Steeples Picks Missouri

De Smet (Mo.) defensive back Robert Steeples was recently attending a camp at Missouri when head coach Gary Pinkel approached and jokingly asked him to take off his Adidas wristbands, since Missouri is a Nike program.

"Why don't you give me some of those?" Steeples asked.

"To get those," Pinkel responded, "you have to be a Tiger."

Today, Steeples called Pinkel, and when the coach picked up the phone, all Steeples said was: "Coach, I need some of those wristbands."

Replied Pinkel: "Does that mean you're going to be a Tiger?"

"Yes sir," Steeples said.

And with this, the talented defensive back became Missouri's sixth recruit from the high school class of 2008, and eighth overall in next year's class. He chose MU over offers from Ole Miss and Northwestern in addition to interest from Iowa and Nebraska.

"I'm pretty excited about it," said Steeples, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound rising senior who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and 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.

Steeples, also an excellent student, visited MU this week, toured the facilities – football and academic – and came away more impressed than ever; he'd been to MU several times before. He wanted to wait a few days to see if the feeling remained before committing, he said.

"Days later I still had that same feeling," Steeples said. "It's a big relief. It's a huge decision, not just for four years but one that affects the rest of your life."

The other schools "didn't compare to Mizzou in my experience."

Steeples' commitment is a breath of fresh air for MU, which hasn't done well recruiting in the St. Louis area recently, particularly at the parochial schools. With the decision out of the way, he'll focus on healing from a groin injury and getting his team back to the state playoffs.

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