Most of Missouri’s recruits are in-state players

COLUMBIA — Missouri’s first full foray into Southeastern Conference recruiting turned out to be a little more Midwestern than Southeastern.

The Tigers went heavy on in-state players, landing 11 from Missouri on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

“I thought overall we did really well in the state,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “I think we finished up 80 or 85 percent ... of the ones we offered. ... That’s really important for us in the state of Missouri. It’s excellent in terms of consistency in back to back years we’ve done a good job there and hopefully continue to grow.”

It’s the highest number of in-state commits since Missouri signed 11 in 2007.

The in-state recruits included Fort Zumwalt South running back Chase Abbington, considered the state’s No. 2 recruit by Rivals and ESPN. Abbington had nearly 1,000 yards rushing last season for Fort Zumwalt South. Inside linebacker Eric Beisel from Rockwood Summit High School in St. Louis is listed as a four-star recruit by ESPN.

The class also included Jefferson City High School linebacker Joe Burkett.

Missouri, which received 20 letters of intent, missed out on the state’s top recruit, running back Ezekiel Elliott from John Burroughs in St. Louis. Elliott signed with Ohio State.

But this year’s crop lacked the flare it had when Missouri signed the nation’s No. 1 recruit last year in receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. It also lacked a lot of players from the Southeast.

Just one player each came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, areas the Tigers hoped to emphasize when they moved to the SEC. It’s likely to take a while to make roots in many of those talent-rich states.

“It’s going to be a transition period,” Pinkel said. “It’s just like when we got into Texas, we end up with 30 players on our team from the state of Texas. It wasn’t like that 10 years ago. Nobody there even knew us. And so it’s constantly building relationships. It’s getting out there, it’s winning. It’s all those things.”

Pinkel said the next two or three years will still be a transition for recruiting. This year Missouri had one coach in Georgia, two in Florida and three in Texas. That likely will change in the next couple of years.

Right now, recruiting experts don’t believe Missouri’s class matches up with others in the conference. According to ESPN, Missouri ranked 38th nationally, last in the SEC. Six of the top 10 teams nationally are SEC schools. Rivals also has Missouri ranked last in the SEC and 48th nationally.

“I’ve never ever looked at the rankings as a coach,” Pinkel said. “... I think our evaluation system has proved overall that it works. We believe in it.”

Missouri signed two quarterbacks in the group, Trent Hosick out of Staley High School in Kansas City and Eddie Printz out of Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga.

“He’s a winner,” associate head coach Andy Hill said of Hosick. “Up until this year, in this football season, he had not lost one single competition he was involved with from growing up middle school to now.”

Both have already enrolled at Missouri. That gives Missouri four other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster to compete with returning starter James Franklin.

Missouri also went heavy on linemen, coming away with three offensive linemen and six defensive linemen. With all the injuries Missouri suffered last season, Pinkel joked they need 20 offensive and defensive linemen.

“The offensive line group is a really good group of athletes and players and size potential,” he said.

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