I’ve long called Charles Harris the most Gary Pinkel of Gary Pinkel recruits. Pinkel’s generalized recruiting philosophy was to go hard after the local blue-chippers and supplement them with diamond-in-the-rough types from near and far. Harris was the ultimate diamond in the rough, someone who had only been playing football for a couple of years and who had no other offers or a recruiting profile.
If Harris was the most Pinkel recruit, who was the most Pinkel draftee?
Let’s look at the 34 Missouri players who were a) recruited by Pinkel to Mizzou and b) selected in the NFL draft.
Gary Pinkel draftees
|2005||3||89||Atiyyah Ellison||DT||****||St. Louis, MO|
|2005||5||142||Damien Nash||RB||****||St. Louis, MO|
|2005||6||191||C.J. Mosley||DT||***||Waynesville, MO|
|2006||4||103||Brad Smith||QB||**||Youngstown, OH|
|2006||7||243||Tony Palmer||G||***||Midwest City, OK|
|2007||4||113||Brian Smith||DE||***||Denton, TX|
|2008||4||105||Will Franklin||WR||***||St. Louis, MO|
|2008||4||111||Martin Rucker||TE||***||St. Joseph, MO|
|2009||1||19||Jeremy Maclin||WR||***||St. Louis, MO|
|2009||1||32||Evander Hood||DE||***||Amarillo, TX|
|2009||2||55||William Moore||DB||***||Hayti, MO|
|2009||3||98||Chase Coffman||TE||***||Peculiar, MO|
|2009||5||139||Colin Brown||T||*||Braymer, MO|
|2009||6||199||Stryker Sulak||DE||**||Rockdale, TX|
|2010||1||19||Sean Weatherspoon||LB||**||Jasper, TX|
|2011||1||7||Aldon Smith||DE||***||Raytown, MO|
|2011||1||10||Blaine Gabbert||QB||*****||Ballwin, MO|
|2011||7||234||Andrew Gachkar||LB||**||Overland Park, KS|
|2012||3||78||Michael Egnew||TE||**||Plainview, TX|
|2013||1||13||Sheldon Richardson||DT||*****||St. Louis, MO|
|2013||3||97||Zaviar Gooden||LB||***||Pflugerville, TX|
|2014||2||60||Kony Ealy||DE||****||New Madrid, MO|
|2014||2||64||Justin Britt||T||**||Lebanon, MO|
|2014||6||188||E.J. Gaines||DB||***||Independence, MO|
|2014||7||249||Michael Sam||DE||**||Hitchcock, TX|
|2015||1||23||Shane Ray||DE||***||Shawnee Mission, KS|
|2015||2||49||Mitch Morse||G||***||Austin, TX|
|2015||2||58||Markus Golden||DE||***||St. Louis, MO|
|2015||6||201||Bud Sasser||WR||***||Denton, TX|
|2015||7||230||Marcus Murphy||RB||***||DeSoto, TX|
|2016||4||128||Evan Boehm||C||****||Lee's Summit, MO|
|2016||5||144||Connor McGovern||G||***||Fargo, ND|
|2016||5||160||Kentrell Brothers||OLB||***||Guthrie, OK|
|2017||1||22||Charles Harris||DE||**||Kansas City, MO|
Granted, Pinkel recruits will continue to cycle through the Mizzou program for another few years; fifth-year seniors from his final class (2015) wouldn’t be finished until 2019. Players like Tyler Howell, Terry Beckner Jr., J'Mon Moore, Anthony Sherrils, or Marcell Frazier might have a shot in the 2018 draft, and there's still plenty of time for someone like Beckner, Drew Lock, Kevin Pendleton, Paul Adams, Emanuel Hall, Nate Brown, Nate Howard, or Terez Hall (among others) to position themselves well for 2019.
But this is the 34-man list for now. Some random observations:
- There are two Rivals five-stars, four four-stars, 18 three-stars, eight two-stars, and a walk-on (Colin Brown). More two-stars than blue-chippers. Pinkel did tend to sign a small handful of four-star guys in an average year, but only six of them got picked. (That could grow with Lock, Beckner, etc. still out there.)
- Exactly half of them were selected in the top 100. Chase Coffman was the median pick at No. 98. Meanwhile, 13 of the 34 — nearly 40 percent — were picked in the first two rounds. Eight of those 13 were first-rounders.
- Positions: two quarterbacks (including Brad Smith, who wouldn’t play QB in the pros), two running backs, three receivers, three tight ends, six offensive linemen, 12 defensive linemen (!), four linebackers, two defensive backs. We all knew defensive line would be the most bountiful unit on this list, but damn. Meanwhile, though offense usually had an upper hand on defense during Pinkel’s tenure, that’s 18 defensive players to 16 offensive players.
- In terms of location, that’s seven from the St. Louis area, seven from the KC metro, six from elsewhere in Missouri (including two from the bootheel), 10 from Texas, two from Oklahoma, and one each from North Dakota and Ohio. If you’re looking for why Barry Odom was wanting to re-emphasize Texas to some degree in his recruiting, this is a pretty big hint.
Based on geography, position, star rating, etc., then, I’m thinking the most Gary Pinkel draftee has to be somebody who was a) a three-star recruit, b) from the Kansas City area (because it’s closer to the middle), c) a defender (preferably a lineman), and d) someone drafted between about the second and fourth round.
Nobody quite fits that bill, but Shane Ray comes really close. Congrats, Shane.