COLUMBIA, Mo. – Twenty standout student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to attend the University of Missouri and play football for Head Coach Gary Pinkel, as announced Wednesday.
“We are very pleased and excited to welcome a very talented group of young men to join our program at Mizzou,” said Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “We feel that this is a high-quality group of players who are good fits for areas of need. This is a versatile group that is excited to be part of our family, and help us compete for championships,” he said.
As of the early afternoon, the new Tiger group was ranked 28th in the country according to its average star rating by Rivals. Overall, the class of newest Tigers has been rated as the 37th-best nationally, according to ESPN, and as the country’s No. 48 class by Rivals.
The winning tradition and academic reputation of the Tiger program under Head Coach Gary Pinkel was surely an attraction for a skilled class of student-athletes. Mizzou continues to excel in the classroom, as it has graduated more than 90 percent of its seniors since 2007. The Tigers played in seven straight bowl games from 2005-2011.
In all, 11 of the state of Missouri’s top football talents signed to play for their home state school. Mizzou brought in five of the state’s overall top 10, according to ESPN. The Tiger coaching staff additionally sought out talent from around the Southeastern Conference’s footprint, bringing in student athletes
from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.
Mizzou’s previous eight classes rated, according to Rivals: 29th in 2002, 28th in 2003, 29th in 2004, 39th in 2005, 47th in 2006, 33rd in 2007, 24th in 2008, 35th in 2009, 21st in 2010, 48th in 2011 and 48th in 2012.
Following is a roster and biographical sketches for each of MU’s 20 signees:
Fr., TB, 6-2, 205, O’Fallon, Mo. (Fort Zumwalt South HS)
One of the nation’s premier athletes, ranked inside Rivals.com’s “Rivals250” … considered the No. 2 recruit in Missouri’s class of 2013 by ESPN.com and Rivals.com … selected to ESPN.com’s “ESPN300” list of top recruits in the nation … rated by Rivals.com 12th-best athlete in the nation … totaled 939 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2012 for Fort Zumwalt South High School and head coach Scott Fulton … added 10 catches for 142 yards and one touchdown to lead the Bulldogs in scoring … a first team all-conference and all-district honoree after his final high school season … represented Team USA at the IFAF World Championships with fellow signees Alec Abeln, Eric Beisel and Trent Hosick … rushed for 1,459 yards and 27 touchdowns as a junior in 2011 … showed a nose for the ball on defense as well, snatching two interceptions … mother – Amy Benlien … participated in track for Fort Zumwalt South, earning all-conference and all-district recognition … chose Mizzou over top programs around the country, including Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas State, Michigan State, Nebraska, UCLA and Arizona State … plans to major in sports medicine at Missouri.
Fr., OL, 6-3, 280, Chesterfield, Mo. (St. Louis University HS)
(Last name is pronounced AY-bell-n) Considered the No. 15 center prospect in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 18 by ESPN.com … played at both left tackle and center for St. Louis University High School and head coach Gary Kornfeld … ranked 17th overall in the state of Missouri’s class of 2013 by Rivals.com … selected first team All-State by the Associated Press … earned first team All-Metro honors from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch … was an all-conference selection at tackle as a senior in 2012 … represented Team USA in the IFAF World Championships alongside fellow signees Chase Abbington, Eric Beisel and Trent Hosick … parents – Douglas and Julie Abeln … academic all-state pick in his final high school season … also participated in wrestling and volleyball as a senior … mother, Julie, was Truman the Tiger while a student at Mizzou … has wanted to attend Mizzou since his childhood.
Fr., DL, 6-4, 300, Peoria, Ill. (Peoria HS)
Highly-touted defensive lineman who also showed his skills at tight end for Peoria High School and head coach Tim Thornton … rated No. 161 in ESPN.com’s “ESPN300” list of top recruits in the nation and was ranked the seventh-best recruit in Illinois’ class of 2013 by the website … rated as the No. 9 recuit in Illinois’ class of 2013 by Rivals.com … selected to the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Game … named First Team Class 5A All-State at tight end and defensive line by the Illinois Football Coaches Association as a senior in 2012 … two-time Peoria Journal-Star All-Area honoree … recorded six sacks in his final Lion season … considered the No. 16 defensive tackle in the country by ESPN.com and No. 29 by Rivals.com … earned letters in track & field as a sophomore and junior for the Lions, claiming the 2012 Class 2A shot put championship with a throw of 61-05.75 … played basketball as a junior … chose Mizzou over several prominent programs, including Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, California, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Oklahoma … mother – Kenna Lewis … plans to enroll in the College of Architecture … cited Mizzou’s coaching staff and the University of Missouri’s academic reputation as reasons for deciding to be a Tiger.
Fr., LB, 6-2, 240, Fenton, Mo. (Rockwood Summit HS)
(Last name is pronounced b-EYE-zul) A top in-state defensive product for Mizzou, ranked No. 4 overall in Missouri’s class of 2013 by ESPN.com and No. 9 by Rivals.com … a two-time Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters and Missouri Football Coaches Association first team All-State pick at linebacker after stellar junior and senior seasons for Rockwood Summit High School and head coach Miker Bellers … totaled 79 tackles in only six games in 2012, also recording two interceptions … set school-record for single-game tackles with 24 … ranked third in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s “Super 30” list of area recruits … considered the No. 45 inside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com … represented Team USA at the IFAF World Championships with fellow signees Chase Abbington, Alec Abeln and Trent Hosick … took first team all-conference and all-district honors as a senior … had back-to-back seasons of more than 100 tackles as a sophomore and junior, notching 116 and 100, respectively … parents – David and Cathy Beisel … participated in baseball for the Falcons, helping the squad to the 2012 Class
4 State Championship … chose Mizzou over Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska and Arizona State, among others … cited Mizzou’s beautiful campus and goal-oriented football program as reasons for choosing to be a Tiger.
Fr., LB, 6-1, 210, Jefferson City, Mo. (Jefferson City HS)
(Last name is pronounced BURK-kit) A premier in-state defensive recruit right down the road from Mizzou out of Jefferson City High School … was the first in the Tigers’ newest signing class to commit to Mizzou … rated ninth overall in the state’s class of 2013 by ESPN.com, as well as No. 58 in the nation at outside linebacker … rated 13th in the state of Missouri’s class of 2013 by Rivals.com … first team Class 6 All-State pick by the Missouri Football Coaches Association as a senior in 2012 … named second team Class 6 All-State by the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters … recorded 76 tackles and 3.0 sacks through eight games in 2012 for head coach and former Mizzou star safety Ted LePage before missing the remainder of the season due to injury … recorded 112 tackles, 3.0 sacks and two
interceptions as a junior in 2011 … phenomenal track and field athlete who excelled in the pole vault for Jefferson City, claiming the 2012 Class 4 state title in the event … part of the school’s runner-up 4×100 meter team in 2012 … parents – Eric and Leanne Burkett … named Jefferson City’s 2012 Homecoming King … an academic honor roll member all four years of high school … was an early commit to Mizzou’s class that never really looked anywhere else … impressed by Mizzou’s coaching staff and fan base.
Fr., DL, 6-4, 285, Pensacola, Fla. (West Florida Tech)
Rated as the No. 75 defensive tackle prospect in the class of 2013 by ESPN.com … helped West Florida Tech High School and head coach Harry Lees to a 10-1 record and berth in the Florida Class 5A State Championship playoffs in 2012 … recorded 80 tackles and 7.0 sacks in his final high school season … earned second team All-State honors from the Associated Press as a senior in 2012, as well as all-area recognition … a Pensacola News-Journal “Super Senior” selection … totaled 71 tackles and 3.0 sacks as a junior in 2011 … mother – Clarice McDowell … chose Mizzou over Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville and Mississippi State, among others … plans to major in business at Missouri.
Harneet “Neet” Gill
Fr., OL, 6-6, 280, St. Charles, Mo. (Francis Howell HS)
Possesses an immense frame to make an impact in trenches for Mizzou … one of the top recruits in the state of Missouri, ranked No. 11 by Rivals.com and No. 18 by ESPN.com … an all-conference offensive lineman for Francis Howell High School and head coach Bryan Koch … played primarily at left tackle … considered the No. 70 offensive tackle recruit by Rivals.com … voted team captain his senior season in 2012 … an all-conference selection after his junior season in 2011 … parents –
Bhupinder and Kulwinder Gill … also played basketball for the Vikings … plans to major in business administration at Missouri … listed Mizzou’s coaching staff and family atmosphere as reasons for choosing to be a Tiger.
Fr., DL, 6-4, 220, Kansas City, Mo. (Lincoln Prep HS)
A multisport in-state athlete who excelled on the basketball court for Lincoln Prep High School in Kansas City brings his talents to the gridiron for Mizzou … recorded 60 tackles, 12.0 sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior in 2012 … also snagged 15 passes for 285 yards and five touchdowns … recognized to the Missouri Football Coaches Association’s All-Kansas City Metro third team at defensive end … named league defensive MVP for Lincoln Prep head coach Allen Lee … notched 40
tackles and 6.0 sacks as a junior in 2011 … on the hardwood, earned first team All-Interscholastic League and Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2011-12 … father – William Harris … mother – Deborah Clark … plans to major in biology at Missouri … chose Mizzou for its outstanding academic reputation.
Fr., QB, 6-1, 230, Kansas City, Mo. (Staley HS)
(Last name is pronounced HOE-SICK) One of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, ranked 19th according to Rivals.com … one of 12 national finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, which honors high school student-athletes for the pursuit of athletic and academic excellence with integrity … considered the No. 35 pocket passer in the country by ESPN.com … rated as the sixth-best recruit in the state of Missouri by Rivals.com … was a finalist for the Simone Award, given annually to the top prep player in the Kansas City metro area … also a finalist for Gatorade’s Missouri Player of the Year … represented Team USA at the IFAF World Championships with fellow signees Chase Abbington, Alec Abeln and Eric Beisel … honored to first team All-State teams by the Missouri Football Coaches Association and Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association … passed for 1,882 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 1,609 yards and 18 scores on the ground as a senior in 2012 … led head coach Fred Bouchard’s Staley High School squad to the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 5 State Championship with an undefeated 14-0 season as a junior in 2011 … rushed for four touchdowns in the championship game vs. Kirkwood High School, leading Staley to a 35-21 victory … took the Falcons back to the state tournament in 2012, advancing to the quarterfinals … passed for 1,406 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 2,096 yards and 32 touchdowns as a junior in 2011 … parents – Tom and Colby Hosick … also an accomplished high school wrestler; having claimed the Class 3 heavyweight title after a perfect 29-0 campaign as a junior in 2012 … chose Mizzou over several major programs, including Arkansas, Baylor, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Northwestern, Arizona State and Illinois … plans to major in pre-med at Missouri … was president of his high school’s FCA chapter … has a strong belief in the Mizzou football program’s ability to work together to accomplish its goals.
Fr., DL, 6-1, 315, Columbia, Mo. (Rock Bridge HS)
A standout local defensive lineman who opted for Mizzou early during his senior season in 2012 … accumulated 94 tackles in his final season for Rock Bridge High School head coach and former Mizzou standout tight end A.J. Ofodile, along with 13 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and four forced fumbles … for his efforts, earned Missouri Class 6 first team All-State recognition from the Missouri Sports Writers and Sportscasters Association for the second consecutive season … named to the Columbia Tribune’s All- Area team at defensive tackle as a junior and senior … was a major playmaker as a junior in 2011, totaling 59 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble … parents – Marlin Logan and Charlotte Logan … stepmother – Deana Philips … also participated in basketball and wrestling while at Rock Bridge … plans to major in social work at Missouri … says that he was drawn to Mizzou because of the family atmosphere, as well as the football program’s graduation rate.
Fr., DL, 6-4, 255, Houston, Texas (Wheatley HS)
Imposing and skilled presence for Mizzou’s defensive trenches … the No. 27 strong side defensive end recruit in the country, according to Rivals.com … additionally rated as the 76th-best overall recruit in the state of Texas by the website … twice earned Class 4A All-District 21 recognition on the defensive
line for head coach Cornelius McFarland … tallied 78 tackles as a senior in 2012, including 10.0 sacks, to earn second team all-district and second team All-Greater Houston … also earned second team all district as a junior in 2011, recording 60 tackles and 8.0 sacks … had 43 tackles, 11.0 sacks and three forced fumbles to earn first team all-district honors as a sophomore in 2011 … father – Richard Loud … mother – Rostella Byrd … chose Mizzou over Michigan State, Mississippi State, Colorado, Iowa State and Texas Tech, among others … also participated in basketball and track and field for Wheatley … served as a captain for the Wildcats’ football and track squads … plans to major in early childhood education at Missouri … noted how much he liked Columbia, Mizzou’s coaching staff and the school’s academic reputation as playing roles in his recruitment.
Fr., WR, 6-3, 185, Missouri City, Texas (Elkins HS)
One of Texas’ top wide receiver prospects, selected 77th in Rivals.com’s Texas “Top 100” … picked No. 82 overall in Rivals’ Lone Star Recruiting “Top 100” … was a deep threat for Elkins High School and head coach Dennis Brantley as a senior in 2012, catching 50 passes for 1,026 yards and 10 touchdowns … ranked as the No. 73 wide receiver recruit in the class of 2013 by Rivals.com … snagged 30 catches for 722 yards and seven scores as a junior in 2011 … parents – Milton Moore and Betty Jones-Moore … chose Mizzou over Arizona, Texas, Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska, USC and Oklahoma State, among others … also participated in basketball and track and field for Elkins … plans to pursue physical therapy or sports medicine at Missouri … mentioned the strong impression Mizzou’s athletic department made on his recruiting visit.
Fr., DB, 5-10, 185, St. Louis, Mo. (Christian Brothers College HS)
(First name is pronounced AIR-ee-on) Speedy defensive back who is staying in-state with Mizzou … ranked No. 15 overall in the state of Missouri’s class of 2013 by Rivals.com and No. 16 by ESPN.com … showed superb athleticism throughout his career at Christian Brothers College High School for head coach Scott Pingel, snagging 59 catches for 896 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2012 … totaled 13 scores overall in his final high school season, rushing three times into the end zone and scoring twice on special teams … recorded two interceptions on defense for the Cadets … earned first team Class 6 All-State recognition from both the Missouri Football Coaches Association and Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association … snagged all-conference and all-metro recognition as a
junior and senior … contributed all over the field as a junior in 2011, catching 40 passes for 842 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing 27 times for 302 yards and four scores … added 51 tackles and two interceptions as a defender … parents – George and Kimberly Penton … chose Mizzou early in the recruiting process … also played basketball and ran track for Christian Brothers … plans to major in communications at Missouri … noted the Mizzou football program’s strong academic reputation as playing a part in his recruitment.
Fr., QB, 6-3, 210, Marietta, Ga. (Lassiter HS)
(Last name is pronounced PRINCE) Ranked as one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the Class of 2012, slotted at No. 32 by Rivals.com … rated No. 43 as a pocket passer, according to ESPN.com … led Lassiter High School and head coach Jep Irwin to its first-ever state championship semifinals appearance as a junior in 2011 … continued the Trojans success in 2012, fueling the team to a 10-0 regular season record and regional championship, passing for 2,959 yards and 29 touchdowns …
threw for 3,393 yards and 30 scores as a junior in 2011 … selected to the 2013 Semper Fidelis All- American Game, earning “Player of the Game” recognition … ranked in the Atlanta Journal- Constitution’s “Super 11” and slotted in the newspaper’s All-State first team … considered the No. 97 overall player in the state of Georgia for 2012 … awarded “Quarterback of the Year” by the Cobb County Touchdown Club after his final high school season … passed for 2,251 yards and 20
touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010 … father – Ed Printz … mother – Kim Riggi … chose Mizzou over major programs around the country, including Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, UCLA and Wisconsin … plans to major in sports management at Missouri … cited Mizzou’s facilities, academics, coaching staff and tradition as reasons for becoming a Tiger.
Fr., TE, 6-3, 235, Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)
Packs athleticism and size for the tight end position at Mizzou … considered the No. 23 tight end recruit in the nation according to ESPN.com … grabbed 15 catches for 338 yards and four touchdowns in a heavy run offense as a senior in 2012 … earned First Team Super Team honors from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram … helped Trinity High School and head coach Steve Lineweaver win 22 games during his junior and senior seasons … considered his county’s top football player as a senior and earned second team all-district … parents – Charles Reese and Cassandra Wallace … contributed on Trinity’s basketball and track squads … plans to major in criminal justice at Missouri … chose Mizzou over Arizona State, Indiana, Iowa State, Purdue and TCU, among others … chose Mizzou because of the Tigers’ players and family atmosphere.
Fr., OL, 6-5, 285, Leawood, Kan. (Blue Valley HS)
The No. 2 overall recruit in the state of Kansas according to Rivals.com, whose length and size translate well to line play for the Tigers … considered the No. 73 offensive tackle recruit in the nation by ESPN.com … anchored offensive line for Blue Valley High School and head coach Eric Driskell into the quarterfinals of the state playoffs as a senior in 2012 … played for the state championship as a junior in 2011 … picked by the Topeka Capital-Journal to its “All-State Top 33”… also selected to the paper’s Class 5A All-State squad on the offensive line … earned first team All-State recognition from the Wichita Eagle … parents – Randy and Debbie Rhodes … worked as a peer tutor while at Blue Valley … chose Mizzou over several major programs, including Kansas State, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Oregon State … plans to major in business at Missouri … chose Mizzou’s football program for its academic opportunities, as well as his respect for its coaching staff.
Fr., DB, 6-0, 180, Montgomery, Ala. (Carver HS)
Rated the No. 69 safety in the nation and the 44th-best overall recruit in the state of Alabama by ESPN.com … totaled 51 tackles and two interceptions for Carver High School and head coach Billy Gresham as a senior in 2012 … helped lead a Wolverine secondary unit that did not allow a passing touchdown until the Class 6A state playoffs … named to the Montgomery Advertiser’s All-Metro team at defensive back … participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic … recorded 56 tackles and two interceptions as a junior in 2011 … posted back-to-back seasons with 77 tackles as a freshman (2009) and sophomore (2010) … father – Harvey Harris … mother – Pattie Rupert-King … also participated in track and field at Carver, helping the squad’s 4×400 meter team to the state title in 2010 … chose Mizzou over Arkansas State, South Florida, Wake Forest and Southern Miss, among others … plans to major in business at Missouri … chose Mizzou because of his relationship with the Tiger coaching staff and the school’s academic reputation.
Fr., DB, 5-11, 180, Kansas City, Mo. (Hogan Prep HS)
A standout athlete in the state of Missouri’s class of 2013, rated by Rivals.com as the eighth-best recruit in the state and the No. 65 athlete in the nation … earned a first team Class 3 All-State nod at running back from the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, while receiving second team recognition from the Missouri Football Coaches Association … two-way player for Rams head coach Phil Lascuola … rushed for 1,591 yards and 19 touchdowns while making 35 tackles and two interceptions as a senior in 2012 … considered the fifth-best overall recruit in the state by ESPN.com and eighth-best by Rivals.com … recorded 53 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and five interceptions as a junior in 2011 … also participated in basketball and track and field for Hogan … father – Anthony
Sherrils … mother – Tasha Allen … chose Mizzou over Kansas and West Virginia, and had interest from Texas A&M, Nebraska and Kansas State … plans to major in chemical engineering at Missouri … made note of how Mizzou’s coaches and current players made him feel comfortable on his recruiting visit.
Jr., DB, 6-1, 210, New Orleans, La. (Fresno City CC)
A highly sought-after JUCO safety who went to Fresno City Community College following his career at Helen Cox High School in Harvey, La., to draw more interest from Division I football programs … played the 2011 and 2012 seasons at Fresno playing for head coach Tony Caviglia, recording 87 tackles and four interceptions this past year … rated as the No. 1 JUCO safety by 247Sports.com and considered a four-star prospect. … additionally scored two touchdowns and notched two sacks and two forced fumbles for the Rams in 2012, earning All-Valley Conference honors for his efforts … an All- District 8 linebacker for Class 4A Helen Cox as a senior in 2008 … helped the Cougars, led by head coach Willie Brooks, to the Class 4A state championship playoffs in his final high school season … also played basketball for Helen Cox … chose Mizzou over Memphis, Syracuse and Wisconsin, among others.
Fr., DL, 6-3, 300, Maplewood, Mo. (Maplewood HS)
One of the state of Missouri’s top defensive line recruits staying in-state with Mizzou … rated at No. 5 overall in the state of Missouri by Rivals.com and No. 7 by ESPN.com … considered the No. 35 defensive tackle prospect in the county by Rivals.com and No. 37 by ESPN.com … listed eighth in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s “Super 30” list of area … defensive force as a senior for head coach Brandon Gregory, recording 98 tackles and 18.0 sacks, earning first team Class 2 All-State recognition from the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscaster Association … also earned first team All-Metro recognition from the Post-Dispatch … totaled 78 tackles as a junior in 2011, including 11 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks … also forced two fumbles … honored to Class 2 All-State second team by the Missouri Football Coaches Association as a sophomore in 2011 … also brought in 7.0 sacks as a sophomore in 2011 … mother – Michele Lewis … chose Mizzou primarily over Kansas State, but also had interest from Alabama, Notre Dame and Nebraska, among many others … noted that the change to play for an SEC program that was close to home sold him on becoming a Tiger.