TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER
The commitment of Case Cook last summer followed a few other commitments right after the Night at the Zou event and came as a surprise when the center from Georgia passed over several other offers and chose the Missouri Tigers. He also turned down offers from more schools late in the process. Though he doesn’t play a more high-profile position like quarterback, running back or wide receiver, Cook could turn out to be the best of the bunch in this class. For now he looks like he should solidify an area of need for Missouri in the future with a chance to earn playing time early despite some experienced upperclassmen ahead of him on the depth chart.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER
The last member of the 2017 signing class for the Tigers, junior college defensive tackle Malik Young probably had the coaching staff sweating about whether he’d actually sign with Missouri. Young, who picked the Tigers over Florida, has drawn comparisons to standout Terry Beckner Jr. because of his size and athletic ability and if those are accurate he could make a big impact on Mizzou’s defensive line this fall.
Wide receiver Da'Ron Davis, the first commit from this class, has proven himself to be a playmaker as a running back, wide receiver and in the return game and could be the Tigers’ next great wide receiver in a few years.
It’s not often you call a linebacker a playmaker, but Aubrey Miller proved to be just that during his senior season in high school with highlight-worthy hits and interception returns that helped his team go on to win a state championship.
BIGGEST RECRUITING WIN
While several Mizzou commitments turned down interest and offers from elsewhere late in the recruiting process, which was key to this class coming together, Young was a guy who visited Florida and Missouri in the final week before Signing Day and ultimately chose the Tigers late on Signing Day.
Speedy undersized wide receiver O'shae Clark was a guy who put up big numbers against the best competition in Texas but didn’t receive much recruiting attention. The Tigers offered him just a few days before Signing Day after losing two decommitments at wide receiver, but Clark looks like he could be playmaker in the mold of smaller guys like Henry Josey, Marcus Murphy and Russell Hansbrough.
Running back Isaiah Miller will enter the 2017 season with an advantage over his skill position classmates because he’s already on campus as an early enrollee and has the benefit of being able to go through offseason conditioning and spring practices. He’s also probably fourth on the depth chart already behind Damarea Crockett, Ish Witter and Nate Strong. That means he should get plenty of reps this spring, which can only help him get better.
Defensive tackle Kobie Whiteside and safety Tyree Gillespie have already earned plenty of praise from their future coaches, in particular because of their college-ready size. Whiteside weighed in at 316 pounds during his official visit and Gillespie weighed 207, which would make them among the biggest players at their respective position groups whenever they arrive on campus. Those position groups are also areas of need because of either lack of numbers (defensive tackle) or lack of clear-cut starters (safety).
Jamal Brooks, an inside linebacker from Alabama, and Cook were two of the more vocal leaders with this class once they committed to the Tigers. Both have been quick to point out that they aren’t the leaders of this group, because many of the commits have grown close, but Brooks and Cook have certainly been key guys in helping this class come together and also grow with new commitments.
The 2016 class had some surprises with guys like Crockett and wide receiver Dimetrios Mason turning into impact players early as true freshmen. So, too, did junior college transfer Tyler Howell, who stepped in at left tackle as a junior and solidified that spot. In the 2017 class it’s easy to look at the three most experienced guys, junior college defensive tackles Young, Walter Palmore and Rashad Brandon, and imagine them contributing early and often to a position group that lost two players to graduation and another to transfer and has two players returning from knee injuries.
MOST SURPRISING COMMIT
For a while it looked like Missouri wouldn’t take a quarterback in this class and then for a while that player was Reyondous Estes. Marvin Zanders’ transfer meant the Tigers needed a quarterback but once Estes flipped to Minnesota it seemed like getting a decent QB prospect in this class would be difficult. Instead, Missouri was able to flip Taylor Powell from Wake Forest less than two weeks before Signing Day. Not only did the Tigers upgrade at the position from Estes to Powell but the Arkansas native should have a chip on his shoulder after being overlooked by the rest of the Southeastern Conference.
MORE SIGNING DAY 2017 COVERAGE
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