University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Kelly Bryant, Davion Bradford, Kevin Coleman and more

Clemson Tiger quarterback Kelly Bryant celebrates a touchdown in the first half of Saturday’s ACC Championship Game in Saturday. Clemson beat Miami 38-3.
Clemson Tiger quarterback Kelly Bryant celebrates a touchdown in the first half of Saturday’s ACC Championship Game in Saturday. Clemson beat Miami 38-3.

Good morning.

Don’t have my usual sentence or two to get us into all the good stuff today, so excuse my lack of creativity and lets talk recruiting.

Kelly Bryant to decide next week

Missouri visited with former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant earlier this week, according to reports, and sources told The Star that Arkansas had an in-home visit with him on Thursday. He heads to Auburn this weekend before deciding on a school early next week. It appears to be a two-horse race between Missouri and Auburn based on everything I’m hearing.

Now for those who have brought it up, it’s been a heck of a week at Auburn. First we thought Gus Malzahn was getting fired and the school was prepared to pay his $32 million buyout. Now it appears he’s staying but is under pressure for a huge season next year to keep his job. Does it really matter to Bryant? Well, to quote Derek Dooley on National Signing Day last year, “We need them more than they need us,” when referring to recruits and coaches. Malzahn needs Bryant more than visa versa.

Bryant only has one year left. As long as Malzahn is the coach next year all the other noise doesn’t mean squat. But Auburn’s need for Bryant has intensified greatly for next year. If Missouri can land Bryant you can make a case it is the most impressive recruit Barry Odom has landed as MU head coach.

An old name returns on the hoops’ radar

It’s been a heck of a year for Davion Bradford. After starting his hoops career at Christian Brothers College in St. Louis, where he was considered a top-50 freshman nationally, the 2020 recruit transferred to Hillcrest Prep in Arizona last season. Then he moved to Oklahoma over the summer and was playing AAU for Oklahoma PWP with 2020 MU offer Bryce Thompson. When I tried to talk to Bradford in July at an Under Armour tournament, I was told Bradford’s mother died suddenly and he was headed back to St. Louis.

Not much had been heard from Bradford until I saw on Twitter this week that he resurfaced at Mehlville High School just outside of St. Louis. I began doing some digging. During all of Bradford’s travels, what was tough to gauge was whether or not MU was involved with the 6-foot-10 forward. When he was at CBC, I was told Missouri would get involved with him at some point, but he left St. Louis before MU offered.

Now to the goods. A source tells me Missouri is very aware of Bradford’s return to the state and wants him badly. Assistant coach Chris Hollender and head coach Cuonzo Martin both have passed through recently to see him.

Last summer, Bradford picked up offers from Arizona State, Nevada, Illinois and Kansas State and Oklahoma. I don’t think it will take long for MU to offer. Bradford is a big man who can stretch the floor and play positionless basketball. He has some range to his jump shot, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen him play.

I’ve said before that Missouri’s ideal 2020 class is Caleb Love, Cam’Ron Fletcher, Josh Christopher and a big. I used to say Isaiah Jackson of Detroit could be that last big. I think Bradford replaces Jackson in MU’s ideal 2020 class. Aside from Christopher, who lives in Los Angeles, the staff barely has to leave the state for a top-10 class if they get all four or even three of them.

Jaylon McKenzie

I got a few questions last week about Jaylon McKenzie, a 13-year-old Belleville, Ill., resident who was featured in Sports Illustrated’s ‘Future Edition’ as a potential star in high school. I usually don’t like to talk about kids in middle school, but then I saw our sister paper in Belleville has already written about him. Here’s the little bit of info I received. McKenzie is a lot more physically developed than most kids his age and has been lifting weights for a few years now. He also plays basketball, but that might not be his calling.

Jaylon McKenzie, a 13-year-old, who attends Central Junior High in Belleville, Illinois, competed in the 8th Grade All-American Football Game as part of NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement weekend in Canton, Ohio.

I’m told his father, Otis Gunner, was in high school at East St. Louis when Martin was across town at Lincoln High School. I’m not sure if they’re friends, but I’m told they know each other. I also heard McKenzie will play in the Under Armour All-American game for middle-schoolers. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Way too early to see if McKenzie is a prospect but thought I’d pass on what I know.

Kevin Coleman picks up offers

I wrote last week about St. Mary’s wideout Kevin Coleman. Coleman, a wideout, is considered one of the top freshmen in the state and had a 1,000 yard season in his first year of high school ball.

What happened this past week? He picked up offers from Missouri and Illinois and now has Cornell Ford and A.J. Ofodile following him on Twitter. Who knows what he’s talking about? (Answer: (Points to self) This guy.)

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Alex Schiffer

Alex Schiffer covers University of Missouri athletics for The Star.

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