It will be exactly one week until signing day tomorrow, and the Missouri Tigers are still working hard to strengthen it's 2012 recruiting class along the defensive line. ShowMeMizzou.com has learned that the Tigers will be hosting a big time defensive tackle from the state of Pennsylvania this coming weekend.
Three-star DT Harold Brantley 6'3" 280 4.7 forty from Hershey (PA) tells us that he will be making his way to Columbia (MO) for the weekend.
"I am heading to Missouri for an official visit this coming Friday," said Brantley. " The Tigers last Friday after talking to them awhile and offered and set up a visit, and I am excited to come in and check out what they have to offer. I like what Coach Grinch has had to say and I want to see things for myself."
Brantley knew a little about the Tiger program before he started talking seriously with Missouri coaches.
"I know they are a good football program who wins a lot and they have graduated some pretty good guys to the NFL recently. They are also heading to the SEC which is a great conference. I will find out anything else I need to know on my visit. They definitely have a shot. I am going to go in there with an open mind, and if I feel that they are a better fit for me then I will pick them," he said.
Harold, who also played fullback as well as defensive tackle, ran the ball for over 735 yards and 11 touchdowns, while recording 40 tackles and two sacks and returned a kick off 90 yards for a score, said that the Tiger coaches said he reminded them of a current athletic Tiger defensive tackle.
"Coach said they like me as a 3-technique in the defense, but we will talk more about that when I am there. They did say my athleticism I have playing defensive line was a lot like one of their current players, (Sheldon) Richardson."
Brantley, who is committed to Syracuse currently, said that while he is still committed, things could change depending on how his visit goes.
"I am still with Syracuse, but they were the only visit I took, so I want to make sure that I am making the right decision for myself in the end and seeing what else is out there," he said.
The "Hershey Hulk" as one local publication named him, knows going into his visit what he will be looking for to help him make a final decision of where he may want to play football and go to school.
"Really what it all comes down to is that I want to play on a defense that attacks for a school that wins, that will go to bowls games, give me a chance to play at the next level and help me leave there with my degree. I think I want to major in communications,"said Brantley.
Brantley, who also plays power forward for his unbeaten 15-0 basketball team at Hersey, and is averaging 13ppg and 8 rebounds, had his first dunk of the season last week. He also is a standout in track in the throwing events.
He talked about his athleticism, and playing fullback and how that helps him on defense.
"It really helped me from a conditioning standpoint at 280lbs running the ball. Being a fullback and coming out of a three-point stance like on defense also helped me with my explosion off the ball. I think it also helped me I believe with being able to play sideline to sideline with my lateral quickness, and in understanding offenses more. However, once I graduate high school I know my days of running the ball will be over."
I asked Harold when he felt a final decision would come regarding his final college choice?
"I plan on making a decision early next week. I plan on coming back after my Missouri visit and sitting down and talking things over with my parents. My Dad is fine with the distance, but I can tell my Mom is a little unsure. She will be coming with me on the visit, and I think that will ease her concerns. I also have an Aunt and Uncle who just moved a couple of hours away from there to Lee's Summit,Missouri. So, I have family there."
Hersey(PA) Head Coach Mark Painter had this to say about his talented defensive tackle earlier in the year.
"Harold is a very explosive young man who is just starting to mature and is very, very athletic," Painter explained. "He is very cognizant about how he plays and what he does on the field and has a high motor and works hard."
ShowMeMizzou.com will keep you updated following Harold Brantley's visit and on what his decision will be.