I felt as though I should share my thoughts on the Tigers in-state recruiting to this point. So far, they have only offered six prospects from Missouri, and have commitments from three of them, while two have committed to Alabama and K-State. Unfortunately, they are two of the top three overall so far I have had listed since this past winter. They are still in a strong position to land the last uncommitted offer.
I said back in February that Mizzou may only offer as few as 8 kids in-state before all is said and done, and I think 8 is still a possibility depending on how a few prospects fair in their senior seasons.
The following is a breakdown of things:
#1. Tre Bryant 5'9" 198 (4.49 38.6" VJ 4.0 pro agility 10' broad jump) RB St. Louis CBC received a Missouri offer at junior day back in February, but eliminated the Tigers last week and committed to Kansas State yesterday. Bryant is a gifted offensive weapon running,receiving and in the return game. He originally said he was going to wait until after the season and take all of his visits before making a decision. Will this still happen? Possibly. We'll have to wait and see if this takes place, and if Mizzou becomes a player again should it happen. I have had Bryant as the number one player in the state
While the Tigers liked Bryant and would have accepted a commitment from him, they were not heavily recruiting him or any running back at this point. They seem to be taking a wait and see approach with what is going to happen at that position this year. They are bringing in three running backs this fall camp should Abbington make it. They brought in two last year, and have Nate Strong waiting already on the commit list for 2016. The potential large number of backs on campus for 2016 also played a factor in Bryant's thought process.
Running back does not appear to be a main focus of the Tigers recruiting efforts at this point.
#2. Brendan Scales 6'3" 240 4.7 TE St. Louis Lafayette. The Tigers did not offer Scales until later then I thought they would. I thought he was a lock to receiver and offer from the Tigers at their junior day in February. Not sure hat the delay was. At that time, Scales had told me of his love of Mizzou football. An Alabama offer and subsequent visit to Bama were enough to change that. Scales has the potential to the number one player in the state, especially if he was going to play DL on the next level. Scales has the athleticism to be a future NFL player, if he wanted to play DE IMO. However, he told me he wants the ball in his hands and to play on offense. His value diminishes as an H-back/TE. He will be a good fit at Bama who utilizes players in a way they fit what Scales wants to do. Not sure he would be a good fit at Mizzou as a TE.
#3. Mizzou commit Tre Williams 6'5' 215 4.57 forty DE Rock Bridge has the most upside of any player in this class. He will need to learn the game and become a better football player, but he has the tools that Coach Kul can turn into a future NFL draft pick. He could ultimately be the top guy to emerge from this class in 3-4 years after he gets bigger, stronger and does what he needs to be the best he can be and play up to his athletic ability.
#4. A.J. Taylor 5'11" 190 ATH 4.59 39" Rockhurst is still very much considering the Tigers. Taylor is being considered for offense as either a slot receiver or running back. Right now, he is more of an athlete then a polished football player at any one position. Mizzou is in solid position at the moment, and has focused on Taylor since his outstanding effort at camp with them in 2014.
Those four are the elite level type guys at this point.
Bryce Banks 6'2" 190 CB/S Rock Bridge 4.5 forty looked like a high level D1 guy to me the first time I saw him play as a sophomore. Very athletic, can run, cover, hit and plays physical and at a high motor level at all times. I am not surprised the Tigers finally got around to offering him, as I have been high on his ability and potential for a while now. He is a bigger prospect then Chaminade's Roderick Campbell, and while not as fast as Campbell, his football skills are just as good and probably more versatile as far as where he can play. Banks has the potential to be a real steal for the Tigers.
OL commit Trystan Castillo 6'4' 296 4.96 forty is the top offensive line prospect in the state, and at a position the Tigers need in the class. Castillo will wind up at either OG or C at Mizzou. He is athletic and tenacious. He still has a lot to learn to be a contributor on the next level.
While I like guys like Boe Wilson and Chase Berhnardt, both are shorter offensive line prospects, and not really well suited for what Mizzou is trying to do along it's O-line. Same thing with Dylan Powell. He is undersized and best suited for center. It's been silly for anyone to try and link him and Mizzou this entire time as it just was never going to happen. Same with the other two.
OTHERS WORTHY OF POSSIBLE OFFERS
Roderick Campbell 5'11" 177 CB 4.46 forty 38" VJ Chaminade is a player that it surprises me that the Tigers have not shown more interest in. He is a sub-4.5 guy who has very good cover skills, and can also be useful in the return game. I thought for sure he might have received a Mizzou offer at or not long after the Tigers junior day in February. It does appear that the Tigers are looking at bigger corners in this class. While committed to Northwestern, many schools are still recruiting him. Again, the Tigers for whatever reason seem to have passed on him.
Skylar Thompson 6'2" 200 QB Ft. Osage committed to Kansas State for a little over a month. Thompson is a very talented prospect, but again, the Tigers aren't in real need of a QB at this point. Much like with RB, it is yet to be determined if one is needed for the 2016 class. Especially with Marvin Zanders showing some nice playmaking potential, and Drew Lock coming in as a true freshman who will most likely red-shirt. Skylar decided to pull the trigger for the Wildcats rather then wait and see if Mizzou would seriously recruit him at some point later on.
Wide receivers Roddrick Bryant 6'2" 190 CBC and Harry Ballard 6'2" 185 McCluer North are both talented athletes with solid receiver skills. Much like with QB and RB though, WR is not a high priority with the remainder of the the class at this time. That could change if a prospect the Tigers really wanted were available.
Bryant has been recovering from a knee injury he suffered that kept him out of his junior season and did not camp with the Tigers. His performance as a senior and how he looks will determine if Mizzou has more interest then they do presently.
Ballard has some other questions that the staff will be looking to have answered as to whether they would be willing to pursue him more heavily.
I personally like Rock Bridge's Hayden Johnson 6'3" 255 as a football player and potential DT prospect. Mizzou has gotten a good look at him the past few years, including this past June's team camp. Johnson, much like Scales, will play in the SEC on the offensive side of the ball for Arkansas. Hayden had hoped for a Tiger offer along with teammates and Mizzou commits Williams and Banks.
There are one or two remaining sleepers who could have seasons that catch the Tigers attentions; but with limited numbers and specific needs still to fill, that makes it more difficult for in-state prospects hoping for a Mizzou offer.
The Tigers really have focused needs along the defensive line at DE and DT. Not a lot of potential targets there. I like Hogan Prep's William Bradley-King 6'4" 220, who camped with the Tigers, but mostly at linebacker, where he won an MVP. His future is at DE. Will he be able to show enough as a senior for the Tigers to be able to evaluate him for that position over other prospects they have targeted currently playing the position?
Battle DE Plais Dow 6'6" 220 is a real sleeper after not seeing much varsity action as a junior. What can he produce as a senior? Would it be enough to catch Mizzou's attention?
While the final numbers will look good for the state as far as the number of D1 prospects who sign with colleges from the state of Missouri, the Tigers have reached the point of where they can be more discerning with the recruits they chose from. There are a number of guys who would have been nice additions to the program just a few years ago that simply would not be contributors based on the upgrade in overall talent level that staff has the program at.
The program has also reached a level to where not landing recent and current top prospects in the state can be easily overcome.
That is the reality of where Mizzou football is at.