football Edit

Analysis: Missouri keeps DJ Wesolak at home

Boonville, Mo., defensive end DJ Wesolak landed 50 scholarship offers from schools across the country. The three-star prospect went out and saw many of those schools, but ultimately decided there was no place like home and announced his commitment to the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Wesolak was not well-known in recruiting circles prior to his junior year, but once the floodgates opened there was no stopping the wave of scholarship offers. He landed his first 20 offers in a three-month period that spanned his junior season from the likes of Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas.

Missouri was also among that first wave of offers, part of a list that would eventually reach nearly 50 schools. The offer from the Tigers hit different, though. As Wesolak noted shortly after receiving the hometown offer, he grew up going to Missouri games and lives ten minutes from campus.

“That one really hit home for me,” Wesolak said of the Missouri offer at the time.

The NCAA had the college football recruiting process mired in a seemingly endless dead period at the time, though, and Wesolak had offers to consider from coast-to-coast. By the time that dead period ended last spring, Wesolak was ready to hit the road. He took official visits to Florida and USC in June, then another to Penn State in September.

When December hit, Wesolak was only able to narrow his list to a final eight, but LSU and Missouri were considered the strongest contenders in the final days. That feeling of landing the hometown offer and representing your own state never evaporated, though, and Wesolak made the choice to stay home.

SCOUTING REPORT

Long, athletic defensive ends will always be able to find a home at the college level. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Wesolak found that out when he tallied 59 tackles and eight sacks as a junior and received scholarship offers from the who’s who of college football powers.

Wesolak is still learning how to use his length, but he exploits opposing offensive linemen with a quick first step and relentless pursuit of the quarterback. As he hits the weight room and college training table, Wesolak will develop the strength needed to contend with offensive linemen at the point of attack. He is a risk-reward prospect, but the reward could be very high if Missouri can develop Wesolak to his potential.

RIVALS’ REACTION

Wesolak reminds me of Tre Williams, another local defensive end Missouri landed in the 2016 class. Williams finished with 85 tackles and eight sacks in a four-year career at Missouri before transferring to Arkansas this past season and collecting six more sacks among 28 total tackles. I saw Williams live his senior year of high school at Rock Bridge, and I see a lot of similarities in Wesolak.

There was no question that Williams was talented, but there were questions about whether he would reach that talent in college. Similarly, there are questions whether Wesolak will be able to play up to his ability at the next level. Williams succeeded and likely gets a shot in the NFL next year. That is the upside potential for Wesolak, too, if he can realize the extent of his talent in Columbia.