Barry Odom’s third class as Missouri’s football coach is very similar to his previous ones.
The Tigers flipped some under-the-radar recruits but also struggled to close the borders on the both sides of the state.
St. Louis prospect Michael Thompson, a consensus four-star defensive lineman, chose Oklahoma over Missouri on Wednesday, meaning Mizzou only signed one of its “Tiger 10,” the state’s most highly touted recruits.
Blue Springs defensive end Daniel Parker was the group’s lone member to pick Missouri.
Thompson said he thought Mizzou’s pitch to land all 10 players resonated, but everyone had to make their own decision.
“If we all chose to go there, we probably could change the whole program around,” he said Wednesday at his signing ceremony at Parkway North High School. “But it (didn’t) happen. It is what it is.”
Missouri still signed 25 players, six of which are wide receivers, a position the program badly needed depth at after recruits from the previous class failed to qualify out of high school or were dismissed from the team before the start of the season.
One of those players who failed to qualify last year was Da’Ron Davis, a Hogan Prep graduate, who spent last semester at a prep school. Odom said there’s been some hurdles with the NCAA clearinghouse with Davis and he hopes to have him on campus in June.
New wide receivers coach A.J. Ofodile said most of the new receivers will have the chance to play right away.
“We need those guys to come in with the mindset that they’re going to contribute immediately,” Ofodile said.
The program signed a pair of Kansas City-area prospects in Parker and Raytown wide receiver Dominic Gicinto during the early December period. Parker had success on both sides of the line as a senior but plans to play defense in college. Gicinto was a late offer who impressed the coaching staff with his speed in the 40-yard dash and passion for the program.
“On our watches he was super fast,” special teams coach Andy Hill said. “Under 4.4 (seconds) every time. If you had 10 guys in line he’d would take a rep and then jump in front of the next eight guys in line.”
The Tigers also signed a pair of familiar names in receiver Harry Ballard III and defensive tackle Antar Thompson of St. Louis. Both players went through junior college before getting to Missouri and are already on campus.
Thompson originally committed to Missouri as a high school senior in 2012, with players who finished their eligibility at the end of last season. He never made it to campus until now because of academics and becoming a father. Running backs coach Cornell Ford, who recruits St. Louis, said he’s never had a recruit make it to campus so long after he originally committed.
“Someday when I write my book, he’ll have a chapter,” Ford joked. “He’s fought his rear end off and not with a lot of help. He’s pretty much done most of this on his own. He’s come a long way. It’s a success story. Now I want to see him succeed on the field.”
Lindsey Scott Jr. represented Missouri’s lone signing at quarterback. Scott originally signed with LSU out of high school and played last season at East Mississippi Community College, where he won a national championship. He enrolled at Missouri for the spring semester and will compete for the backup quarterback spot behind Drew Lock.
Odom praised Scott for his maturity and his mindset to come into a program where he understands that he won’t get significant playing time immediately.
“He’s a tremendous talent, he has great leadership skills,” Odom said. “Very productive, mature competitor, very driven on what he wants to go accomplish. He had been through the recruiting cycle before. He wasn’t interested in a fresh coat of paint. He’s into substance and going to work.”
Missouri signed four offensive linemen, two of which committed this week in 6-foot-8 Bobby Lawrence and 6-5 Xavier Delgado. Delgado is from Arizona and committed on Tuesday. Lawrence hails from St. Joseph and flipped his commitment from Iowa State on Monday.
Ofodile, who formerly served as the program’s recruiting coordinator, said Odom has emphasized getting taller and bigger on both lines since replacing Gary Pinkel after the 2015 season. Lawrence fits the bill.
“He’s got a massive frame,” said Brad Davis, the Tigers’ new offensive line coach. “He’s got intangibles that you just can’t coach. He has elite size.”
Odom talked more about the in-state prospects the program did sign, rather than the ones it missed, but his assistants were open about the work that remains to build relationships in state.
Ford said that it took a while to get results when he first joined the program under Pinkel.
“When you look at the numbers, you have to say there’s more work to be done,” Ford said. “You have to prove yourself. That takes trust. It takes time to do that. Our priorities haven’t changed. We started there last year, we’ll start again this year.”
2018 Mizzou football recruiting class
Briarcrest Christian HS (Memphis, Tenn.)
Ridge Point HS (Missouri City, Texas)
Cedar Ridge HS (Round Rock, Texas)
Harry Ballard III
Jones County CC (Ellisville, Miss.)
Lone Star HS (Frisco, Texas)
Braden River HS (Bradenton, Fla.)
Deer Valley HS (Glendale, Ariz.)
West Bloomfield (Mich.) HS
Madison HS (Dallas)
Mary Persons HS (Forsyth, Ga.)
Irmo HS (Columbia, S.C.)
Timberview HS (Mansfield, Texas)
St. Joseph Central HS
Judson HS (Converse, Texas)
Gerald Nathan Jr.
Vance HS (Charlotte, N.C.)
Daniel Parker Jr.
Blue Springs HS
Coppell HS (Coppell, Texas)
Manvel (Texas) HS
Lindsey Scott Jr.
East Mississippi CC
Lutheran HS (Glen Head, N.Y.)
Highland (Kan.) CC
Central Gwinnett HS (Lawrenceville, Ga.)
Wekiva HS (Apopka, Fla.)
Del Valle (Texas) HS