COLUMBIA — MU, after a 12-2 run that included an SEC East Championship and a Cotton Bowl victory, has managed to rake in the 12th-ranked recruiting class in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are ranked lower. The SEC has 14 teams.
That sounds pretty bad. But this is, generally speaking, where coach Gary Pinkel's recruiting classes have always been.
Pinkel’s recruiting classes over the past 10 years are, on average, ranked 31st in the nation. The class of 2014 is ranked 35th.
When Missouri was in the Big 12, 35th was much higher in the conference rankings. There are only four Big 12 teams above Missouri in the 2014 class rankings.
The SEC has seven of the top 10 ranked classes, which makes 35thseem worse than mediocre. But this is the same level of players that Pinkel has used to bring Missouri to nine bowl appearances in the last 11 years.
The Tigers' average recruit for 2014 is a 2.79 star, according to recruiting website Rivals.com.
Some key players on the 2013-2014 SEC East championship team were two- and three-star recruits out of high school. L’Damian Washington, Justin Britt, E.J. Gaines and Henry Josey were all three-star recruits.
Michael Sam, a unanimous All-American, was a two-star recruit. His class was ranked 35th.
Chase Daniel, arguably the best quarterback in Missouri history, was a three-star recruit in 2005. Daniel’s recruiting class, which also included star tight end Chase Coffman, was ranked 39th.
The class of 2005, which only had one four-star recruit, led the Tigers to their first 12-win season in school history in 2007.
This year, Pinkel brings in a four-star offensive lineman and four-star wide receiver in the Tigers’ 28 player freshman class. Seven of the players are ranked in the top 50 in the nation.