The Missouri football team didn’t accomplish its goal of retaining in-state recruits, and its class ranking is down from the previous two years, but one analyst says the Tigers still had a strong showing.
Missouri signed nine in-state players of the 15 it offered scholarships to, below the team’s goal of 90 percent. Rivals.com ranked the Tigers’ recruiting class 38th, down from 29th last year.
Despite that, recruiting analyst Jon Kirby said the program accomplished what it needed to.
“Rankings are sometimes deceiving because different teams recruit in different ways,” he said.
Kirby said Missouri filled its biggest need by signing 13 linemen, including six out of junior college.
“They really needed to strengthen their offensive and defensive lines,” Kirby said. “Signing linemen out of junior college allows them to practice with the team this spring and be better prepared in the fall.”
David Yost, Missouri recruiting director and quarterback coach, said he expects transfers Louis Pintola, a 6-foot-5, 310-pounder from Los Angeles, and Matt Russell, also 6-5, 310, from Vallejo, Calif., to compete for playing time on the offensive line next season.
“We felt we needed a few guys with experience to come in and make an immediate impact,” he said.
Kirby also said the signing of quarterback Chase Daniel is key in Missouri’s recruiting future.
“In terms of an impact recruit receiving media coverage, Chase Daniel is hands down the biggest player to sign in the Gary Pinkel era,” Kirby said.
Daniel won the EA Sports/Student Sports National Player of the Year Award and led Southlake-Carroll to the Texas 5A state championship. Former recipients of the award include Emmitt Smith and Payton Manning.
Yost said the early attention Missouri gave to Daniel was crucial in his decision to sign with the Tigers.
“We were the first school to offer Chase a scholarship,” Yost said. “His parents mentioned that it was a big deal to them. We think that if you’re the first school to make an offer to a kid instead of the fourth, it really shows your interest and leaves an impression.”
Daniel kept his verbal commitment to MU despite later receiving offers from Florida and Texas, among others.
Missouri’s spread offense was another draw for Daniel, Yost said.
“He definitely wanted to go somewhere where he could use his talent,” he said. “The things he’s great at are seeing things, moving around and getting himself out of trouble.”
Rivals.com ranked MU’s class seventh in the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma, No. 2 overall, and Nebraska, No. 5 overall, had the strongest classes in the Big 12 according to the Web site.