University of Missouri

Mizzou Monday: Lock could be a top pick, a MU basketball transition year, and more

Drew Lock talks about MU's new offense

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock discusses new things the team is doing under new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley.
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Missouri quarterback Drew Lock discusses new things the team is doing under new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley.

Let’s begin this with a room-temperature take: Missouri should produce more NFL Draft picks than Ferris State.

Professional football’s most recent selection bonanza happened this past weekend, and the Tigers had just one draftee, wide receiver J’Mon Moore, who is now a Green Bay Packer. The Division II Bulldogs had one, too: defensive end Zach Sieler. MU has now had a player drafted in each of the past 14 years, but this was the second straight year that Mizzou produced just one draftee, and Moore did not hear his name called until the 133rd pick. During Missouri's 14-year streak of draft picks, that’s the deepest a draft has gone without a Mizzou player coming off the board.

Now, draft selections aren’t always the best indicators of on field success — see Florida’s four selections, or Tennessee’s three — but they do offer somewhat of a barometer of where a program stands in the Southeastern Conference, which had the most players selected for the 12th straight year. Alabama had a record 12 players selected this past draft. Georgia had six. LSU had seven. Auburn had four. Like Mizzou, Vanderbilt and South Carolina only produced one draftee, and no players from Kentucky were selected.

You are likely going to need more than one draftee to contend in the SEC. You'll certainly need more than one representative at the NFL Combine and Senior Bowl — events at which Moore was the only Mizzou prospect. South Carolina, which finished second in the SEC East last season, sent four players to the combine despite having just one draftee.

Next year’s draft will be more exciting for the Tigers. Terry Beckner Jr. will be a pro. Albert Okwuegbunam could enter the draft if he has a strong sophomore campaign. And then there’s Drew Lock, who ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper already has listed as the top quarterback on his big board for next year. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Lock going fourth overall in his way-too-early 2019 mock draft.

So, Missouri will have more draftees next year, including a high-profile one. The question is: Will that talent produce on-field results during the 2018 season? Will Mizzou be more like LSU or Florida?

A transition year for hoops, and a potentially strong 2019 team

Courtney Ramey picked a college this past weekend, and it wasn’t Missouri. The point guard from Webster Groves High School in the St. Louis area is headed to Texas. He announced his decision on the same day that another guard, Evansville transfer Dru Smith, committed to the Tigers.

With Ramey’s recruitment now over, it has become a bit more obvious that next season should be more of a transition period for Cuonzo Martin’s program.

Dru Smith and Mark Smith, a transfer guard from Illinois, will both sit out next season. When they do finally suit up for the Tigers, though, Mizzou could have a loaded roster that includes Jeremiah Tilmon in his junior season, Torrence Watson, K.J. Santos, both Smiths and the 2019 recruiting class, which could be a great one for Missouri.

To stay updated on Missouri basketball recruiting, read everything that my co-beat writer Alex Schiffer writes. He recently went to AAU tournaments in Dallas to write this, this and this. He has a few more recruiting stories coming this week, too.

The no. 1 priority for Missouri basketball, E.J. Liddell talked about his AAU season and the latest with his recruitment.

Key wins for softball

The Missouri softball team won both games of a Saturday doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which matters for one reason: The Tigers are now 28-24 with one three-game series against No. 5 Florida left on their regular-season schedule, so they are guaranteed to have a .500 record even if the Gators sweep them and they lose in the first round of the conference tournament. To be eligible for the NCAA Tournament, a team must be at least .500.

Mizzou heads into its weekend home series against Florida near the bottom of the SEC standings, and the Tigers haven’t locked up a spot in the 12-team SEC Tournament, which MU hosts this season. Missouri, like Kentucky, is 6-14 in conference play. Only two teams, Mississippi State (6-15) and Mississippi (5-15), have worse conference records.

Even if Missouri doesn’t make the SEC Tournament — one team is excluded because only 13 SEC teams play softball — the Tigers should still make the NCAA Tournament. Last season, all 13 SEC teams made the postseason, and Missouri currently possesses the No. 23 RPI in the country.

Baseball misses out on resume boost

Mizzou baseball had a chance at a big series win at now-No. 14 Kentucky, but the Tigers let it slip away in the rubber match on Sunday.

A day after beating Kentucky 14-11, the Tigers gave up five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to lose 11-10. Brian Sharp, a Liberty North graduate, hit two home runs during the weekend, including a grand slam in the rubber-match defeat.

"Just a real tough loss," Missouri coach Steve Bieser said of Sunday's loss. "We battled. One thing we have to be proud of is that we competed. We spotted them way too many early in that game and it was going to be tough to come back. Then we kind of get everything to swing our way and then I though we did some things late in the game that was not great game-winning baseball."

Missouri ranks No. 24 in the country in RPI, and its most critical remaining series is this weekend, when the Tigers face Georgia. The Bulldogs are second in the SEC East standings and possess the nation’s No. 8 RPI.

Schweizer strong in her home state

MU standout Karissa Schweizer earned Most Outstanding Performer honors at the Drake Relays , which happened in Des Moines last week. The Iowa native broke the women's collegiate record in the 5,000 meters in 15 minutes, 23.21 seconds. That bested a 33-year-old record by more than 8 seconds and is the fourth-fastest time in the world.

Schweizer also helped Missouri win the distance medley relay in 11:07.59. When she received the baton as the Tigers' anchor, they were in fourth place. Thanks to her, they won the event by more than 10 seconds.