On Wednesday afternoon, Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel talked about this year's recruiting class. Coach Pinkel cited Missouri's 48 wins over the past five seasons, which ranks ninth among BCS-AQ schools over that time period (2007-2011). He also emphasized that the Missouri football program has graduated 96% of its seniors since 2007.
"I feel very good about this signing class," said Coach Pinkel. "We trust our system (of evaluation), and I would suggest that it's working reasonably well………………………………………. I think this is a very good class…………………………………….. We felt without question that we hit our numbers for the most part. I feel good about that. We recruit athletes, guys that can run, and running potential, and good people, and players that want to work hard, and be a part of who we are about."
"Overall, I felt very good about the class," continued Coach Pinkel. "And, we're excited about getting them in here in June."
Coach Pinkel said that due to the transition to the SEC, that there were some unknowns in the midst of this recruiting cycle. He acknowledged that he and his staff had to re-recruit their commits following the mid-season announcement of Missouri move to the SEC.
He also talked about how Missouri is venturing into new recruiting markets in the southeast.
"I think it will be fun recruiting to the SEC this year," said Coach Pinkel.
Coach Pinkel said that he didn't watch Dorial Green-Beckham's televised announcement. But he heard the screams of those who were watching it, and he jumped from his chair in excitement.
"I was pretty excited," said Coach Pinkel. "It was a great moment for the University of Missouri . It was a great moment for our football program, our athletic department, our fans, when ESPN has the number one player in the United States of America, and he puts a Mizzou hat on."
"He's a great football player," explained Coach Pinkel, talking about the significance of signing Dorial Green-Beckham. "I think we've grown. I think the Mizzou stock market went up today."
Coach Pinkel said that he thinks that playing in the SEC will enhance Missouri's recruiting.
"We're going to be in Atlanta recruiting," explained Coach Pinkel. "We're going to be in Florida recruiting. We're still going to be in Texas. And, Missouri is our number one recruiting market."
Coach Pinkel was asked about the success that he's had in getting players to the NFL, and the affect that has on recruiting?
"The thing that I'm the most proud of when I go into homes, is seeing kids graduate," replied Coach Pinkel. "To me, that's my mark someday, our graduation rate. It's my responsibility that when kids come to Missouri, they graduate from college. To me, that's the most important thing that I do. You've got to win enough games to do it. We all know that. We sell the winning. We sell the guys going in the draft. We sell the All-Americans that we have at different positions."
Coach Pinkel cited the need for Missouri to invest in facilities to be competitive in the SEC. He talked about what it will take to be successful in recruiting in the southeast.
"It's always about going down and earning trust," explained Coach Pinkel. "That's what it is. The best thing that you can do is to have your players be successful, and then go back home. That's what eventually happened here. They go back home and tell their coaches, ‘Hey it's a great place. We love being there.' And when you hear those things, and obviously see the results of winning, and see the results of players graduating, and become great players, and so on and so forth. All of those things are important. It all comes down to treating people right, and being first-class in everything that you do. You follow up. You're very honest. I think all of those things are very, very important."
"It's still about people," explained Coach Pinkel, who intimated that he and his staff will be spending time in the southeast. He said that he has a speaking engagement coming up in Orlando (FL).
Following the press conference, I asked Coach Pinkel how this class might compare to previous classes?
"We'll see (how it compares)," said Coach Pinkel. Then he started to talk about the possibility that some of these 2012 signees might play.
"Yeah. I would suggest that some of them will (play as freshmen)," said Coach Pinkel. "A lot of that has to do with your depth."
Coach Pinkel also indicated that he doesn't see the need to try to add to this class.
"We've already hit our numbers for next year," explained Coach Pinkel. "We'll be fine."