The early signing period has come and gone. It’s time to take stock in what Eli Drinkwitz’s second full recruiting cycle could offer to the Tigers in 2022 and beyond.
Mizzou had 15 commits sign on the first day of the early signing period, with the lone holdout being Deshawn Woods, a 4-star offensive lineman out of Omaha. The 16-man class is currently ranked 19th nationally by Rivals, 12th by 247 Sports and 10th by ESPN. It’s an impressive haul, and one which will likely go down as Missouri’s best recruiting class since services began tracking such a thing more than two decades ago.
That’s the macro. This is a very impressive class which has received much deserved praise from outlets both local and national. What about the micro? Which commits can you realistically expect to see on the field right away? Who are the potential diamonds in the rough? That’s what we’ll explore over the coming weeks in our Mizzou football recruiting class superlatives series.
We begin with the obvious, the crown jewel of the Tigers’ 2022 recruiting class. I have a feeling you’ve heard about him a time or two.
The Crown Jewel: Luther Burden, WR, East St. Louis
Everything you’ve read about Luther Burden is true. He’s a magician on the field. His highlights are hilarious to watch. He’s playing against high level competition and he’s simply the best player on the field every time he plays. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s fast and he’s shifty. He’s also surprisingly proficient with his route-running.
This isn’t a kid who will take two or three years to adjust to the college game. He’s ready now. When I watched Dominic Lovett’s tape from East St. Louis last year, you could tell it would take some time. The talent was there. The speed was obvious. But he only ran a couple routes. That’s a massive adjustment when you get to the next level.
None of that is true for Burden. He’s a unicorn in that he appears to be ready to play college football both physically and mentally. This isn’t a shot at other players. It’s a credit to Burden. There’s very little he’ll be asked to do in college that he hasn’t already done in high school.
Watching Luther Burden's highlights is hilarious. It's just a series of him outrunning everyone else on the football field. pic.twitter.com/QXWnPJnz7f— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) October 19, 2021
I think what impresses me most about Burden is his competitiveness. He finishes every catch with physicality. He’s not afraid to run around or through a defender if that’s what it takes to get into the end zone. The results speak for themselves. He finished this season with more than 1,200 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns. His season earned him the St. Lous Post-Dispatch’s all-metro football co-offensive player of the year honors.
The easy comparison for what Burden could be at Missouri is Jeremy Maclin. I don’t say that lightly. Maclin finished his two full seasons at Missouri with nearly 3,000 yards from scrimmage and 33 total touchdowns. I don’t know if Burden will match that kind of production; very few do. But he has that kind of ability.
Burden has the ability to make an All-SEC team as a freshman so long as the Tigers get quality quarterback play. He’s the most talented pass-catcher player we’ve seen in a Mizzou uniform in nearly a decade.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the next three years of watching one of the best receivers in the country.