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 began with the crown jewel (Luther Burden), the instant contributor (Tavorus Jones) and the diamond in the rough (Ja’Marion Wayne) and the player from the class most likely to become a defensive star (Marquis Gracial).
The Most Important Recruiting Victory: Sam Horn, QB, Suwanee (GA)
Quarterback is the single most important position in team sports. There’s nothing quite like it. If you have one, you’re on Cloud 9. When you don’t, everything within the organization is geared toward finding the next one. Take Gary Pinkel, for example. He knew the importance of having a quarterback ready at all times. Heck, his model was to hopefully have two quarterbacks ready at any given time. It started with Brad Smith, continued with Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert and James Franklin. There was some turbulence with Maty Mauk (but also an SEC East title) and eventually it ended with Drew Lock. That’s a borderline unprecedented reign of success at the quarterback position.
The Tigers haven’t been so lucky since.
Mizzou has meandered from Kelly Bryant to Shawn Robinson to Connor Bazelak in recent seasons. Eli Drinkwitz is searching for answers at the position. Could it be Brady Cook? Maybe it’s Tyler Macon? Or is it Sam Horn?
Nobody knows. Not yet, anyway. But finding that answer is the skeleton key to unlocking the potential of Drinkwitz’s offense.
Horn, a 4-star quarterback prospect from a suburb outside of Atlanta, hopes to be that answer. It’s not hard to see how it would work. His high school football team won its first state championship during his senior season. He ranks sixth all time in Georgia high school football history more than career 10,000 passing yards to his name. It’s worth noting he added another 600 yards on the ground as a senior.
The tools are all there. The production matched his talent in high school. Soon we’ll see if he can do the same at Mizzou.
Horn plays a style that reminds me of former Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock. He’s tall, he’s athletic and he’s a gunslinger completely unafraid to make a play with his arm or his legs. It’s no coincidence both Lock and Horn excelled in other sports, as well; Lock on the hardwood and Horn on the baseball diamond.
Horn threw nearly 100 touchdowns in his high school career, but he also finished with close to 25 interceptions over the last two seasons. It’s worth nothing he played in a Mike Leach-esque “Air Raid” system, but his playing style was could be described as high-risk, high-reward.
Missouri hasn’t had a long-term answer at quarterback since Lock graduated in 2018. Horn has the potential to become exactly that. Luther Burden could be special. Marquis Gracial might be a star. But none of that will matter if the Tigers don’t have a quarterback to steer the ship.