Missouri completed its trifecta of St. Thomas Aquinas commits a few weeks ago with the addition of wide receiver James Madison. The 4-star prospect joined teammates Justin Bodford and Nicholas Rodriguez by making the announcement official. Unlike Bodford and Rodriguez, though, Madison had a clear connection to Mizzou. He’s originally from the Kansas City area, and he’s always viewed the state as “home.”
In other words, Madison could be considered a “True Son.”
Good stuff from newest #Mizzou commit James Madison II (@JamesJTMadison2) -- a return back to his home state-- grew up in South KC, played youth football in Liberty before moving to FL for HS -- here he is on returning home and convincing 2 other HS teammates to play at Mizzou. pic.twitter.com/rOv0ncRoCX— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) July 4, 2023
Madison is one of 12 known commitments for the Tigers’ 2024 class. He joins Brian Huff and teammate Rodriguez as the third four star commit in the class.
Let’s break the commitment down a bit further, shall we?
Where he fits: This is where Madison should get fans excited. He finally adds some size to Missouri’s wide receiver room. Did you ever find yourself watching Missouri games over the past couple seasons and thinking, ‘man, they seem to have four slot receivers on the field?’
You wouldn’t be alone.
Missouri’s coaching staff did what it could to make it work with (too many) yards after catch receivers. At some point — especially in the SEC — a team needs outside wide receivers who can beat press man coverage off the line of scrimmage. Missouri has been operating at a deficit in that regard. Madison could help to change that.
Madison is listed on Rivals at 6-foot-4 and more than 200 pounds. To give you some context, here are the listed heights and weights of Missouri’s wide receiver commits under Eli Drinkwitz:
- Chance Luper: 6-foot-2, 170 pounds - Medically Retired
- Jay Maclin: 5-foot-11, 180 pounds - Transferred
- JJ Hester: 6-foot-4, 180 pounds - Transferred
- Dominic Lovett: 5-foot-10, 170 pounds - Transferred
- Jamarion Wayne: 6-foot-3, 170 pounds - Converted to safety... And now back to WR?
- Mekhi Miller: 6-foot-1, 180 pounds
- Luther Burden: 5-foot-11, 205 pounds
- Demariyon Houston: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds
- Marquis Johnson: 6-foot-0, 175 pounds
- Joshua Manning: 6-foot-1, 170 pounds
- Daniel Blood: 6-foot-0, 175 pounds
Notice a trend there? The only Drinkwitz receiver commit taller than 6-foot who earned significant playing time at Mizzou was Luper. I’m hopeful that both Miller and Manning will join that list by the end of the season. Madison might not be far behind.
The Tigers certainly have some recent history with taller receivers. Players like Tauskie Dove, J’Mon Moore, Emanuel Hall, Bud Sasser, Danario Alexander, L’Damian Washington, Wes Kemp, Marcus Lucas and Dorial Green-Beckham all experienced varied degrees of success in their time at Mizzou, and all of them were listed at 6-foot-3 or taller.
When he’ll play: Mookie Cooper, Luther Burden and Theo Wease would be my projected starters going into the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dannis Jackson, Mekhi Miller and Joshua Manning as the primary reserves. At least two of those players are entering their final year of eligibility. Could Madison crack the rotation as a true freshman? It shouldn’t be completely ruled out.
Madison’s game reminds me of a former ‘big’ receiver at Mizzou — Bud Sasser. Sasser was utilized as a role player by his sophomore year on campus, and became a legitimate rotation piece by his junior season in 2013. You probably remember him best, though, for what Sasser was able to accomplish in 2014 when he was the primary option for the Tigers their second-straight SEC East title.
What it all means: Eli Drinkwitz and his staff picked up a significant commit with roots in the area from a nationally recognized high school program. They did so while filling a hole at a position of need with a player who ranks among the team’s top commits for the 2024 class. Not too shabby.
Madison should add size and physicality to Mizzou’s wide receiver room, and he seems to have a heck of a personality to go along with the game to match.