University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Mitchell Walters, Kevon Billingsley, Ryan Kalkbrenner

Good morning and happy Thursday. With a slow week, I moved the column up a day because ...well why not?

Before we get into the nuggets, I just want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all those dealing with the devastation left by the dozen tornadoes to hit the state in recent days. Having lived through Hurricane Sandy as a senior in high school and dealt with some of the effects first-hand, I know how much it sucks.

Hopefully this helps take your mind off of it, even just for a bit.

Missouri lands Mitchell Walters

Barry Odom’s current 2020 class consists entirely of St. Louis-area recruits. When was the last time that has been said? Missouri landed its fourth commitment for the 2020 class on Wednesday in Mehlville offensive lineman Mitchell Walters. Walters is a three-star recruit and has a massive 6-foot-8 frame. He chose Missouri over Iowa, TCU, Purdue, Arizona and Kentucky among others.

Walters’ commitment continues to show the inroads the program has made in St. Louis and also the emphasis Odom has made in getting bigger along the offensive line. Missouri already has 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman Bobby Lawrence, a St. Joseph native, in its offensive line room.

With his commitment, Walters joins Jay Maclin, Brady Cook and Drake Heismeyer in the Tigers’ 2020 class. It’s tough to see MU taking more than two offensive linemen in its 2020 class with Walters and Heismeyer now on board.

Now to some other St. Louis targets in football…

It was reported by this week that four-star East St. Louis defensive lineman Kevon Billingsley will take official visits to Missouri and Alabama this summer. Billingsley is a high priority for Missouri’s staff and has played musical schools lately. He started the year at Lutheran North, transferred to Parkway North and is now at ESL.

Billingsley has also talked in the past about visiting LSU officially, so it appears the competition is stiff for his services. He plans to go into his senior season uncommitted, which means a strong start by Missouri in its season could help the Tigers’ chances.

Speaking of Lutheran North, I’m told Texas A&M is a legit threat to Missouri four-star linebacker Antonio Doyle. Doyle is picking up offers by the boatload lately and has an official visit scheduled to both the Aggies (June 21) and Tigers (June 7). Oklahoma has also been linked to the 6-foot-3 linebacker.

Doyle’s recruitment has blown up lately and he’s essentially got an offer from everyone but Alabama and Clemson. With the visit in College Station not until late June, it’s tough to gauge the Aggies’ chances until then. He also plans to visit Illinois, but the Illini aren’t considered as big of a threat to MU as Texas A&M.

Doyle’s teammate Travion Ford, one of the state’s top 2021 players, tweeted on Thursday morning that he plans to take an unofficial visit to Missouri next week. Ford has been on campus before and is considered one of the best defensive ends for his class. Between him and Doyle, coach Carl Reed has quite the defense returning next season. It’s too early in Ford’s recruitment to gauge MU’s chances, but the Tigers are clearly making him a priority.

Kalkbrenner schedules first official visit

Ryan Kalkbrenner, one of Mizzou’s top 2020 basketball targets out of Trinity Catholic in St. Louis, has scheduled an official visit to Creighton and an unofficial visit to Illinois. The news was first reported by Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers.

Too early to push the panic button, as Kalkbrenner still has up to 14 other visits to use and MU is just a two-hour drive away. I’d be stunned if Kalkbrenner commits to a school without taking a visit to Missouri. Even if it’s an unofficial. Illinois has been in the picture for the three-star recruit long before his stock took off this spring and is considered to be a contender, but Kalkbrenner himself said his recent offers have made him rethink his recruitment. I think we’ll have a better picture of his situation by the end of June.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.