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The success of Missouri’s 2017 recruiting class will depend on talent evaluation

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Fire up the fax machines! It’s National Signing Day, and after a tumultuous few days, Mizzou officially begins reeling in letters of intent. In case you lost count with the additions and subtractions going on, the Tigers currently boast 23 commitments and, barring surprises, will likely add two more today.

Three immediate takeaways, again barring surprises:

  1. This class isn’t going to rank very high. Losing Jafar Armstrong didn’t help, but generally speaking the average recruit in this class ranks in the mid-three-star range, approximately where Mizzou typically stands but without a couple of four-stars to bolster the overall class grade. Expect a ranking in the 40s.
  2. The lack of in-state quality and in-state success hurt. This is basically the normal Mizzou class, only without two or three four-star (or close to it) Missouri guys. Mizzou barely offered anybody in-state and only landed one of the guys it did offer: Lee’s Summit North’s DaRon Davis. This will be a story moving forward, as will the fact that the state is filled to the gills with prospects in 2018. Every school in the country is coming to St. Louis to recruit this coming year; Mizzou really needs to hold its own.
  3. Missouri addressed its needs. Granted, you’d have loved a large smattering of blue-chippers, but realistically speaking, the Tigers are adding players that should make them better. They needed depth on the offensive line and are bringing in five offensive linemen. They desperately needed depth at defensive tackle and are currently bringing in three DTs (two JUCOs and a high school guy), with the potential for adding two more today. There are interesting athletes for each position. As I’ve written before, the success of this class will be based on Mizzou’s talent identification (which was excellent in last year’s abbreviated class) and development. Whether it ranks 30th or 50th, it’s up to Mizzou to turn it into a top-30 producer. And there are plenty of reasons to be excited about potential under-the-radar guys like O’Shae Clark, Kobie Whiteside, Tyree Gillespie, Isaiah Miller, Jordan Ulmer, class cheerleader Jamal Brooks, etc.

I recommend listening to yesterday’s Danny Heitert segment with Craig Cusamano on The Fan. Heitert always does a nice job of filling in the “If this guy were from Missouri, he’d be the No. X [position] in the state” gaps.

Meanwhile, Mizzou evidently added a three-star Texas running back as a walk-on last night. That’s ... rare. I encourage it to happen more often, though.

And a sneak peek at who Louisiana defensive tackle Caleb Sampson might be picking today:


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