Apparently, back when Missouri landed the commitment of Louisiana defensive end Chris Turner, many folks missed a second commitment from 6’5, 185 pound wide receiver Elijah Gardiner from Kemp, Texas (area code: 903).
Great Week for SHOWME2017! Added CHARACTER, HARD WORK, SPEED, FLASH, & LENGTH to the class! Welcome the 985 & 903 to the family! pic.twitter.com/nnYlje5tJq— ShowMe17 (@MizzouShowMe17) November 14, 2016
Mizzou linebacker Jamal Brooks tried to tell us.
247 sports has Gardiner listed on their website as having committed on November 7th. He’s currently unranked and unlisted on Rivals and Scout.
Last night, receivers coach Andy Hill had an in-home visit with Gardiner. You can tell he’s very close to that listed 6’5 height. Reminds me of another very tall Texas 2-star that had a successful Mizzou career.
If you watch his highlight film above it’s easy to fall in love with his long strides and easy acceleration, plus his huge catch radius.
There’s been back and forth news about whether East St. Louis blue-chip receiver Jeff Thomas does or doesn’t have Mizzou in consideration.
To those who didn't believe me the first time, East St. Louis WR Jeff Thomas has no interest in going to Mizzou. Not on his radar at all.— Steve Overbey (@overbey13) November 27, 2016
Thomas told the Chicago Tribune,
"We have like six or seven players there (from East St. Louis)," Thomas said, "and they don't get (much) playing time."
Some might point out that Terry Beckner Jr. was recovering from an ACL injury and then suffered another one in Missouri’s loss to Middle Tennessee State. JUCO RB Nate Strong was hobbled by an ankle injury after being a late summer addition to Missouri’s roster and needing to get familiar with the program - to say nothing of the fact he was behind incumbent starter Ish Witter and 1,000 yard rusher Damarea Crockett. Freshman lineman Tre’Vour Simms saw playing time throughout the season, mostly in specialty situations but the staff is clearly very high on him. It’s true JUCO safety Greg Taylor did not see the field.
ESL coach Darren Sunkett spoke on Jeff Thomas:
There’s a sentiment among some fans that Missouri could stand to pass on Jeff Thomas considering the 2017 class consists of Jafar Armstrong, Roderick Ford, the aforementioned Elijah Gardiner and blue-chipper Da’Ron Davis.
The next Mizzou game I will actually be suiting up— Da'Ron Davis1️⃣ (@DaRon_Davis1) November 26, 2016
Additionally, Missouri will be returning every receiver from the 2016 season (barring transfers), so a path to play time may be difficult to navigate behind the dynamic Johnathan Johnson and Dimetrious Mason.
An argument could be made that Missouri’s resources could be better spent prioritizing recruiting battles against lesser competition and at positions of greater need - for example: at interior defensive line.
Mr. Football and State Titles
Missouri linebacker commit Aubrey Miller was named “Mr. Football” in Tennessee’s 6A division. If Missouri can keep his commitment, the Tiger’s defense has a dynamic play-maker waiting in the wings.
Meanwhile, Mizzou commit Jafar Armstrong is pretty good.
Jafar Armstrong of Miege finished career w/ 172 catches 3,744 yards receiving w/ 45 TD (state record) w/ 3 consecutive 4A-I state titles. pic.twitter.com/74kYZo6BZl— Sports in Kansas (@sportsinkansas) November 28, 2016