University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Caleb Love, Davion Bradford, Jayla Kelly and more

Greetings everyone. I’m not much of a hype man, but I think this is as loaded a recruiting column as I’ve ever written. Without further ado, let’s get to the goods.

Caleb Love visits Missouri

Missouri rolled out the red carpet for Caleb Love last weekend for the 2020 five-star basketball recruit’s official visit.

Love took in Missouri’s football game against West Virginia and even got a greeting from Missouri head football coach Barry Odom down on the field. On Wednesday night, word surfaced that Love was canceling his official visit to Indiana for this upcoming weekend and is now down to MU, Louisville, North Carolina and Kansas. All indications are that Love still plans to take his other three visits.

Missouri has been trending as a destination for Love in recent weeks, and my sources seem to confirm that. I always thought Louisville had too many other targets at Love’s spot to see him land there and Kansas is tough for me to gauge. Our Kansas writer, Gary Bedore, wrote about Bill Self and Roy Williams watching Love this week. Cuonzo Martin visited with him on Thursday.

“Mizzou is in a great spot,” a source told me. “They just have to fend off UNC.”

I’m still more cautious about MU’s chances with Love. I think they’re firmly in the mix but can’t sleep on bluebloods such as North Carolina and Kansas. If Martin lands Love, it would easily be his most significant commitment since the Porter brothers and would have strong implications of the program’s level of recruiting going forward. I truly wonder what it would do for MU’s odds at landing Josh Christopher if the Tigers got Love.

Love is slated to visit North Carolina on Sept. 20, Louisville on Sept. 27 and Kansas on Oct. 11. We’ll see where it goes from there.

Davion Bradford to visit

Missouri will host another 2020 basketball priority recruit on Saturday in Davion Bradford, who visits Columbia after taking a visit to Kansas State on Aug. 30.

I’ve long thought the Tigers were in the driver’s seat for Bradford and could still be, but the 6-foot-10 center has had an interesting player enter his recruitment recently: Kansas.

Bradford recently announced that he plans to attend Late Night in the Phog on Oct. 4. I don’t think it really hurts MU’s chances right now, but I would take Bradford off commitment watch this weekend because of it.

It seems that Bradford is more of an MU target than 2020 St. Louis center Ryan Kalkbrenner, who met with Purdue coach Matt Painter on Thursday for an in-home visit. Kalkbrenner met with Stanford’s staff on Wednesday and Kansas’ on Tuesday.

I still think Bradford winds up at Missouri. The Tigers have the most immediate playing time to sell compared to any other school on his radar. I plan to touch base with him next week to recap it.

Hoops staff on the road

Martin and his staff have been all over the place this week, watching a slew of prospects and offering a few along the way. Here’s everyone I was able to find that MU watched and a crash course on each of them.

Hunter Sallis: Four-star point guard from Omaha, Neb., in the 2021 class. Sallis took an unofficial visit to MU a few weeks ago and also holds offers from Creighton, California, Nebraska, Connecticut, Iowa and Iowa State.

Jay Scrubb: The nation’s top-ranked junior-college prospect, Scrubb is a 6-foot-6 scoring wing that averaged 20.2 points per game last season at John Logan College in Illinois. Scrubb has offers from everyone in the country and has also considered going straight to the NBA. Louisville, his hometown school, is considered to be the leader along with Cincinnati and Alabama.

Matt Cleveland: Cleveland is a 6-foot-6 guard from Georgia in the 2021 class. A four-star recruit, a lot of schools in his region are making a push for him, including Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Florida State. He could be a five-star recruit when it’s all said and done.

Jaden Akins: A Cornell Mann recruit out of Michigan, Akins recently visited MU with AAU teammate Pierre Brooks. Akins is hearing a lot from Michigan State and will be tough for MU to pull away from home. But Akins and Mann have a good relationship early in the process.

Malaki Branham: A 6-foot-4 combo guard in the 2021 class, Branham attends St. Vincent-St.Mary in Ohio, the same high school that LeBron James attended. Martin watched the four-star recruit himself, who also holds offers from Ohio State and Xavier.

John Hugley: A major MU target in the 2020 class, Hugley is expected to take an official visit to MU in the near future. Martin watched the four-star recruit in person. Hugley’s next official visit it to Pittsburgh, which many think is in the lead for him. He’ll visit there on Sept. 20. He’s also visited North Carolina State.

Julian Roper: A three-star recruit in the 2021 class out of Michigan, Roper picked up an offer to go with the likes of Iowa, Wisconsin and Northwestern. Great offer picture of Jordan Clarkson in the throwback uniform.

Juliann Roper tweet.png

Aidan Shaw: A local prospect, Shaw is a sophomore at Blue Valley and also has offers from TCU, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt. He’s someone to keep an eye on in the coming years. Don’t be surprised if Mizzou is at a game of his this winter.

Elijah Fischer: A 2023 prospect, Fischer is considered to be the next big recruit out of Canada. A 6-foo5 guard, Martin watched Fischer earlier this week. Fischer also has Oregon on his radar. Oregon has a strong track record of landing Canadian players.

Braden Carrington: A 2022 guard from Minnesota. I couldn’t find much on him other than that he’s 6 foot, 3 inches and also has Florida on his radar.

Tamar Bates: MU passed by Piper High School just across the state line to check in on the four-star 2021 combo guard. Bates plans to visit MU next weekend and also holds offers from Creighton and Kansas State.

Pierre Brooks: Mann stopped by Detroit Douglas High School to see Brooks, who recently visited MU with Akins. I caught up with Brooks a few columns ago. He’s been picking up offers by the boatload lately.

Robin Pingeton hosts top targets

Missouri women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton hosted three of her top targets in Destiny Salary, Treasure Thompson and Jayla Kelly. All three of them are consensus top-100 prospects in the 2020 class.

I caught up with Salary and Kelly. Salary still plans to visit Rutgers, Western Kentucky and TCU and wants to decide before her high school season. Salary is a big fan of Pingeton.

“Our relationship is really great,” Salary said. “Me and Coach P have a good relationship, and we understand each other really well. I think I’d fit in well.”

Kelly still plans to visit Northwestern, Purdue and TCU and said Mizzou was her first official visit. She said the Tigers set the bar high and she plans to decide before her season starts as well.

“It was great,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be hard for schools to top it. I really enjoyed it.”

Missouri lands a kicker, plus Antonio Doyle news

Mizzou football landed a kicker commitment on Wednesday night in Indiana native Harrison Mevis.

Mevis is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 kicker and No. 10 punter by Kohl’s Kicking, the authority on all special-teams recruits. Here’s what Kohl’s says about Mevis in its rankings:

“Mevis most recently attended the 2019 National Scholarship Camp. His field goals both in charting and drill work were just different than other D1 k/p. College coaches will love his field goal height and clean rotation. Mevis easily hits 60 yarders every day he kicks. He won the field goal competition in Chicago with a 65 yarder with a very repeatable motion in May of 2019. Mevis is an impressive punter who only takes up 3.5 yards on his approach. Mevis is a big-time college prospect and an Under Armour All-American.”

I try not to make a big deal about special-teams recruits, so I won’t. But Mevis seems like a good get for Odom.

Also on the football news recruiting front, former Mizzou pledge Antonio Doyle plans to visit Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Illinois and one other school, according to Carl Reed, his high school coach. Doyle is still considering MU, and I’m told the Tigers still have a good chance at him. I wouldn’t expect a decision anytime soon.

One final note on football recruiting, The Star’s sister paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a great story on running back commit Dominique Johnson. Give it a read here. Mizzou thought it got a diamond in the rough when it landed Johnson. That thought appears to have aged well.

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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.