Missouri is doing some special things in the world of NIL. In a lane where the Tigers could easily get lapped, they’ve found some unique ways to meet the needs of players and to highlight those who are producing for the school.
Luther Burden has been an endorsement machine from the second he stepped onto campus at Missouri. First, he got his own signature bag of chips, the honey BBQ-flavored Red Hot Riplets from St. Louis-based Old Vienna. Then it was an Imo’s Pizza deal. Most recently, it was Commerce Bank. It seems like everyone has wanted to get a piece of Burden, and for good reason, right? He’s a five-star wide receiver, from the St. Louis area and spurned away many other schools who certainly could’ve put good money in his pockets. He did that to stay at home and has been rewarded handsomely for it.
Currently, when it comes to recruiting in-state players and, in particular, those of the elite in-state variety, Luther Burden is probably the best recruiting pitch the Missouri staff has. You can go to Missouri and play in close proximity to your family and friends, all while getting your touches and getting paid. It’s a win-win-win.
Other schools will always try and poach Missouri’s best talent. It’s been that way since the beginning of time and won’t stop any time soon. It’s also important to note that a school like Missouri probably won’t ever be able to truly “close its borders” and be resistant to the lure of other schools.
However, with a strong level of commitment from the staff, some very advantageous state laws that were passed in Missouri’s state legislature. And with a local base that has been extremely supportive, the Tigers have the chance to really make student-athletes second guess if going to [insert brand-name P5 school] is the correct choice for them. It certainly wasn’t for Luther.
All of this paves the way for highly-ranked players like a Williams Nwaneri, Ryan Wingo or Jeremiah McClellan to take a leap of faith and come to Missouri, because they have some proof of concept in seeing what Burden’s experience has been thus far. Guys can come to Missouri and get taken care of.
I believe it’s unfair to talk about Burden’s “legacy” at this point. He’s still only played one season of college football, and while he’s exciting, legacy talk isn’t really fair and usually it reeks of some sort of recency bias.
That said, Luther is building the beginnings of what is truly a lasting legacy. He’s been exciting on the field, been great in the community, and has lived up to the hype he received coming out of high school.
However, his longer-lasting impact may be on the recruiting that Missouri is able to do because of how well his NIL situation has gone to this point. If that means that Missouri is able to sign more and more players of Burden’s caliber, then we will look at his tenure at Missouri as greater than the three or four years he decides to ultimately spend here.