Pinkel more than pleased with 2007 class

Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel announced what he believes is one of the best classes in recent MU history Wednesday afternoon.

The class, 27 deep including one player currently enrolled in prep school and several others that still have significant academic work to do, finished the day ranked 39th in the nation.

Pinkel praised the group, but warned it will be a while before full evaluations can be made.

"I think this might be one of the best classes that we have had since we've been here. Time will tell, it always does," he said. "We will be able to evaluate that as the years go on. Certainly, I think any time you can hit your offensive and defensive line goals, that's really very, very important and we did that. I think there is a lot of speed, which we have upgraded year after year since we have been here. We feel we accomplished that goal."

Pinkel also spoke to the overall balance this class possesses. "We've always wanted to try and get balance in classes. That's important because if you go back to back years where you don't quite hit your quota, then your going to suffer for it down the road and sometimes through attrition that can happen anyway," he said.

Last year, Pinkel felt the staff didn't do a good enough job in recruiting the state of Missouri. In snagging nearly the same amount of players this year, though, his view has changed.

"We did a good job in the state again," he said. "We had 10 players in the state of Missouri. We look at it as 13 [including players from Kansas and Illinois]. We have several players on campus right now. That is a huge plus for us. They are working out right now, all defensive players. My staff works very, very hard. They are good people. Certainly very appreciative of all the efforts that go (into recruiting), the tireless hours that you spend in this process."

The new facilities at MU will help in the recruiting future. Pinkel touched on the fact he didn't think they helped much this year, but should in recruiting the class. "We've got a great sell at the University of Missouri, obviously. I think one of the greatest facilities, but one of the best things that we have are the people here," he said.

"I am thankful for all those that are involved. I am very pleased and happy that we have these kind of people at Missouri that makes this such a great place," he added.

The academic progress of several players could go a long way in determining the true value of the class.

Wide receiver Rolandis Woodland is currently enrolled in a prep school in Cincinnati. "He has some work to do, so it will be a work in progress to see when he's able to get here," MU recruiting coordinator Dave Yost said.

Possible junior college transfer Jason Townson is another player with academic issues; he had been deleted from many pre-signing lists, but Yost feels he will be at MU this fall. "He's got to finish up and get his (Associate's) Degree because he was a non-qualifier out of high school. He's put himself in a position that we feel he will be here in the fall. With a junior college guy if you don't think he is going to make it, there is no reason in signing them," explained Yost.

He also explained that the staff wouldn't have taken chances on players it didn't believ had good chances to make the grade.

"We project pretty much all these guys to be in the class," Yost said. "There are some guys that have some real work to do. If they don't make it, we will help them with junior college or prep school. For the most part, the large majority of them will be here in the fall and really it is a pretty strong class academically."

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