We’ll open this week’s column up with a disclaimer: I can’t predict the future.
If I could, I likely would be in a different profession.
So I’m going off on a limb here when I say that this week’s column will likely be the last for a while that isn’t talking about a commitment or a list cut or a big visit.
Fall football camp opens in a week and the AAU basketball season ends this weekend, so we should see a lot of list cuts and visits for both major sports coming shortly.
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For now, we’ll deal with the green vegetables on our plate.
Anyone got a fork?
Night at the Zou
The third-annual Night at the Zou camp is Saturday, with a lot of Missouri’s biggest football recruiting targets coming to town. The event started under Barry Odom and has changed a bit.
From the few people I’ve talked to, this year’s event might be a little smaller in terms of invites, with previous years’ attendees flirting near 100.
Last I heard, Missouri was trying to get more defensive backs and wide receivers to the camp so they have enough prospects to compete in 1-on-1 drills.
More importantly, the event has served as a kickstarter to Missouri’s recruiting classes in past summers, as the Tigers usually pick up a number of pledges in the days and week following the camp.
Missouri currently has six commitments for its 2019 class, which puts the program dead list in the Southeastern Conference for total pledges. Heck, even Vanderbilt has 12 commitments in the 2019 class.
Marcus Washington, the 2019 four-star wide receiver out of St. Louis, is expected to attend and is going to commit on Aug. 7. More on him later.
Offensive line commit Jack Buford told me he’ll be in town to help with the recruiting efforts and a commitment from Washington could give Missouri even more momentum in the Arch City that it hasn’t seen in years.
This year’s camp is also different for Odom because the program has a few things going for it that it hasn’t in recent years; a contract extension for Odom, a bowl game appearance and a Heisman candidate at quarterback.
A strong haul in the next few days could set the Tigers up nicely going into the season.
More on Washington
Washington recently tweeted out pictures of himself in Missouri and Ohio State gear with his commitment date, so I’m going to assume those two schools are his top two. I plan to ask him Saturday.
The Buckeyes just lost wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired because of his domestic violence history. The situation has put a ton of heat on coach Urban Meyer and his program.
You have to think that helps Missouri, because the position coach is a huge part of the recruiting process to some kids. Ohio State named a replacement on Thursday but new assistant Brian Hartline is joining the recruiting process very late for Washington. He was previously an analyst on Meyer’s staff.
Meyer is a well-respected coach and his program is considered a blue-blood, so he’s built to quickly recover. But given the timing it seems like a boost to Missouri.
Every AAU basketball team in existence appears to be in Sin City this weekend as the grassroots season starts to wrap up.
After this weekend is where it gets interesting. We should start to see some list cuts, especially from Liddell and McKinney, and Christopher’s potential visit to Missouri might develop a little more.
Once that all starts, we’ll be able to see where Missouri stands with everyone and if we’ll see any backup options come into the mix.
One thing of note: Sources tell me Missouri is in better shape than it’s getting credit for with 2019 four-star center Balsa Koprivica. Don’t ask me to spell that again. The 7-footer from Serbia attends national powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida and Tigers assistant Cornell Mann has been a regular at his games this summer.
Cuonzo Martin has stopped in for some games as well. Montverde has had a top of NBA lottery picks pass through in recent years such as Ben Simmons and D’Angelo Russell, and recently added Harlond Beverly, a top Missouri target from Michigan. That wouldn’t be a bad place for Missouri to get into.
Manuel to decide next week
Martez Manuel, a 2019 defensive back at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, is expected to decide on a school early next week. His final three are Iowa State, Missouri and Wyoming.
Missouri has good ties to the high school down the road from Faurot Field as the Tigers currently have former Bruins Alex Ofodile, Jonah Dubinski and Tre Williams on the roster along with former coach A.J Ofodile, the Tigers wide receivers coach.
The Tigers are in strong shape with Manuel and are clearly the best offer of his final three. He could be the guy that kicks off the usual post-Night at the Zou commitment party.