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Recruiting Reset: Missouri Gets its Left-Side Mauler

Cayden Green is everything you think he’ll be.

We’ve been saying this a lot over the past five months but, you know what, I’m going to say it again.

It’s a good time to be a Missouri Tiger.

10 wins. A national award-winning running back. The longest list of All-Americans and All-SEC players since the mid-aughts. And most of those players are coming back, apparently?

And, oh yeah, your program just sniped a home-grown All-Conference lineman from future conference rival Oklahoma.

The only thing better than Sooner tears crying about how the only reason Green left was because Eli Drinkwitz threw a ton of money at him (like... Oklahoma is broke, apparently?) is the fact that Mizzou just added a massive piece to beef up the left side of their offensive line. And they’re letting him play the position that he would prefer to play. Neato!

Where He Fits: So, about that last point... coming out of high school, Green was considered to be one of the better pass protection tackles in the game but an elite-level run blocker. Legendary offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh gave Green 35 snaps at left tackle and then immediately slotted him in at left guard. Over 11 games, Green saw 503 snaps as a guard, and even earned five starts over the year, four of which came in the last four games.

Much like Logan Reichert, Green got away with being gigantic and supremely athletic at the high school level, meaning his pass protection analysis was going to be sub-optimal until he could go against a college edge rusher. And, at least after one year, a guy who knows how to put offensive linemen in the NFL thought he was best used as a guard.

Can he get better? Reader, absolutely he can, and remember, he’s very good in pass pro already. But if you want to be the blindside tackle and believe that’s where you should be and want to get better by getting reps out there... and yet you’re being told that you’re going to play guard, you can see how that might be frustrating and seem limiting.

He’s good enough that I’m confident he could play anywhere on the line, but Mizzou has a need on the left side so, ideally, that’s where he fits.

When He’ll Play: I know the Mizzou staff will let him get reps wherever he wants to get reps (as long as it's on the left side of the line). I feel like he’s a lead-pipe lock to be Mizzou’s starting left tackle in game one of the 2024 season. With Foster, Johnson, and Delgado all gone, Green is the answer to either the tackle or guard position, so I’d say it’s almost 100% certain he is starting somewhere on the left side in game one of the ‘24 season. But given that he was pulled away from Oklahoma, I’m assuming part of that negotiation means he’s at left tackle.

The Stat Stuff: I already broke down his snap distribution for the ‘23 season: 35 snaps at left tackle, 503 snaps at left guard. For the year Green went into pass protection on 271 snaps, allowed a quarterback pressure on 2.2% of those snaps, and gave up zero sacks. On his 267 run blocking snaps he only had a blown block on 1.5% of them. And, for the year, he only had four penalties called on him.

He’s good, in case you’re wondering what conclusion you should draw from all of that. Offensive line is a tough position to accurately grade and quantify so a lot of All-American lists for the o-line get cobbled together based on reputation and name recall. But Green absolutely earned his honor.

What It All Means: Luther Burden III used to be committed to Oklahoma. He then decommitted from the Sooners, joined the Tigers, and is the #1 chip peddler and ball catcher at Mizzou.

Theo Wease was a 5-star receiver who, somehow, got buried on the Sooner depth chart. He’s now Mizzou’s big-time possession receiver.

Williams Nwaneri was considering either Oklahoma or Mizzou as he stepped to the podium to make his college decision. He put on a Mizzou hat and will be signing with the Tigers this week.

Cayden Green was down to Missouri or Oklahoma at this time last year and went with the Sooners. And now the Tigers plucked him right out of Norman and brought him back home to Columbia.

Eli Drinkwitz loves taking players away from the University of Oklahoma. That’s the main point here. And this time he’s addressed a glaring problem on his line while sticking it one more time to Mizzou’s old Big 8 rival.

The battle for the Tiger-Sooner Peace Pipe on November 9th is going to be AWESOME.