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A 50-50 Proposition: Missouri football signing classes and collegiate achievement

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If you’re a Tigers football signee, you have about a 52-percent chance of ever starting a game at Missouri.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri
Will you, Dimetrios Mason, become one of the about 2 percent of Missouri signees in recent vintage to be a four-year starter?
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

What am I, if not a self-plagiarizer?

Less than a year after moving to this fair burg, I set out to document the likelihood that any given signee in a Missouri football signing class would reach certain levels of achievement with the Tigers.

Player, starter, three-year starter, All-Conference, All-American, draft pick, that kind of thing. I started this database at the Columbia Daily Tribune and began with the class of 2002, since it was Gary Pinkel’s first full class as head coach and the first year of the ever-helpful Rivals.com database.

Why not continue it here?

The whole point behind this thought exercise, coming a little less than two months before signing day is to try and show how truly crucial every part of a signing class is.

So when fans gnash their teeth about every visit, commit, near-commit, de-commit and the sort, they can know that only a little more than half of every recruiting class at Missouri — at least over the course of this study — ever end up starting a game for the Tigers.

Only 31 percent become multi-year starters.

Only 18 percent become All-Conference players.

I guess the thesis statement would be that, while signing classes are important, obsessing over every. single. commit. is a bit of an exercise in futility.

And on that cheery note, some programming information before we get started:

  • Only classes that have had at least five years to percolate are included in the likelihood percentages. The 2012 class is the most recent one included, as all of its redshirt seniors have moved on. We included more recent classes (2013-16) in the study so you can take a look at how they’re shaping up, but they don’t factor into the probability percentages.
  • A "starter" is defined as someone who started at least half of the team's games in a given season. This year, for example, Thomas Wilson, Anthony Sherrils and Cam Hilton all were "starters." Damarea Crockett, Eric Beisel and Cale Garrett were not. At least for our purposes. This leads to odd quirks like Chase Coffman being a three-time all-conference performer, yet only a one-year starter.
  • A "spot starter" is anyone who has ever started a game, but never started at least half of them in a season. Yes, I realize someone who started one game in his career isn't exactly a "spot starter," but he started in a spot. So let’s get literal with it.
  • "Played" means just that. If you played at least one regular-season game in a Missouri uniform, you fall into that category.
  • Specialists were not counted as starters, even if they handled the team's primary kicking or punting duties. They are not technically starters. Look at a participation report.
  • All-Conference selections were determined as first- or second-team choices by either the coaches or the Associated Press. All-America selections were determined based on the five teams officially recognized by the NCAA.
  • Players who began their careers as walk-ons were not included in the study, as they were not technically part of signing classes. Sorry, Adam Ploudre, Max Copeland, Randy Ponder and Colin Brown.
  • Players who signed out of high school, didn't qualify, then were signed again out of junior college were counted in the second signing. They were still used in the class count from the first signing year as well, as it was ostensibly still a signing spot taken up by a player who did not become a part of that class.
  • Players who transferred in are not counted, as they were not part of the signing classes for ranking purposes on Rivals. Sorry, Chris Black and Alex Ross.
  • "Class record" is determined by the team's record in the five seasons after the signing class came in.

So, knowing all that...

Of the 250 players Missouri signed from 2002 to 2012, here is the percent likelihood that a player would...

  • Play in at least one game: 80.0 (200)
  • Start at least one game: 52.4 (131)
  • Be a starter for at least a year: 45.6 (114)
  • Be a multi-year starter: 31.2 (78)
  • Be a three-year starter: 14.0 (35)
  • Be a four-year starter: 2.00 (5)
  • Be an All-Conference player: 18.4 (46)
  • Be a two-time All-Conference player: 4.40 (11)
  • Be a three-time All-Conference player: 0.80 (2)
  • Be an All-American: 2.80 (7)
  • Be a two-time All-American: 0.40 (1)

To be updated in the spring...)

  • Get drafted: 10.8 (27)
  • Get drafted in the first round: 2.80 (7)

————--

Which classes represent the top and bottom of the spectrum for each category?

Win Percentage -- Best: 2006 (.727); Worst: 2002 (.550)

Percent Played -- Best: 2008 (.913); Worst: 2004 (.600)

Percent Started — Best: 2008 (.826); Worst: 2004 (.320)

Percent Multi-Year Starters — Best: 2005 (.522); Worst: 2004 (.200)

Percent All-Conference -- Best: 2010 (.304); Worst: 2004 (.080)

Percent All-America -- Best: 2006 (.083); Worst: 2012, 2010, 2007, 2004, 2002 (.000)

Percent Draft Picks -- Best: 2011 (.235); Worst: 2007 (.037)

Rivals.com National Rank — Best: 2010 (21st); Worst: 2011 (48th)

———-—

So how do the as-of-yet-unfinished classes look like they’re stacking up?

There are still three players (Drew Lock, Dimetrios Mason and Johnathon Johnson) alive to join the 2-percent fraternity of four-year starters.

The 2016 class has already had a very solid 59.1 percent play and 18.2 percent start after only one year. Already creeping up on 2004 in those departments with four years still to build.

The 2015 class will top 2008 in percent played once it gets through, as 22 of 24 (91.7 percent) have seen the field. Only 37.5 percent have started a game, but the class still has 12 players around that can add to that total.

The 2014 class is off to a slightly below average start, with 78.6 percent of the class ever playing in a game and 46.4 percent ever starting one. With the players still around, that second number can only ever get as high as 64.3 percent as well. That’s the high-water mark.

2013 is top loaded with three All-Conference players (Charles Harris, J’Mon Moore, Aarion Penton) and has a slightly above-average proportion of starters (57.1), but could end up down with 2002 and 2012 (.578) as far as overall win percentage.

Speaking of...2014 through 2016 aren’t off to great starts in that department either.


Since you’ve been good ladies and gents, here’s a year-by-year breakdown:

2016

Class Size: 22

Rivals.com National Rank: 46th

One-Year Starter (1): WR Dimetrios Mason (2-star)

Spot Starter (3): RB Damarea Crockett (4-star); CB DeMarkus Acy (3-star); LB Cale Garrett (3-star)

Played, Not Started (9): RB Nate Strong (4-star); WR Dominic Collins (3-star); K Tucker McCann (3-star); OL Kyle Mitchell (3-star); OL Tre’Vour Simms (3-star); S Greg Taylor (3-star); LB Trey Baldwin (2-star); CB Christian Holmes (2-star); DT Markell Utsey (2-star)

One-Year Record: 4-8 (.333)

-----------------------------------------

2015

Class Size: 24

Rivals.com National Rank: 27th

Two-Year Starter (1): QB Drew Lock (4-star)

One-Year Starter (4): WR Emanuel Hall (3-star); S Cam Hilton (3-star); Tyler Howell (3-star); WR Johnathon Johnson (3-star)

Spot Starter (4): DT Terry Beckner Jr. (4-star); DE Marcell Frazier (3-star); S Ronnell Perkins (3-star); CB T.J. Warren (3-star)

Played, Not Started (13): RB Chase Abbington (4-star); LB Franklin Agbasimere (3-star); OL Malik Cuellar (3-star); P Corey Fatony (3-star); WR Richaud Floyd (3-star); LB Terez Hall (3-star); OL A.J. Harris (3-star); CB Anthony Hines (3-star); DE Nate Howard (3-star); DT Tyrell Jacobs (3-star); DT Josh Moore (3-star); WR Justin Smith (3-star); RB Ryan Williams (3-star)

Two-Year Record: 9-15 (.375)

-----------------------------------------

2014

Class Size: 28

Rivals.com National Rank: 34th

Two-Year Starter (1): CB Kenya Dennis (3-star)

One-Year Starter (7): WR Nate Brown (4-star); OL Paul Adams (3-star); OL Kevin Pendleton (3-star); S Thomas Wilson (3-star); RB Ish Witter (3-star); OL Samson Bailey (2-star); DE Walter Brady (2-star)

Spot Starter (5): CB Logan Cheadle (3-star); LB Brandon Lee (3-star); DE Spencer Williams (3-star); TE Kendall Blanton (2-star); WR Keyon Dilosa (2-star)

Played, Not Started (9): WR DeSean Blair (3-star); LB Grant Jones (3-star); WR Lawrence Lee (3-star); WR Thomas Richard (3-star); S Tavon Ross (3-star); WR Ray Wingo (3-star); QB Marvin Zanders (3-star); OL Mike Fairchild (2-star); CB Finis Stribling IV (2-star)

Three-Year Record: 20-18 (.526)

-----------------------------------------

2013

Class Size: 21

Rivals.com National Rank: 41st

Three-Year Starter (1): CB Aarion Penton (3-star)

Two-Year Starter (3): WR J'Mon Moore (3-star); S Anthony Sherrils (3-star); DE Charles Harris (2-star)

One-Year Starter (6): OL Alec Abeln (3-star); DT Josh Augusta (3-star); LB Joey Burkett (3-star); OL Nate Crawford (3-star); DT A.J. Logan (3-star); S Duron Singleton (3-star)

Spot Starter (2): LB Eric Beisel (3-star); TE Jason Reese (3-star);

Played, not started (4): DE Marcus Loud (3-star); QB Eddie Printz (3-star); OL Clay Rhodes (3-star); S Shaun Rupert (3-star)

Two-Time All-Conference: Harris

All-Conference: Moore, Penton

Four-year Record: 32-20 (.615)

-----------------------------------------

2012

Class Size: 19

Rivals.com National Rank: 31st

Four-year Starter (1, 5.26%): OL Evan Boehm (4-star)

Three-year Starter (2, 10.5%): TE Sean Culkin (3-star); LB Michael Scherer (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 10.5%): DE Rickey Hatley (3-star); LB Donavin Newsom (3-star)

One-year Starter (6, 31.6%): WR Dorial Green-Beckham (5-star); CB John Gibson (3-star); DE Markus Golden (3-star); RB Russell Hansbrough (3-star); QB Maty Mauk (3-star); DT Harold Brantley (2-star)

Played, not started (5, 26.3%): WR Levi Copelin (3-star); RB Morgan Steward (3-star); S Chaston Ward (3-star); OL Jordan Williams (3-star); DT Evan Winston (3-star)

Percent Started: 57.9

Percent Played: 84.2

All-Conference: Golden, Green-Beckham

Draft Picks: Boehm, Golden, Green-Beckham

Class Record: 37-27 (.578)

-----------------------------------------

2011

Class Size: 17

Rivals.com National Rank: 48th

Three-year Starter (2, 11.8%): LB Kentrell Brothers (3-star); OL Connor McGovern (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 11.8%): OL Taylor Chappell (3-star); S Ian Simon (3-star)

One-year Starter (4, 23.5%): DT Sheldon Richardson (4-star); WR Wesley Leftwich (3-star); OL Brad McNulty (3-star); DE Shane Ray (3-star)

Spot Starter (4, 23.5%): QB Corbin Berkstresser (3-star); S Cortland Browning (3-star); LB Clarence Green (3-star)

Played, not started (3, 17.6%): OL Michael Boddie (3-star); CB David Johnson (3-star); CB Ernest Payton (3-star)

Percent Started: 70.6

Percent Played: 88.2

All-America: Ray

Two-Time All-Conference: Brothers

All-Conference: Richardson, Ray

First-Round Draft Picks: Ray, Richardson

Other Draft Picks: Brothers, McGovern

Class Record: 41-24 (.631)

-----------------------------------------

2010

Class Size: 23

Rivals.com National Rank: 21st

Three-year Starter (6, 26.1%): QB James Franklin (4-star); CB E.J. Gaines (3-star); DT Matt Hoch (3-star); OL Mitch Morse (3-star); WR Bud Sasser (3-star); S Braylon Webb (3-star)

Two-year Starter (4, 17.4%): DE Kony Ealy (4-star); WR Marcus Lucas (4-star); RB Henry Josey (3-star); DT Lucas Vincent (3-star)

One-year Starter (4, 17.4%): WR Jimmie Hunt (4-star); RB Marcus Murphy (3-star); S Kenronte Walker (3-star); TE Eric Waters (3-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.3%): OL Anthony Gatti (3-star)

Played, not started (5, 21.7%): OL Nick Demien (4-star); S Daniel Easterly (3-star); LB Darvin Ruise (3-star); CB Xavier Smith (3-star); RB Greg White (3-star)

Percent Started: 65.2

Percent Played: 87.0

Two-time All-Conference: Gaines, Murphy

All-Conference: Ealy, Josey, Morse, Sasser, Webb

Draft Picks: Ealy, Gaines, Morse, Murphy, Sasser

Class Record: 46-20 (.697)

-----------------------------------------

2009

Class Size: 25

Rivals.com National Rank: 40th

Three-year Starter (3, 12%): WR T.J. Moe (3-star); LB Andrew Wilson (3-star); OL Justin Britt (2-star)

Two-year Starter (3, 12%): S Jarrell Harrison (3-star); DE Michael Sam (2-star); WR L’Damian Washington (2-star)

One-year Starter (5, 20%): RB Kendial Lawrence (3-star); OL Jack Meiners (3-star); S Jasper Simmons (3-star); LB Donovan Bonner (2-star); S Matt White (2-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4%): DE Brayden Burnett (3-star)

Played, not started (9, 36%): LB Josh Tatum (4-star); LB Adam Burton (3-star); WR Jaleel Clark (3-star); OL Chris Freeman (3-star); QB Ashton Glaser (3-star); WR Kerwin Stricker (3-star); S Tavon Bolden (2-star); DT Marvin Foster (2-star); OL Mark Hill (2-star)

Percent Started*: 48.0

Percent Played*: 84.0

All-America: Sam

All-Conference: Moe, Wilson, Britt, Sam

Other Draft Picks: Britt, Sam

Class Record: 43-22 (.662)

* — Richardson counted with 2011 class

-----------------------------------------

2008

Class Size: 23

Rivals.com National Rank: 25th

Three-year Starter (4, 17.4%): OL Dan Hoch (4-star); LB Will Ebner (3-star); LB Zaviar Gooden (3-star); WR Wes Kemp (3-star)

Two-year Starter (7, 30.4%): QB Blaine Gabbert (5-star); CB Kip Edwards (3-star); S Kenji Jackson (3-star); DE Aldon Smith (3-star); DE Jacquies Smith (3-star); TE Michael Egnew (2-star); WR Jerrell Jackson (2-star)

One-year Starter (5, 21.7%): TE Andrew Jones (4-star); DE Brad Madison (3-star); OL Travis Ruth (3-star); DT Jimmy Burge (2-star); LB Brian Coulter (JUCO transfer)

Spot Starter (3, 13.0%): WR Gahn McGaffie (3-star); CB Robert Steeples (3-star); WR Rolandis Woodland (3-star)

Played, not started (2, 8%): DT George White (3-star); DE Marcus Malbrough (2-star)

Percent Started: 82.6

Percent Played: 91.3

All-America: Egnew

Two-time All-Conference: J.Smith, Egnew

All-Conference: Hoch, Madison, A. Smith

First-Round Draft Picks: Gabbert, A. Smith

Other Draft Picks: Gooden, Egnew

Class Record: 41-24 (.631)

-----------------------------------------

2007

Class Size: 27

Rivals.com National Rank: 33rd

Four-year Starter (2, 7.4%): OL Elvis Fisher (3-star); CB Carl Gettis (3-star)

Three-year Starter (2, 7.4%): DT Dominique Hamilton (3-star); OL Austin Wuebbels (3-star)

Two-year Starter (6, 22.2%): RB Derrick Washington (4-star); S Justin Garrett (3-star); LB Luke Lambert (3-star); OL Jayson Palmgren (3-star); DT Terrell Resonno (3-star); LB Andrew Gachkar (2-star)

One-year Starter (1, 3.7%): RB De’Vion Moore (3-star)

Spot Starter (2, 7.4%): CB Trey Hobson (3-star); CB Tremane Vaughns (3-star)

Played, not started (8, 29.6%): DE Michael Keck (4-star); DT Andy Maples (4-star); RB Gilbert Moye (4-star); OL J.T. Beasley (3-star); DE Jaysen Corbett (3-star); DT Chris Earnhardt (3-star); LB Tyler Crane (2-star); P Jake Harry (2-star)

Percent Started*: 48.1

Percent Played*: 77.8

All-Conference: Washington, Hamilton, Lambert, Wuebbels, Gachkar

Draft Picks: Gachkar

Class Record: 48-19 (.716)

* — White, Woodland counted with 2008 class

-----------------------------------------

2006

Class Size: 24

Rivals.com National Rank: 47th

Three-year Starter (2, 8.3%): OL Tim Barnes (3-star); LB Sean Weatherspoon (2-star)

Two-year Starter (4, 16.7%): WR Jeremy Maclin (4-star); WR Jared Perry (3-star); CB Kevin Rutland (3-star); DE Tommy Chavis (2-star)

One-year Starter (3, 12.5%): CB Castine Bridges (3-star); S Pig Brown (3-star); WR Danario Alexander (2-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.2%): S Del Howard (3-star)

Played, not started (7, 29.2%): DL Bart Coslet (3-star); DE John Stull (3-star); LB Marquis Booker (2-star); OL Mike Prince (2-star); CB Paul Simpson (2-star); WR La’Roderick Thomas (2-star); DT Charles Gaines (JUCO transfer)

Percent Started*: 41.7

Percent Played*: 70.8

Two-time All-America: Maclin

All-America: Alexander

Three-time All-Conference: Weatherspoon

Two-time All-Conference: Maclin

All-Conference: Brown, Alexander

First-Round Draft Picks: Maclin, Weatherspoon

Class Record: 48-18 (.727)

* — Vaughns counted with 2007 class

-----------------------------------------

2005

Class Size: 23

Rivals.com National Rank: 39th

Three-year Starter (4, 17.4%): LB Brock Christopher (3-star); QB Chase Daniel (3-star); OL Kurtis Gregory (3-star); DT Ziggy Hood (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 8.7%): CB Darnell Terrell (4-star); DT Jaron Baston (3-star)

One-year Starter (3, 13%): TE Chase Coffman (3-star); S Hardy Ricks (3-star); DT Jamar Smith (3-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.3%): DT DeMarcus Scott (3-star)

Played, not started (9, 39.1%): DE Tarell Corby (3-star); LB Connell Davis (3-star); DE Chad Marshall (3-star); OL Louis Pintola (3-star); OL Matt Russell (3-star); OL James Stigall (3-star); LB Chad Washington (3-star); OL Dain Wise (3-star); TE Jon Gissinger (2-star)

Percent Started: 43.4

Percent Played: 82.6

All-America: Coffman

Three-time All-Conference: Coffman

Two-time All-Conference: Daniel, Gregory

All-Conference: Baston, Hood

First-Round Draft Picks: Hood

Other Draft Picks: Coffman

Class Record: 45-20 (.692)

-----------------------------------------

2004

Class Size: 25

Rivals.com National Rank: 46th

Three-year Starter (3, 12%): WR William Franklin (3-star); OL Ryan Madison (2-star); DE Stryker Sulak (2-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 8%): HB Tony Temple (4-star); S William Moore (3-star)

One-year Starter (1, 4%): LB Van Alexander (4-star)

Spot Starter (2, 8%): WR Earl Goldsmith (2-star); CB Domonique Johnson (2-star)

Played, not started (7, 28%): WR Jerrill Humphrey (4-star); QB Chase Patton (4-star); TE Brian Barmann (2-star); S Mack Breed (2-star); RB Jimmy Jackson (2-star); LB Steve Redmond (2-star); CB Trenile Washington (2-star)

Percent Started: 32.0

Percent Played: 60.0

Two-time All-Conference: Moore, Sulak

Draft Picks: Franklin, Moore, Sulak

Class Record: 42-21 (.667)

-----------------------------------------

2003

Class Size: 22

Rivals.com National Rank: 28th

Four-year Starter (2, 9.1%): TE Martin Rucker (3-star); OL Adam Spieker (3-star)

Three-year Starter (3, 13.6%): OL Tyler Luellen (4-star); WR Brad Ekwereku (3-star); DT Lorenzo Williams (3-star)

Two-year Starter (2, 9.1%): DE Xzavie Jackson (3-star); S Nino Williams (3-star)

One-year Starter (3, 13.6%): RB Damien Nash (4-star); RB Marcus Woods (3-star); OL Monte Wyrick (2-star)

Spot Starter (1, 4.5%): TE Victor Sesay (3-star)

Played, not started (5, 23.8%): DL Josh Barbo (4-star); WR Greg Bracey (3-star); WR Jason Ray (3-star); OL Phinney Troy (2-star); CB Alex Woodley (2-star)

Percent Started: 50.0

Percent Played: 72.7

All-America: Rucker

Two-time All-Conference: Rucker

All-Conference: Luellen, Spieker, Williams

Draft Picks: Nash, Rucker

Class Record: 40-22 (.645)

-----------------------------------------

2002

Class Size: 22

Rivals.com National Rank: 29th

Three-year Starter (3, 13.6%): DT Atiyyah Ellison (4-star); LB Dedrick Harrington (4-star); DE Brian Smith (3-star)

Two-year Starter (5, 22.7%): LB Marcus Bacon (3-star); OL Joel Clinger (3-star); S David Overstreet (3-star); DE Zach Ville (3-star); OL Mike Cook (2-star)

One-year Starter (1, 4.5%): OL Steven Sanchez (3-star)

Played, not started (10, 45.5%): DL Fabian Bean (4-star); RB Mario Whitney (4-star); QB Brandon Coleman (3-star); S Josh Hibbets (3-star); LB Emmett Morris (3-star); K Alex Pettersen (3-star); LB Mau Uiagalelei (3-star); P Todd Gohsler (2-star); TE DeQuincy Howard (2-star); OL Phil Tizzio (2-star)

Percent Started: 40.9

Percent Played: 86.4

All-Conference: Ellison, Bacon, Clinger, Overstreet, Smith

Draft Picks: Ellison, Smith

Class Record: 33-27 (.550)