Mizzou Football Recruiting: Tigers Dead Last In SEC

Former Head Coach Gary Pinkel - Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Former Head Coach Gary Pinkel - Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Mizzou Football has been hit by one controversy after another over the past few months. Now they’re coming up dead last in the SEC in their 2016 recruiting class.

Mizzou was at the center of a racially charged controversy late in 2015. What ensued was a hunger strike, a football strike, and several other non-violent protests that led to President Tim Wolfe stepping down. Lindsay Deutsch of USA Today gives a synopsis and timeline of all of these events here.

Amid all of the scandal, Gary Pinkel announced that he would be stepping down as head coach at the end of the season. Though his decision had everything to do with his personal health rather than the health of the program, the two will forever be linked. It’s unfortunate that it had to end the way it did for Pinkel.

Defensive Coordinator Barry Odom took over the role of head coach for Mizzou Football and didn’t have to wait long to deal with a cancer of his own. This cancer came in the form of a player.

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Mizzou Football quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended from the team for a third time recently. He was later permently dismissed from the team for ‘violating team rules’ according to head coach Barry Odom. In an article on ESPN.com, Odom was quoted saying:

"“We believe it is in his best interest to focus on his personal life and his academic career at this time,” Odom said Thursday. “We remain committed to helping him work through the challenges and earn his degree. Our hope is that he will grow from this and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”"

The Mizzou football team is just two years removed from it’s second SEC championship game. The SEC is thought to be one of toughest, if not the toughest, conferences in college football. In two short years they’ve lost a promising young quarterback, a legendary head coach, and national respect.

All of those things may play a factor in how poorly the 2016 recruiting class is. The Tigers are ranked 14th in a list of 14, otherwise known as last, in terms of recruits according to 247 Sports.

The Tigers have a total of 15 commits and one ‘enrollee’, giving them a total of 16 new players for the 2016 season. National signing day could bring some surprises as any one of these players could change their mind or Mizzou could land a surprise pick. 

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The only four-star recruit that has committed to Mizzou is Natereace Strong, a running back for Hinds Community College out of Raymond, Mississippi. Originally from St. Louis, Strong rushed only 15 times for the Hinds’ Eagles. He did manage 6.8 yards per attempt but is mostly untested at the college level.

The Tigers are going to have their work cut out for them if they hope to contend in 2016. Given the current state of affairs it seems unlikely that the Tigers will be able to run out a quality product in the fall.

There are a lot of things that new coach Barry Odom is going to have to do to increase the number of recruits going forward. While a national scandal is certainly off-putting, you’d think a team with so much recent success, both in wins and sending people to the NFL, would draw more recruits. It seems as though dark days lie ahead for the Mizzou Football program.

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What do you think Tigers’ fans? Are there any recruits that catch your eye? Do you see the Tigers making a surprise pick? How long will it take for the program to course correct? Let me know in the comments’ section below.

(all stats courtesy of www.ncjaa.org)