University of Missouri

Missouri football receives three more verbal commitments

Missouri received three verbal commitments Sunday, pledges from a pair of wide receivers sandwiched around an unheralded Nigerian-born linebacker, bringing the number of known commitments in its 2015 recruiting class to 18 players.

Johnathon Johnson, a 5-foot-8, 174-pound Rivals three-star prospect from Melrose High in Tennessee, committed to the Tigers early in the afternoon.

A few hours later, Montverde (Fla.) Academy linebacker Franklin Agbasimere, who is unranked by the national recruiting services, but reportedly runs a 4.45 40-yard dash, also committed to Missouri, according to PowerMizzou.com.

Finally, the Tigers received the day’s third commitment from Justin Smith, a 6-foot-7 outside receiver from West Laurens High in Dublin, Ga.

Johnson and Smith join Richaud Floyd from Gulfport (Miss.), Emanuel Hall from Centennial High in Franklin, Tenn., and Ronnell Perkins from University City (Mo.) to give Missouri five known receiver commitments, who are expected to sign Feb. 4.

Melrose coach Eddie Woods believes Johnson, who also has game-breaking ability in the return game, has the potential to contribute immediately at a position of need for Missouri.

“I think he can come in and make impact next fall, if nothing else, in the kicking game,” Woods said. “Obviously, he has to catch up to their speed, but he’s not a kid who’s going to come in timid.”

The Tigers are losing their top three receivers — Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White — along with ace return specialist Marcus Murphy.

Missouri’s returning trio at wide receiver (freshman Nate Brown, junior Wesley Leftwich and redshirt freshman J’Mon Moore) combined for 10 catches, 114 yards and zero touchdowns last season.

Johnson, who was recruited by cornerbacks coach Cornell Ford, should have a chance to compete for time at slot receiver immediately. He chose MU over Tennessee and Mississippi among others.

Smith, who was recruited by Alex Grinch before he left to become Washington’s defensive coordinator last week, projects as an outside receiver and potential down-the-field threat for quarterback Maty Mauk. He also had a football offer from North Carolina State and basketball offers from Georgia among others.

Agbasimere, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound potential gem at outside linebacker unearthed by running backs coach Brian Jones, displays terrific closing speed and showed the versatility to play with his hand on the ground in his senior highlight film.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @todpalmer.

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