COLUMBIA — Scott Blade didn’t know anything about Finis Stribling IV when he decided in January to coach the football team at Independence High School in Nashville, Tenn.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
But Blade quickly learned that in Stribling, who became Missouri’s ninth verbal commitment for the Class of 2014 on Monday, he had a player that not only looked the part of a star cornerback, but the work ethic of one, too. You can find his highlight video here.
“He passes the eyeball test,” Blade said of Stribling, a two-year starter who’s 6 feet and 175 pounds. “He has incredible measurables. A 10.93 100 (meter dash). A 4.45 40 (yard dash). And a 38 ½-inch vertical.
“And above all else, he’s a great kid. We work out at 5:45 in the morning and he plays basketball, runs track and he didn’t miss a single workout. He still came in the morning and worked out with our strength coach. He’s putting in 12-hour days and still going to these track meets and winning.”
Stribling, whose other offers came from Youngstown State and Tennessee-Martin, currently has no star rating from Rivals.com. But Blade said several SEC schools have been asking about Stribling while they also reach out to his highly-recruited teammates, four-star athlete Vic Wharton and three-star defensive back Rashaan Gaulden.
“Everyone says they like Finis, they just want him to go to their one-day camps,” Blade said. “I was just on the phone with another coach asking about him. It wasn’t like the offers weren’t going to come in.”
But Stribling, whose lead recruiter was safeties coach Alex Grinch, didn’t waste any time contemplating other possibilities when Grinch officially extended him the offer Monday afternoon.
“I got off the phone at 3:30 p.m., I talked to my parents at 8 o’clock and I called back at 8:30 to verbally commit,” Stribling said.
Stribling said he was surprised by the offer “from a big program like that, I’d figure they’d wait until the last minute and contact others first.”
“That’s ideally where I wanted to play,” Stribling said of the SEC. “I like Missouri’s academics and I looked up their facilities online and I like those. They (the coaches) were as excited about (the commitment) as I was.”
Stribling is the second defensive back in the 2014 class to commit to Missouri, joining East St. Louis safety Greg Taylor. Stribling is also the second prospect from Tennessee to commit, joining two-star receiver Thomas Richard from Nashville.
Blade, who was the head coach at Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee for four seasons, said Missouri has done a good job of promoting itself in the state.
“I have noticed a more concerted recruiting effort inside the state lines,” Blade said. “They’ve done probably the best of anybody in terms of getting information out and mailing it to kids.”