Campus Corner

Missouri returns to mining Texas football talent

Aside from within its own borders, Texas has proved to be the lifeblood of the Missouri football program under Gary Pinkel.

Of the 336 players Missouri has signed (or received a commitment from for its 2016 recruiting class) since 2002, a whopping 93 are from Texas.

That makes the Lone Star state easily the Tigers’ most fertile recruiting ground outside its own borders, accounting for 27.7 percent of all players and 42.9 of all out-of state players.

During that span, Missouri has signed 119 players from the Show-Me State. That figure includes junior-college players from Missouri, who committed to the Tigers from high school and then wound up at a two-year school before eventually arriving in Columbia (such as Sheldon Richardson, Markus Golden, Nate Strong, Greg Taylor, etc.).

In fact, Missouri signed more players from Texas than its home state in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and an equal number from both states in 2012.

There was a dramatic shift in the Tigers’ recruiting philosophy upon moving to the Southeastern Conference. Fertile recruiting grounds in Florida, Georgia and other areas that Missouri wasn’t able to mine before leaving the Big 12 opened up.

Increased efforts in those traditional SEC states — including Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana — have paid off handsomely with 27 signings or commitments from players in those geographic areas since the 2013 class, but Pinkel steadfastly insisted that the Lone Star State remained critical for his program.

And for good reason, the list of impact players from Texas is distinguished (see below).

Between 2002 and 2012, 85 of the 167 out-of-state players Missouri signed were from Texas. That’s more than half (50.9 percent), but the trend dipped considerably in recent years.

Only six of 45 non-Missouri players signed in the 2013-15 recruiting classes came from Texas, which equates to 13.3 percent. There was only one year between 2002-12 when MU signed fewer than six Texas players.

The trend away from Texas was incredibly pronounced the last two seasons.

The Tigers landed two players from Texas among 20 out-of-state signings in 2014 and didn’t sign a single Texas player in the February’s recruiting class.

But now, there are signs that Missouri is renewing its efforts in the nation’s most football-mad state with two commitments from Texas players in the last week.

The Tigers have received 10 verbal commitments for its 2016 class, including pledges from two players in the Houston area — Cypress Falls linebacker Trey Baldwin on Tuesday and Manvel offensive lineman Mackenzie Nworah on Thursday.

That gives Missouri two Texas players among five out-of-state commitments in the building 2016 class, a sign that the Lone Star State indeed remains a priority.

Donovan Bonner, Kendial Lawrence, Michael Sam and Matt White (2009); James Franklin, Henry Josey, Mitch Morse, Marcus Murphy, Bud Sasser and Braylon Webb (2010); Cortland Browning, Taylor Chappell, Brad McNulty and Ian Simon (2011); John Gibson, Russell Hansbrough and Rickey Hatley (2012); J’Mon Moore and Jason Reese (2013).

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

MISSOURI RECRUITING BREAKDOWN

Texas has been an important piece to the Missouri football recruiting puzzle for a long time. Based on Rivals commitments lists, which are archived through 2002, here is a look at just how critical the Lone Star State has been to the Tigers through the years.

Year

Total commitments

Out-of-state players

Texas players

% from Texas

Notable Texas players

2002

23

16

6

37.5

DE Brian Smith

2003

23

14

6

42.9

WR Brad Ekwerekwu

2004

25

12

8

66.7

DE Stryker Sulak

2005

23

14

7

50.0

QB Chase Daniel, DT Ziggy Hood

2006

25

19

10

52.6

WR Danario Alexander, WR Jared Perry, CB Kevin Rutland, LB Sean Weatherspoon

2007

27

18

5

27.8

DT Dominque Hamilton

2008

24

16

12

75.0

LB Will Ebner, CB Kip Edwards, TE Michael Egnew, LB Zaviar Gooden, WR Jerrell Jackson, S Kenji Jackson, DE Jacquies Smith

2009

24

15

7

46.7

LB Donovan Bonner, RB Kendial Lawrence, DE Michael Sam, S Matt White

2010

23

17

9

52.9

QB James Franklin, RB Henry Josey, OL Mitch Morse, RB Marcus Murphy, WR Bud Sasser, S Braylon Webb

2011

17

13

9

69.2

S Cortland Browning, OL Taylor Chappell, OL Brad McNulty, S Ian Simon

2012

19

13

6

46.2

CB John Gibson, RB Russell Hansbrough, DL Rickey Hatley

2013

21

10

4

40.0

WR J’Mon Moore, TE Jason Reese

2014

28

20

2

10.0

WR Keyon Dilosa, LB Roderick Winters

2015

24

15

0

40.0

none

2016*

10

5

2

40.0

LB Trey Baldwin, OL Mackenzie Nworah

Totals

336

217

93

42.9

* Based on Missouri’s known commitments through June 11

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