What you need to know about Mizzou’s 2020 recruiting class
The Missouri Tigers have moved on from coach Barry Odom, who was fired following the Tigers’ season-ending win over Arkansas.
Now, after hiring Eli Drinkwitz from Appalachian State, recruiting will be a huge topic of discussion. Mizzou’s 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes all ranked 13th in the SEC, which frankly isn’t acceptable for a program with the goals Mizzou has.
The Tigers have lost 3 commitments since Odom was fired, but a number of players seem to be coming around on the Drinkwitz era as he reaches out to try to get them back. Also, since Mizzou only has 13 commits in the class, adding quantity to go with quality will be important.
Here’s what you need to know about the Tigers’ 2020 recruiting class as it stands right now (all rankings via 247Sports):
- National rank: 51
- SEC rank: 12
- 5-stars: 0
- 4-stars: 1
- 3-stars: 12
Best player: 3-star WR Jay Maclin
Maclin is the cousin of former Mizzou star WR Jeremy Maclin, so continuing the Maclin legacy in Columbia is hugely important for the Tigers. He’s the No. 10 overall recruit from Missouri, and he comes from St. Louis — an area that is vitally important for the Tigers to recruit.
For Kirkwood this year, Maclin was an all-around star, playing receiver, defensive back and kick returner. In a game against Webster Groves (which Kirkwood won), Maclin scored 5 touchdowns — 4 receiving and 1 on a pick-6.
Coming in as a true freshman next season, Maclin could contribute right away in the return game — an area in which his famous cousin certainly left his mark at Mizzou. At 5-11 and 180 pounds, he’s also a guy who could compete to fill the slot receiver role that Johnathon Johnson will be vacating.
Assessing the QB: Brady Cook
The Tigers only have 1 quarterback in the 2020 class so far, and it’s 3-star pro-style QB Brady Cook out of Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis (see, there’s that St. Louis connection again). He’ll join a quarterback room that should be having an open competition next spring and summer.
Cook’s pro-style skills will fit in well with a QB group that includes TCU transfer Shawn Robinson (who sat out the 2019 season), redshirt freshman Connor Bazelak (who tore his ACL against Arkansas last month) and redshirt junior Taylor Powell.
Especially after Bazelak’s injury, Robinson will be the favorite to win the job heading into the season, but it will be interesting to see where Cook falls in the pecking order. He’ll probably take a redshirt in 2020, but anything can happen.
Biggest need filled: Offensive line
The Tigers are losing Yasir Durant and Tre’vour Wallace-Simms to graduation and Trystan Colon-Castillo recently announced he was declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft. That’s 3 starters the Tigers will need to replace.
They have some young guys who can step into bigger roles, but so far, this 2020 class has some intriguing offensive linemen to add to the mix, too. The Tigers have commitments from 3-star OG Drake Heismeyer and 3-star OT Mitchell Walters, both from the St. Louis area. They’re 2 of the Tigers’ 4 highest-rated commits at the moment. 3-star OT Ray Curry Jr. out of Memphis is also committed.
Heismeyer has perhaps the best chance to start as a true freshman, but a couple of those guys could work their way into the rotation by 2021.
Biggest needs that need to be filled: Defensive back and tight end
For a team that is losing DeMarkus Acy, Ronnell Perkins, Richaud Floyd and Khalil Oliver to graduation, the Tigers don’t seem to be focusing too heavily on defensive backs during this cycle. Yes, they brought in a number of players in the secondary last year, including 4-star S Jalani Williams, but replenishing depth is always a good idea.
Right now, the only defensive back in the class is 3-star S Tyler Jones, and there aren’t a lot of guys that play in the secondary out there who are trending toward the Tigers. It’ll be interesting to see how Drinkwitz handles that situation.
Another situation to keep an eye on is at tight end, where Albert Okwuegbunam has declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. The Tigers landed Messiah Swinson a couple of years ago and Daniel Parker Jr. figures to be the starter as a junior in 2020, but there needs to be some depth at the position (as well as a potential replacement should Parker have a big year in 2020 and declare early). Right now, Mizzou’s class doesn’t have a tight end.
Best position group: Wide receiver
As mentioned above, the jewel of the Missouri 2020 class is Maclin. Mizzou also has a commitment from 3-star Jaylon Carlies out of Florida. But, the reason that receiver is mentioned as a potential best position group for this class is a player who has been flirting with Mizzou for a while. Let’s discuss him now…
Best players still chasing: 4-star WR Javien Hester and 3-star RB Elijah Young
Hester is considered a “soft” commit to the Tigers, but Drinkwitz needs to make him a top priority. He’s the No. 290 overall player in the 247Sports composite rankings and would be the jewel of Mizzou’s class. Plus, he comes from the Tulsa area, and Oklahoma is a state the Tigers need to continue to recruit in order to have success.
Then there’s Young, the talented all-purpose back who seems to be a rising star. He backed off his pledge to Mizzou when Odom was fired, but Drinkwitz has already reached out and made sure Young knows he’s a top priority. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with both Hester and Young next week.