The last time the state of Missouri had 12 blue chip recruits in a single recruiting class was, well, never. At least not in the 20 years since Rivals has been covering recruiting. The Show Me State is showing the rest of the country that it has a heck of a lot of football talent to offer.
This weekend was a reminder of what’s at stake for Mizzou in the 2023 class. The Tigers hosted a high profile recruiting weekend coined as ‘The Summit.’ At least four of the top 12 players in the state were in attendance. All four rank among the top 50 at their respective positions, three of the four rank among the top 200 players nationally.
In a normal year, hosting four talents of this ilk for one official visit weekend would constitute a massive opportunity for in-state recruiting.
This year, though, it’s simply a sign of the times.
Missouri boasts 10 of the top 250 players in the country. Missouri is home to 12 players who rate as a 4 or 5-star recruits. The list includes Platte County defensive end Chandavian Bradley (#32 nationally), Lee’s Summit North offensive tackle Cayden Green (#34), CBC running back Jeremiyah Love (#49), DeSmet cornerback Christian Gray (#51), Raytown offensive tackle Logan Reichert (#84), North KC defensive end Adepoju Adebawore (#116), DeSmet tight end Mac Markway (#153), North Kansas City defensive tackle Edric Hill (#159), Cardinal Ritter safety Marvin Burks (#186) and Francis Howell tight end Brett Norfleet (#249). Cardinal Ritter wide receiver Fredrick Moore and CBC defensive tackle Tyler Gant are not ranked among the top 250 players nationally, but both are rated as 4-star recruits.
The in-state talent is undeniable. We’ve talked in the past about what a successful in-state recruiting class looks like.
Spoiler alert: It’s roughly a 50 percent commit rate among the blue chip talents.
Only two of the top 10 players in the state have pledged their commitments at this point in the process. Both are tight ends, with one (Norfleet) committing to the Tigers and the other (Markway) planning to attend LSU. That leaves eight uncommitted in-state players ranked among the top 250 nationally. Reading between the lines, it seems like half of those 12 are at least marginally interested in what Mizzou has to offer.
Cayden Green, Jeremiyah Love, Logan Reichert and Marvin Burks appear to be real possibilities for the Tigers. Joshua Manning was on campus this weekend, and he reportedly has serious interest in both Missouri and Kansas State.
Eli Drinkwitz has very little to prove as a recruiter; he’s recruiting at a consistent level never seen before at Missouri. But this is the type of recruiting class that could completely change the trajectory of Missouri’s offense.
The Tigers have done a tremendous job in recent years upgrading the talent at wide receiver and defensive line. The offensive line, while performing at a fair level, could still use an infusion of talent. That’s where players like Green and Reichert enter the picture. Landing one of the two would be a - no pun intended - big get. Landing both would be a game-changer. Add in Miles McVay - the top rated player in Illinois and a top 10 offensive tackle in the country - and Drinkwitz has a serious opportunity to build an offensive line that would remind Mizzou fans of the 2013 unit that paved the way for back-to-back SEC East titles.
Winning in the SEC comes down to a team’s ability to dictate the line of scrimmage. It’s not hard to understand how a team like Kentucky took the next step to become a consistent top three team in the division. Just take a look at their players getting drafted in recent years. They’ve had a total of nine offensive or defensive linemen drafted over the past four years.
The SEC is a meat-and-potatoes league. The best teams build from the inside-out. The Tigers have done it before, and the local talent is providing them an opportunity to do it again.
‘The Summit’ is a good start. It’s going to be a long process before these top prospects make their final decisions. The next six months are going to be an emotional roller coaster. Buckle in. Enjoy the ride. We’ve never seen this kind of talent in Missouri. It might be a while before we see it again. Here’s to hoping the Tigers can take advantage.