Early Signing Day primer: What you need to know about Missouri's 2023 class
Missouri came away with a handful of highly rated players and a wealth of potential with its 2023 class, as the Tigers look to grow stronger as a team that is largely viewed as being just a few tweaks and key additions away from finally turning the corner and becoming a program to watch in the SEC.
Here’s a look into what to know and how things have played out with the latest recruiting class that ranks 36th nationally, as well as who is committed with Early Signing Day on the horizon:
- 4-star TE Brett Norfleet, Francis Howell (Saint Charles, Missouri)
- 4-star WR Joshua Manning, Lee’s Summit (Lee’s Summit, Missouri)
- 4-star S Marvin Burks Jr., Cardinal Ritter College Prep (St. Louis, Missouri)
- 4-star QB Gabarri Johnson, Lincoln (Tacoma, Washington)
- 3-star OT Logan Reichert, Raytown (Kansas City, Missouri)
- 3-star WR Marquis Johnson, Dickinson (Dickinson, Texas)
- 3-star RB Jamal Roberts, St Mary’s (Saint Louis, Missouri)
- 3-star EDGE Jahkai Lang, Troy Buchanan (Troy, Missouri)
- 3-star OT Brandon Solis, Lipscomb Academy (Nashville, Tennessee)
- 3-star WR Daniel Blood, Destrehan (Destrehan, Louisiana)
- 3-star CB Shamar McNeil, American Heritage (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
- 3-star LB Triston Newson, Northeast C.C. (Norfolk, Nebraska)
- 3-star EDGE Serigne Tounkara, Clear Springs (League City, Texas)
- 3-star WR Nicholas DeLoach, Cahokia (East Saint Louis, Illinois)
- 3-star LB Brayshawn Littlejohn, Gaffney (Gaffney, South Carolina)
- 3-star S Phillip Roche, Merrillville (Merrillville, Indiana)
- Unrated K Blake Craig, Liberty North (Liberty, Missouri)
- Unrated ATH Jordon Harris, Pine Bluff (Pine Bluff, Arkansas)
Highest-rated player: Brett Norfleet, TE
Leading the pack in this class to this point is the 4-star tight end Norfleet of Francis Howell (Saint Charles, Missouri). The 6-foot-7, 220-pounder is ranked as the No. 14 player at his position for the 2023 class, the No. 8 overall prospect in the state of Missouri and the No. 241 overall prospect nationally.
For a group that could afford to bolster itself on offense, generally speaking, and without a true standout tight end, this addition could pay dividends down the line. Norfleet also holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Miami and Ohio State.
Did Missouri bolster the QB room? Yes
This position has been a question mark for the program in recent years, and while Brady Cook is showing upside and seems to have the backing of the team and coaches, there has still been an outside call from fans at several points for a change at signal-caller (warranted or not).
Missouri added 1 quarterback to the class ahead of Early Signing Day in 4-star signal-caller Gabarri Johnson out of Lincoln (Tacoma, Washington). Johnson is the No. 21 quarterback prospect nationally in the Class of 2023, the No. 4 player in the state and the No. 348 player in the nation.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out in coming seasons with Cook continuing to develop, Sam Horn and now Johnson in the mix.
Best position group: Wide receiver/tight end
Freshman standout wide receiver Luther Burden was an important piece of the team’s offense this season and certainly made his presence felt when he was utilized correctly. But the Tigers need to continue to get deeper at pass-catcher as they look to become consistently stronger on offense. The 2 highest-rated players for the Class of 2023 that the Tigers have ahead of Early Signing Day are a tight end and a wideout — Norfleet and Manning.
Outside of this pair, the Tigers also added 3-star wide receiver Marquis Johnson of Dickinson (Dickinson, Texas), who comes in as the No. 80 wide receiver in the nation for this class, the 86th-ranked overall prospect in the state of Texas and the No. 557 overall prospect in the country.
Fellow 3-star wideout Daniel Blood out of Destrehan (Destrehan, Louisiana) is the No. 37 prospect in the state of Louisiana, the No. 134 wide receiver in the class and the No. 960 overall player in the nation. The 4th and lowest-rated receiver, according to the 247Sports Composite, who Mizzou has also brought on is 3-star prospect Nicholas DeLoach of Cahokia (East Saint Louis, Illinois), who is the No. 23 player in the state of Illinois and the No. 163 receiver in the class.
Biggest need filled: Wide receiver/tight end
Burden is a do-it-all player who was been an asset, but he can’t be the only one. Wide receiver Dominic Lovett quietly established himself as one of the best receivers in the SEC early in the season, but he’s not returning as he’s looking for a change of scenery in the transfer portal.
Depth at pass-catcher is always helpful, especially as Missouri looks for some major improvement on offense heading into next season (though play-calling has been more of a culprit than talent). Between the transfer portal and the addition of 5 players between the tight end and wide receiver positions, the Tigers have a good bit to work with, including 1 player still classified as an “athlete” expected to be used as a tight end at the next level.
Former Oklahoma wide receiver Theo Wease Jr., who has garnered some hype, is also headed to the Show Me State, where he could make a big impact.
Flipped commitment: Marvin Burks Jr., S, 4-star
Missouri got some help at defensive back with 1 of the more notable flips lately, snatching the 4-star safety Burks Jr. of Cardinal Ritter College Prep (Saint Louis, Missouri) from Ole Miss. According to the 247Sports Composite, Burks is the No. 30 safety in the nation, the No. 10 overall prospect in the state of Missouri and the No. 326 overall player nationally.
Burks visited Missouri 3 times after his verbal commitment to Ole Miss on Oct. 21, becoming the 17th player Mizzou ultimately was able to add to its class.
Final takeaways on this class
The Tigers recruited the state of Missouri well, with their top 3 commitments coming from the state, and had a relatively even mixture of offensive and defensive commitments. Missouri quietly had 1 of the best defenses in the nation last season, consistently a top-25 unit, though it didn’t always get the credit it deserved because it was overshadowed by the struggles of the offense.
The Tigers added some solid pieces on that side of the ball to help continue that defensive success in the future and made some potentially key additions as they continue to try to work the kinks out on offense. How they put it all together in the future will be something to keep an eye on.