receiver room has become. In his first season, Madison will play behind Luther Burden III, Theo Wease, Mookie Cooper, Mekhi Miller, Marquis Johnson, Daniel Blood, Joshua Manning and Ja’Morion Wayne. That doesn’t account for any transfer portal additions.

Fast forward a year from that point. Madison will be a seasoned sophomore, but Johnson, Blood, Manning, Wayne and potentially Miller would all still be on the roster, again not counting transfer portal additions.

He can and likely will be a contributor throughout his first two years on campus. If we learned anything from Kirby Moore in his first season at the helm of the offense, it’s that he’s not afraid to trust someone no matter how experienced they are.

I just can’t see Madison emerging into a consistent starter until his junior year. And that’s perfectly fine. Building that kind of depth is exactly what Eliah Drinkwitz sought to do when he arrived in Columbia, and having highly-touted recruits step up as upperclassmen is exactly how many of CFB’s dynasties have remained so consistent.

And, the St. Thomas Aquinas-product has all of the tools to become a star. The height is a plus, but a 6-foot-8 wingspan is also a really impressive physical attribute to have, especially as a WR. Combine that with long strides that eat up yards and you’ve got a receiver with a top-tier catch radius. Then, add on great speed and surprising elusiveness in the open field and you’ve got a versatile threat.

With some added weight, Madison could be a true difference maker in the SEC.

I compare Madison to J’Mon Moore not only because they both stand at 6-foot-3 and are dangerous at any level of the field, but also because Moore filled out later in his career and enjoyed back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons as an upperclassman. The President can follow a similar path.