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Recruiting Reset: The 2023 class presents a unique opportunity to upgrade Missouri’s offensive line

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Cayden Green, Miles McVay and Logan Reichert might not be household names, but Missouri fans should keep a close eye on all three.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

You know the old cliche suggesting football is a game won and lost in the trenches? It’s a cliche for a reason. And it’s a cliche which has held true at Mizzou.

Five times in the last 20 seasons the Tigers have finished the season ranked. The common theme among them is the ability to win the line of scrimmage. Mizzou had a combined 20 offensive or defensive linemen named to an All-Conference team after the 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 seasons. Those teams had a number of differences, but the through line was their ability to dictate the game through the line of scrimmage.

Mizzou Trenches All-Conference Players

Year: Offensive Linemen Defensive Linemen
Year: Offensive Linemen Defensive Linemen
2007 Adam Spieker (1st) Lorenzo Williams (1st)
2007 Colin Brown (HM) Stryker Sulak (2nd)
2008 Kurtis Gregory (2nd) Ziggy Hood (1st)
2008 Tim Barnes (HM) Stryker Sulak (2nd)
2008 Colin Brown (HM) Jaron Baston (HM)
2010 Tim Barnes (1st) Aldon Smith (1st)
2010 Elvis Fisher (HM) Jacquies Smith (2nd)
2010 Brad Madison (HM)
2013 Justin Smith (1st) Michael Sam (1st)
2013 Kony Ealy (1st)
2014 Mitch Morse (2nd) Shane Ray (1st)
2014 Markus Golden (2nd)

Eli Drinkwitz has made it known he’s trying to get the defensive line back to its “D-Line Zou” roots. He’s added four blue chip recruits to the defensive line (Travion Ford, Kyran Montgomery, Marquis Gracial and DJ Wesolak) in the last two recruiting classes. He’s still searching for his first such addition along the offensive line.

This might be the year to find it.

Missouri has offered 36 offensive linemen in the 2023 class, according to Rivals. It’s a clear priority for the staff, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The crown jewels of the class could come in the form of Cayden Green (Lee’s Summit North), Logan Reichert (Raytown) and Miles McVay (East St. Louis). All three are ranked among the top 10 offensive tackles in the country for this year’s recruiting class, according to Rivals, and all three reside within 150 minutes of Columbia.

Landing all of them might be a pipe dream. Landing two of three would make for a heck of a class. Landing at least one feels like a necessity.

These are the types of players who can alter the trajectory of a positional group. Missouri’s offensive line has outperformed its talent level in recent years.

Imagine if the talent takes a sizable step forward.

So many elite offensive tackle recruits growing up within driving distance from Missouri is not the norm. Getting such players to sign with Missouri is even more rare.

Missouri has signed eight blue chip offensive line recruits in the Rivals era. Andy Bauer, Evan Boehm and Kyle Riggs are the only offensive line recruits who ranked among the top 10 at their respective positions who made the decision to sign with Missouri in the last two decades.

That’s the company Green, Reichert and/or Mcvay could keep.

Drinkwitz has proven an ability to “get by” with solid offensive line play. This recruiting class presents an opportunity to improve the talent up front the way he has at wide receiver, defensive line and running back in the past couple of classes.

Recruiting can be fickle and it’s rare any individual player is deserving of the “can’t miss” label, but this group of three qualifies. It’s the year of the offensive lineman, and the Tigers are on the prowl.