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Recruiting Reset: Toriano Pride Provides Pass Defense Power from the Portal

Mizzou’s first portal addition fills a need and continues a narrative

The secret to good sales is to have a vast network. The secret to maintaining a large network is to be proactive in the relationship and stay in consistent, good contact so that people remember who you are, what you do, and how you can work well together. Eventually, over time, the relationship will be strong and the timing correct where a positive development happens.

It’s true in sales. And, thanks to the transfer portal, it’s true in recruiting as well.

I’ve said before that it matters less if you miss out on successfully recruiting a guy out of high school because there’s always the chance that he finds out the team/program/school isn’t the right fit and he looks elsewhere. And when those eyes start to wander for a new landing spot, being the coach or the program that has stayed in positive contact and still wants you to join is a powerful pull.

See: Toriano Pride

The 4-star cornerback by way of St. Louis vis-a-vis East St. Louis High School had Mizzou in his final choices in the class of 2022 but eventually wound up signing with the Tigers of Clemson. He was good enough to play in 14 games during the 2022 season and was on the field for 312 snaps. He only made three starts in his two-year career at Clemson, and his playing time dwindled in ‘23 though his production in pass defense stayed consistent and, so, he decided to look elsewhere. The fact that he entered the transfer portal with the expressed desire for no contact from coaches made it pretty clear that he knew exactly where he was going.

Toriano Pride, Jr. Stats

Where He Fits: don’t transfer from your current school to a different one with the understanding that you’re going to be on the bench for the next season, right? With Kris Abrams-Draine and Ennis Rakestraw accepting invites to the Senior Bowl, it’s nearly a lock that they will be entering their names into the NFL Draft and be done with their time at Mizzou. That leaves Dreyden Norwood, Marcus Clarke, Nicholas DeLoach, and Shamar McNeil as the only corners on the roster. So, yeah, barring some unexpected development, Pride is going to be one of Mizzou’s starting cornerbacks when the 2024 season kicks off.

Where He’ll Play: Pride has played as an outside corner and a slot corner but my assumption is that he’ll be getting the majority of his snaps on the outside. He’s not the biggest guy as he’s under 6 feet and 200 pounds, so Clemson didn’t send him on many outside blitzes or ask him to pitch in on run support all that often.

The Stat Stuff: Since it’s me doing these instead of BK, I’m going to add some extra stat stuff for your enjoyment!

In 2022 Pride played 195 snaps in coverage and allowed 20 catches on 35 targets (57.1% completion rate) for 255 yards. For reference, that was the 3rd-highest completion percentage on the team on the 3rd-most targets for the year. He allowed 3 touchdowns, forced an incompletion on 11% of his passes, had 1 interception, and had opposing quarterbacks average a 79.5 quarterback rating when throwing against him.

In 2023 Pride played 78 snaps in coverage and allowed 10 catches on 18 targets (55.6% completion rate) for 145 yards. That was the 2nd-highest completion percentage on the team with the 6th-most targets for the year, in case you were curious. He allowed one touchdown, for an incompletion on 22% of his passes, and zero interceptions, and had opposing quarterbacks average a 68.8 quarterback rating when throwing against him.

What It All Means: Pride is not a shutdown cornerback yet, so don’t expect zero drop off from KAD to Pride. Pride’s production this year is actually fairly comparable to Ennis Rakestraw’s 2023:

  • Pride: 10-18 (55.6%), 145 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 22% INC, 68.8 QBR
  • Rakestraw: 13-23 (56.5%), 178 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 13% INC, 73.4 QBR

And, as a reference point...

  • KAD: 17-47 (36.2%), 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 29.8% INC, 12.0 QBR

The thing about sports, though, is that individual players don’t stay consistent. Sometimes the regress, sometimes they improve, and you never know what a change in scenery/coaching staff/scheme is going to do to an individual player. In the end, Mizzou’s first portal addition of 2024 is a highly rated local kid that fills a position of need. It’s a great story and great work by the Drinkwitz staff to work the portal and keep the “Lou To The Zou” train going.