Based on the players expected to sign Wednesday with Missouri, Rivals.com ranks the Tigers’ class as the 35th best in the nation. Pretty good, right?
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Well, that ranks 12th in the Southeastern Conference — ahead of only Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
Nine of the nation’s top 15 recruiting classes are in the SEC, led by Alabama, which has five five-star commits and 13 four-star commits in a 26-player class.
“If you look at Alabama’s class, you could argue that, not only has it been the best class that Nick Saban has signed while he’s been at Alabama, it may be one of the best classes of offensive line personnel — regardless of program, regardless of year,” ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill said Monday during a teleconference. “That’s where the strength is. … It’s a sensational class. Time will tell how it pans out. But on paper, right now, as we go into Wednesday, it certainly does look to be exceptional.”
The same can be said for several SEC programs. Texas A&M (third), Tennessee (fourth), LSU (sixth), Florida (seventh), Georgia (eighth), Auburn (10th), Kentucky (13th) and Mississippi (15th) also boast highly regarded classes.
Additionally, South Carolina (26th) and Arkansas (31st) are ranked ahead of Missouri.
Still, how much does that matter?
Since Rivals.com started tracking such things in 2002, the Tigers have never been ranked higher than 21st.
During the five seasons prior to the 12-win 2008 Cotton Bowl season, Missouri’s recruiting classes ranked 38th on average and the last five recruiting classes — prior to the 12-win 2014 Cotton Bowl season — checked in 36th on average.
Below, we take a look at what remains from the previous four classes.
Looking ahead to 2014, Missouri returns four starters on offense — center Evan Boehm (class of 2012), right guard Connor McGovern (2011), right tackle Mitch Morse (2010) and wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (2012) — and another four on defense — tackles Matt Hoch (2010) and Lucas Vincent (2010), linebacker Kentrell Brothers (2011) and strong safety Braylon Webb (2010).
Of course, there are key contributors who weren’t regular starters in each class as well.
2013 Missouri recruiting class (21)
• Rivals.com ranking: 41
• Returning starters*: 0
• Returning contributors**: 3
• Quarterbacks (2): Trent Hosick (3 stars, Staley), Eddie Printz (3 stars, Marietta, Ga.)
• Offensive line (2): Alec Abeln (3 stars, St. Louis), Clay Rhodes (3 stars, Blue Valley)
• Wide receivers (1): J’Mon Moore (3 stars, Missouri City, Texas)
• Tight end (1): Jason Reese (3 stars, Euless, Texas)
• Defensive line (6): DT Josh Augusta** (3 stars, Peoria, Ill.), DT Nate Crawford (3 stars, Pensacola, Fla.), DE Charles Harris (2 stars, Lincoln Prep), DT A.J. Logan (3 stars, Columbia Rock Bridge), DE Marcus Loud (3 stars, Houston), DT DeQuinton Osborne (2 stars, Grand Prairie, Texas)
• Linebackers (2): Eric Beisel (3 stars, Fenton, Mo.), Joey Burkett (3 stars, Jefferson City)
• Secondary (4): CB Aarion Penton** (3 stars, St. Louis), S Shaun Rupert (3 stars, Montgomery, Ala.), CB Anthony Sherrils (3 stars, Hogan Prep), S Duron Singleton** (3 stars, Fresno, Calif.)
PLAYERS WHO HAVE MOVED ON (3)
RB Chase Abbington (non-qualifier), OL Harneet Gill (left team), DT Antar Thompson (non-qualifier)
2012 Missouri recruiting class (19)
• Rivals.com ranking: 31
• Returning starters*: 1
• Returning contributors**: 11
• Quarterback (1): Maty Mauk** (3 stars, Kenton, Ohio)
• Offensive line (2): Evan Boehm* (4 stars, Lee’s Summit West), Jordan Williams (3 stars, Denton, Texas)
• Running backs (2): Russell Hansbrough** (3 stars, Arlington, Texas), Morgan Steward (3 stars, Staley)
• Wide receivers (2): Levi Copelin** (3 stars, Broken Arrow, Okla.), Dorial Green-Beckham** (5 stars, Springfield, Mo.)
• Tight end (1): Sean Culkin** (3 stars, Largo, Fla.)
• Defensive line (4): DT Harold Brantley** (2 stars, Hershey, Pa.), DE Markus Golden** (3 stars, Hutchinson CC), DE Rickey Hatley** (3 stars, Atlanta, Texas), DT Evan Winston (3 stars, Muskegon Heights, Mich.)
• Linebackers (2): Donavin Newsom** (3 stars, St. Louis), Michael Scherer** (3 stars, St. Louis)
• Secondary (2): S Chaston Ward (3 stars, Cleburne, Texas), CB John Gibson** (3 stars, Missouri City, Texas)
PLAYERS WHO HAVE MOVED ON (3)
DB Torey Boozer (dismissed), TE Brandon Holifield (dismissed), S Ka’Ra Stewart (dismissed)
2011 Missouri recruiting class (17)
• Rivals.com ranking: 48
• Returning starters*: 2
• Returning contributors**: 5
• Quarterbacks (1): Corbin Berkstresser (3 stars, Lee’s Summit)
• Offensive line (4): Michael Boddie (3 stars, Gilmer, Texas), Taylor Chappell (3 stars, Canadian, Texas), Connor McGovern* (3 stars, Fargo, N.D.), Brad McNulty (3 stars, Allen, Texas)
• Wide receivers (1): Wesley Leftwich (3 stars, Columbia Hickman)
• Defensive line (1): DE Shane Ray** (3 stars, Bishop Miege)
• Linebackers (2): Kentrell Brothers* (3 stars, Guthrie, Okla.), Clarence Green** (3 stars, Clute, Texas)
• Secondary (4): S Cortland Browning** (3 stars, Tyler, Texas), CB David Johnson** (3 stars, Spring, Texas), CB Ernest Payton (3 stars, College Station, Texas), S Ian Simon** (3 stars, Mansfield, Texas)
PLAYERS WHO HAVE MOVED ON (4)
LB Brandon Durant (personal reasons), WR Brandon Hannah (non-qualifier), DT Gerrand Johnson (transfer), DT Sheldon Richardson (declared for 2013 NFL Draft)
2010 Missouri recruiting class (23)
• Rivals.com ranking: 21
• Returning starters*: 4
• Returning contributors**: 5
• Offensive line (3): Nick Demien (4 stars, Wentzville, Mo.), Anthony Gatti** (3 stars, St. Louis), Mitch Morse* (3 stars, Austin, Texas)
• Running backs (2): Marcus Murphy** (3 stars, DeSoto, Texas), Greg White (3 stars, De Queen, Ark.)
• Wide receivers (2): Jimmie Hunt** (4 stars, Cahokia, Ill.), Bud Sasser** (3 stars, Denton, Texas)
• Defensive line (2): DT Matt Hoch* (3 stars, Harlan, Iowa), DT Lucas Vincent* (3 stars, Olathe North)
• Linebackers (1): Darvin Ruise** (3 stars, Glen St. Mary, Fla.)
• Secondary (3): S Daniel Easterly (3 stars, Detroit), CB Xavier Smith (3 stars, Edmond, Okla.), S Braylon Webb* (3 stars, Gilmer, Texas)
PLAYERS WHO HAVE MOVED ON (10)
DE Kony Ealy (declared for 2014 NFL Draft), QB James Franklin (graduated), QB Tyler Gabbert (transferred), CB E.J. Gaines (graduated), S Tristen Holt (dismissed), RB Henry Josey (declared for 2014 NFL Draft), WR Marcus Lucas (graduated), LB Jared Parham (transferred), S Kenronte Walker (graduated), TE Eric Waters (graduated)