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Football Recruiting in the State of Missouri, by the Numbers

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When Mizzou hits in state, just where are those players coming from and what schools are providing the most talent?

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

By now, everybody should understand the importance of in state recruiting. Obviously recruiting in general is important, but securing your state’s highest in state recruits are the bread and butter of every major program in the country. It’s not only important for the overall makeup for your team and the fans, but also in the pride of the state in general.

Some of the questions I had: Where are the best players in our state coming from? What high schools are producing vasts amount of P5 talent? How productive are these athletes once they get onto campus?

Ah, the intrigue.

First off, I had to set some sort of boundaries for this exercise. I wanted to keep this somewhat recent to give people an idea of what the trends have been like recently, so these rankings are strictly for the period of 2010-2019. Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, this is gonna be limited to signees of Power Five schools only (Sorry, Sun Belt!). Last of all, I wanted to use my information from one specific recruiting database, so I chose Rivals. They do a good job and have nice, organized lists that are broken down by state.

***Disclaimer: I did not include Metro East St. Louis as a part of this exercise.

Let’s begin!

Where are the best players in Missouri coming from?

Eastern Michigan v Missouri
Aarion Penton graduated from CBC high school in St. Louis, MO.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This is a somewhat loaded question, but I thought of this as sort of a regional question. I tried to break down the major cities in Missouri into four subcategories:

  1. St. Louis
  2. Kansas City
  3. Springfield/Cape Girardeau
  4. Mid-Missouri

There will be a few players that’ll be somewhat outside their region, but this is the best way to keep it clean.

From 2010 to 2019 there were 146 players from Missouri who signed scholarships to Power Five programs.

Of that 146, the St. Louis region dominated the other areas producing a whopping 75 players in this period, just over 51%. Second is the Kansas City region with a very respectable 47 players signed to P5’s. Third is the Mid-Missouri region with a relatively nice 16 players signed, and finally in the Springfield/Cape Region, a lowly 8 players signed.

I think in asking this question, I had an idea of where most of the players would come from.... However, I think most would be surprised with the discrepancy between St. Louis and every other region. I also was mildly surprised that the Springfield/Cape region was lapped by the Mid-Missouri region even though Springfield and Cape were combined.

Let’s dive a little deeper.

What high schools are these players coming from?

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Missouri
Drew Lock was a Lee’s Summit West graduate, outside of Kansas City.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri football has multiple in state pipelines that produce talent year in, and year out. That talent doesn’t always choose Mizzou, but they’re in our state regardless. Those pipelines aren’t always where you would guess either.

For example, now that we know that 51% of that talent is from the St. Louis area, would you guess that the school that produces the most talent is a Kansas City school?

Would you be surprised if I told you that of the five highest producers of power five talent, only one of those schools is from the St. Louis area?

  • Blue Springs (KC; 9)
  • Lee’s Summit West (KC; 8)
  • Rock Bridge (Mid-Missouri; 8)
  • Rockhurst (KC; 7)
  • CBC (STL; 7)

These are the standouts of the bunch. As you can see, three Kansas City schools are in the top five and make up 50% of the region’s athletes. There’s some sort of common denominator between whatever these coaches do in their programs to be successful and the amount of major Division-I talent that graduates from these schools. Incidentally, between these five schools during this period they also combine for 7 state titles and 15 state championship game appearances. It’s almost as if talent is super important at these levels!

Stay with me now...

How talented are these Missouri athletes actually?

You will never mistake the state of Missouri for Texas, California, or Florida when it comes to not only the best talent, but the amount of talent. It also isn’t Wyoming either (too soon?).

Since 2010, Missouri has had a total of two five star recruits. Those names? Dorial Green-Beckham and Ondre Pipkins, both in 2012. Now that may seem bleak, but it does get better. Missouri also has had 42 four star talents in the same time period, so it’s somewhat of a mixed bag. So, for of the 146 total P5 players, 103 or almost 70% are three-star athletes. Basically, a few elite ranked players, some exceptional talents, and a very large middle.

Rankings are great and all, but how productive are these guys when they get on campus?

Troy v Missouri
Cale Garrett was only a 2-star recruit from Kearney, MO, but was an elite College Linebacker.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Collegiate production in Missouri definitely doesn’t discriminate by ranking. This decade is proof of it.

Three star guys like Donavin Newsome, Cam Hilton, Michael Scherer, Aarion Penton, Cale Garrett, etc proves that point. None of that is to say that the higher ranked guys aren’t contributing or productive either though. The higher ranked guys like Zeke Elliott, Rod Johnson, Drew Lock, Evan Boehm, and Ronnie Perkins have all more than lived up to their rankings.

What does all of this mean for MY Missouri Tigers?

Let’s all keep it real. There has been a problem keeping Missouri’s best homegrown players, home.

For example, remember those 42 4-star recruits? Mizzou signed 10 of them, and 3 of them were in 2010. Of those 10, the only ones to make meaningful contributions were Drew Lock, Evan Boehm, Marcus Lucas, and Kony Ealy. When you consider the success that Mizzou has had in the last decade, the fact that they did it mostly without their state’s top talent is actually pretty impressive.

To put these numbers in perspective very bluntly, it’s just not good enough. It has to get better. This can be fixed first and foremost by winning games, but also making sure that Missouri kids are identified earlier in process, and are given priority to attend their home school.

It’s also obviously been a huge part of the Drinkwitz approach from the minute he was hired in trying to not only retain those in-state relationships with coaches and players, but also strengthen them and make Missouri the premiere destination for high school talent in the state.

This state produces talent. From Lee’s Summit West to Rock Bridge to CBC, the talent is absolutely there. I’m sure there are multiple other schools who can attest to that. Can Mizzou actually attract those recruits with any consistency? Only time will tell.