DeSmet's Steeples talks Mizzou

Reached for comment at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, DeSmet Jesuit junior Robert Steeples was in the weight room, working out. He took a break to answer some questions about his recruitment and college preferences, speaking in mature tones and detailing how academics are always the first priority.

And this is only part of what makes Steeples such an intriguing prospect for Mizzou.

A 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back, Steeples recorded 35 tackles and 12 pass breakups as a junior, along with 200 yards rushing in spot running back duty, a 29-yard average on kick returns and a 99-yard return for a touchdown while missing two games with a hand injury. He runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and is receiving interest from Mizzou, Wisconsin, Colorado and Kansas State.

"I'm open to anything," Steeples said. "I just got my first letter from Missouri the other day. It was most likely the kind of letter they send to all of the people on their mailing list, but it's a start."

Steeples has been to Wisconsin and Iowa and is planning a trip to Colorado. He recently visited MU for a junior day and came away impressed.

"It was pretty nice. I was very impressed by the indoor facilities," he said. "I [also] like how coach Pinkel has turned the program around."

He's an excellent student who is looking at studying architecture or sports medicine.

"First, the thing that my parents always told me was that academics come first. That's why I go to DeSmet. I'd also like good facilities and good, down-to-earth people," he said. "First, I want to graduate. But I'd also like the opportunity to play [fairly early]. But I want to find the best fit for me and let the on-the-field things" play out.

Steeples is a teammate of one of the state's most prized recruits, wide receiver Wes Kemp. Wisconsin is wooing both players, though Steeples doesn't have any offers yet, and the two have talked about playing together. MU is also recruiting Kemp very diligently.

Most schools are recruiting Steeples as a cornerback, but with his size, it's possible he could end up deeper in the secondary.

"Most schools are saying they'd start me out at cornerback and then move me to safety if that was best," he said. "I like to hit and I like to cover, so that's what I like about the safety position."

Gorwing up a huge fan of Charles Woodson, he would love to hear from Michigan. He also likes to watch tape of Deion Sanders and Ronnie Lott, and tries to incorporate both styles – Sanders' impeccable coverage skills and Lott's teeth-rattling tackles – into his game.

He's not planning to commit any time soon, preferring instead to wait and see how things develop with his current suitors and who else begins to recruit him. As of right now, Colorado and Wisconsin have shown the most interest, as Steeples has had a chance to chat with each school's head coach. Should Mizzou elect to put the full-court press on him, though, it's safe to say he'll be very receptive.

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