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Missouri Tigers Load Up for Competitive SEC

Willie Springer
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The Missouri Tigers football team takes the field for a game against the Baylor Bears at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 7, 2009.    UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri Tigers football team takes the field for a game against the Baylor Bears at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri on October 7, 2009. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — The future of Missouri Tigers football was improved on National Signing Day 2012 as seventeen high school students and one junior college transfer signed letters of intent. One more transfer that is enrolled fills out a class of nineteen new players that is ranking well on a national scale, but not so much in the Southeastern Conference.

Mizzou ranks as the #32 best recruiting class according to Rivals.com and #20 in the ESPN rankings.  While these are based on opinions and ratings from various college football experts, most of these lists put 6-8 to SEC teams ahead of Missouri in just about every credible poll.  On top of just about every list is defending BCS champion Alabama, who the Tigers host at Faurot Field on October 13.  The other common teams seen listed ahead of Missouri include fellow defector Texas A&M, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Florida, and South Carolina.

The rankings do not matter as much to coach Pinkel:

There was not a lot of suspense at the beginning on Wednesday morning for head coach Gary Pinkel’s football program, but there was certainly a moment of nervousness with wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, the last and most desired player to send in his letter.

At 9:15am on Wednesday morning, even coach Pinkel had trouble watching the ‘DGB’ announcement:

Along with ‘DGB’, five additional players from the state of Missouri chose to play for the Tigers with four of those being native to the St. Louis area.

Overall, ‘The Show Me State’ was able to provide the second most amount of players for the 2012 class with the largest contributor being seven players from Texas. The rest of the class had one player each from Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma.

Pinkel explains there is a difference in perspective in how the SEC would affect the Tigers’ recruiting:

Broken down by position, the Tigers biggest addition by quantity were four linebackers with three of those coming from the St. Louis area. Donavin Newsom, who is 6’2″, 220 lbs. out of Parkway North High School, was the first to turn in his letter. Next was the 6’2″, 230 lbs. Michael Scherer out of Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS). The last from the local area was the 6’3″, 240 lbs. Markus Golden, who attended Afton High School and returns to Mizzou after originally committing in 2010. The last is Torey Boozer, a 6’3″, 210 lbs. linebacker from Everman, Texas.

Other positions the Tigers addressed included three defensive lineman, three wide receivers, three defensive backs, two offensive lineman, two tailbacks, one quarterback and a tight end.  Missouri is coming off a 8-5 season returning eleven starters; five on offense and six on defense.  The biggest area of transition will be the offensive line where the only returning starter will be at center.

Pinkel would not pinpoint one area that he particularly thought the team improved for years to come:

The last player from the St. Louis area was Ka’Ra Stewart, a 5’10”, 190 lbs. defensive back that played only one year at O’Fallon after transferring from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, as his parents are in the Air Force.

Perhaps the second biggest name on the list after Dorial Green-Beckham is Evan Boehm, an offensive guard out of Lee’s Summit West High School. At 6’3″, 290 lbs., Boehm (pronounced BAY-m) became the second youngest player behind ‘DGB’ to be recruited by coach Pinkel. He’s the first offensive lineman to win the Simone Award as a senior, which goes annually to the top prep player in the Kansas City area. A 1st-Team All-State and All-Conference selection for the past three seasons, he helped lead his team to the 2010 Missouri State Class 5A championship.

Another big name in the class is quarterback Maty Mauk, a Parade All-American and two-time Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year, out of Kenton, Ohio.  The 2011 Mr. Football in the state of Ohio broke national records for passing yards (18,932), touchdown passes (219), pass completions (1,353) and total offense (22,681).  At 6’2″, 185 lbs., Mauk is receiving some comparisons to former Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel.

Coach Pinkel did not disagree as he had a ‘Chase Daniel’ type story:

The Tigers certainly took a step in the right direction with the Class of 2012.  However, now that they are in the SEC, the winner of the last six BCS Championships, the recruiting will have to improve each year in order to have a chance to be competitive.

Being part of the SEC for the last two months, Pinkel talked about the affect it has already had on his program:

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