5 main takeaways from Missouri's first day of Early Signing Period
The Missouri Tigers have been hot on the field and off it the past couple of months, riding a four-game winning streak into a Liberty Bowl appearance against Oklahoma State on New Year’s Eve and landing several big-time transfers.
There’s still work to be done on the recruiting trail, though coach Barry Odom has started to address one of his biggest weak spots by signing several talented players from the St. Louis area.
After the start of the Early Signing Period on Wednesday (which continues into Thursday and Friday), here are a few quick takeaways:
1. They still got their quarterback
After landing former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant for 2019 and ex-TCU QB Shawn Robinson for potentially the 2020 and 2021 seasons, it wouldn’t have been a big surprise to see 2019 commit Connor Bazelak — the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the class — decommit and sign with a school where he could get more playing time.
However, he stuck with his original commitment, signing with the Tigers on Wednesday morning:
— ShowMe19 (@MizzouShowMe) December 19, 2018
That’s good news for Odom and the Tigers, and it’ll be interesting to see how they use him both next year and in the years after.
2. D-Line Zou is alive and well
The Tigers signed one of their defensive line commits — Isaiah McGuire — and added two new players to the mix, end Darius Robinson out of Michigan and JUCO tackle Chris Daniels out of Texas.
End Shemar Pearl has been committed for a while, too, but hadn’t signed as of Wednesday afternoon. If the Tigers add him over the next couple of days, the defensive line class will be one with serious potential, including the chance to make an impact in 2019.
3. The secondary was a big focus
The Tigers’ biggest weakness on defense the past couple of years has been in the secondary. Though that unit improved greatly over the 2018 season, it still has room to grow.
That was clearly a focus in recruiting for Odom and his staff, and on Wednesday they landed six defensive backs, including prized 4-star safety Jalani Williams out of St. Louis:
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) December 19, 2018
Williams and the others will have a chance to make an impact right away, as the Mizzou secondary needs some depth next year.
4. They did a lot of their work via transfers
This month, the Tigers have landed Bryant, Robinson and ex-Arkansas receiver Jonathan Nance, setting up the offense nicely for 2019 and beyond. This is going to be a veteran team next fall, but there will still be a few holes to fill.
That’s what Odom and his staff have been working to address, as the Tigers lack the depth that teams at the top of the SEC have. That could change moving forward, and the signees gained on Wednesday will go a long way toward supplementing all the transfer talent Mizzou is bringing in.
5. There’s still work to be done
The Tigers still need to capitalize on their momentum from an 8-4 regular season. That means Odom’s streak of landing the No. 43 class in the nation and the No. 13 class in the SEC needs to end.
Prior to Wednesday, the Tigers had the No. 41 class in the country (still No. 13 in the SEC), but that needs to continue to rise before all is said and done.