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Missouri recruiting notebook: "Night at the Zou" a showcase for Tigers' future

Over 70 recruits were in Columbia for massive event

Missouri recruits lifting weights during "Night at the Zou"
Missouri recruits lifting weights during "Night at the Zou"

Missouri landed two recruits during Saturday's "Night at the Zou"; massive Michigan offensive lineman Larry Borom and speedy Texas receiver Roderick Ford.

There will be more to come in the next few hours, days and weeks.

Neither Tiger commits DaRon Davis or Jafar Armstrong, nor highly sought after defensive end Chester Graves were in Columbia last night. That shouldn't take away from the 70 or so recruits who did travel from far and wide to attend an event that was part athlete camp and part school showcase.

Saturday began behind doors as players and parents met with coaches in the MATC film room for close to an hour.

They then moved to the MATC's weight room where new strength and conditioning coach Rohrk Cutchlow directed a weight lifting regime.

A few prospects knocked out some bench reps and notably Larry Boyd drew loud cheers and congrats when he hit 18 while Terry Beckner spotted him. Barry Odom, Glen Elarbee plus numerous recruits and current players congratulated him enthusiastically - it's little wonder he talks about Mizzou like home.

Once the lifting was done we crossed over the Providence bridge to Faurot Field for warm-ups, 40 yard dashes, and position drills, all done in front of a small crowd.

Priority Mizzou targets Boyd, Jeff Thomas, Trevor Trout, Ronnie Perkins, Verdis Brown, Ambry Thomas, Jaylen Kelly-Powell and a few others didn't take part in this workout portion of the evening, instead observing from the sidelines.

East St. Louis coach Darren Sunkett was in attendance and catching up with the Flyer crew that includes Terry Beckner, Tre'Vour Simms, Greg Taylor, and Natereace Strong.

A few invitees picked up Mizzou offers, including class of 2018 cornerback Tyrik Henderson and 2019 Illinois lineman Devontae Dobbs,. It was difficult to keep track of all the events on the field, but it was clear the staff were doing some up-close coaching and evaluating.

Several recruits with offers did workout and were impressive during position drills.

Georgia running back Deon Jackson impressed me.

Another physical freak was Memphis linebacker Aubrey Miller, who's father reported he was very high on Missouri - I expect we could see him commit soon.

Lee's Summit lineman TJ Kennedy, a class of 2018 prospect, looks very much the part of a future SEC lineman and could see an offer the same weekend he turns 16.

The night ended for me at 10pm after watching several highly contested games of dodge-ball near the north endzone.

It will be tough to truly gauge how successful Saturday was until the dust clears. Several other schools had events this weekend; South Carolina had a "Spurs Up Cookout" and only saw one commitment, Virginia Tech had "Blacksburg Bash" and saw four commits. Ohio State hosted its "Friday Night Lights" camp and saw three 4-star commits within a few hours.

Even if Missouri only comes away with one more commit, this weekend holds promise for the Tigers. AJ Ofodile clearly has connections in the Detroit recruiting scene and Cornell Ford is on top of his game with the St. Louis recruits. Saturday was as much about finding diamonds in the rough as it was about impressing the big name attendees.

Barry Odom is a smart and proactive coach who understands that recruiting is the lifeblood of every successful program. Many of Saturday's visitors are from the class of 2018, 2019 and even 2020; they might not earn offers from Mizzou but the staff is planting the seeds for the future. It's clear to me that Odom has a plan for how to turn Mizzou into a team that can win championships, and it begins with nights like these.