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Night at the Zou brings in the ELITE talent

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Eli Drinkwitz and his staff put together a long list of really talented players to show them they’re a priority.

mizzou football recruiting 2020

As discussed in yesterday’s links, Mizzou Football hosted a whole slew of elite prospects on Wednesday in an invite-only event— here’s what I wrote about it.

Night at The Zou, which isn’t really a “night”, per se, brought Missouri’s targeted elite football prospects to CoMo, where the staff rolled out the proverbial black & gold carpet, and tried to entice potential players into a commitment, either while on the unofficial visit or some time afterwards.

As for the specifics of the day, we’re all a bit fuzzy on the details. Mizzou did have a couple visitors on Tuesday, but Wednesday appeared to be “The Main Event”— invite only. According to Dennis Dodd’s article on CBS Sports, for the first time ever, the NCAA has granted a recruiting catch-up of sorts after COVID-19 messed with visits, camps, etc for the better part of 14 months— allowing players to work out for teams, like a mini-combine involving one coach and one player. According to the article:

Schools who are into it ‘full throttle’ will have the entire staff scattered across the field, each assistant working out a prospect. The most creative schools will welcome walk-ons, JUCOs, unsigned high school prospects from 2021 and Class of 2022 recruits.

So with the news of the event out there, recruiting writers began digging to see if they could put together a full invite list. Steve Wilfong reported this summary on 247 Sports, showing who was scheduled to make a visit:

Top targets include St. Louis (Mo.) Lutheran North’s All-American cornerback Toriano Pride, Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington five-star All-American Gentry Williams, Boonville (Mo.) High All-American edge rusher DJ Wesolak and Owasso (Okla.) High All-American defensive tackle Chris McClellan.

Other coveted recruits include Kansas City (Mo.) North Kansas City defensive tackle Domonique Orange, tight end Micah Riley-Ducker, Littleton (Colo.) Valor Christian offensive lineman Jake Maikkula and Keller (Texas) Timber Creek four-star running back Emeka Megwa.

Helping head coach Eliah Drinkwitz and the staff recruit will be all the members of this 2022 class in Top247 quarterback Sam Horn, four-star offensive lineman Marquis Gracial, Top247 safety Isaac Thompson, four-star athlete Ja’Marion Wayne, dynamic receiver Mekhi Miller, offensive lineman Armand Membou, tight end Max Whisner and offensive lineman Tristan Wilson.

A couple coveted 2023 recruits are also slated to attend in Top247 offensive tackle and No. 1 player in the state Cayden Green and Top247 tight end Brett Norfleet.

Through some twitter sleuthing — and by sleuthing we mean you all retweeted this so much into the timeline it was impossible to miss — we’ve been able to determine a few more players were in attendance:

  • A rather important visitor from East St. Louis in Oklahoma commit and 5-star WR, Luther Burden:

Social Media Frenzy!

So to recap the known visitors:

  • Luther Burden, WR East St. Louis HS in East St. Louis, IL — 5-star (0.9925 composite), No. 1 in MO, No. 1 WR, No. 10 nationally
  • Toriano Pride, CB Lutheran North HS in St. Louis, MO — 4-star (0.9267 composite), No. 4 in MO, All-American in 2022 class
  • Gentry Williams, ATH Booker T. Washington HS in Tulsa, OK — 5-star (.9836 composite), No. 1 in OK, All-American in 2022 class
  • DJ Wesolak, DE Boonville HS in Boonville, MO — 4-star (0.9289 composite), No. 3 in MO in 2022 class
  • Chris McClellan, DT Owasso HS in Owasso, OK — 4-star (0.9079 composite), No 5 in OK in 2022 class
  • Emeka Megwa, RB Keller Timber Creek in Fort Worth, TX — 4-star (0.8958 composite), No. 48 in TX in 2022 class
  • Domonique Orange, DT North Kansas City HS in N. Kansas City, MO — 3-star (0.8871 composite), No. 10 in MO in 2022 class
  • Micah Riley-Ducker, TE Bellevue West TE in Omaha, NE — 3-star (0.899 composite), No. 3 in NE in 2022 class
  • Jake Maikkula, OL Valor Christian HS in Denver, CO — 3-star (0.8527), No. 5 in CO in 2022 class
  • Cayden Green, OL Lee’s Summit North in Kansas City, MO — 4-star (0.9633 composite), No. 1 in MO in 2023 class
  • Brett Norfleet, TE Francis Howell in St. Louis, MO — 4-star (composite N/A), No. 1 in MO in 2023 class
  • Jaidyn Doss, WR Raymore-Peculiar in Kansas City, MO — 3-star (composite N/A), No. 7 in MO in 2023 class

The biggest news is certainly the visit from Burden. The East St. Louis pass catcher is rated by all services as a 5-star player, and sits 10th in the 247sports composite. Burden committed to Oklahoma back in October but it’s long been the expectation that Missouri would recruit him until he told them to stop... and even then they’d probably keep going. Rumors have swirled that Burden is planning on decommitting from Oklahoma and committing to Missouri, or committing to Alabama, or that he’s putting together (or already put together) a commitment video to one of the other schools. But those are all just rumors and unconfirmed. What we know is Burden is at least still listening to Eli Drinkwitz and company.

The other big name to watch is Pride. Most of the crystal balls are pinning his commitment to Clemson’s board, but the top 250 prospect is seriously considering Missouri as well.

Obviously the benefit to getting these players on campus early is to make an impression, and the Night at the Zou event seems to have been a success with at least a few of these recruits in giving them something to think about.