The first emotion created by Alex Ofodile's offer from Missouri was relief. That's not because the wide receiver was afraid the invitation would never show. It's not because he put a heap of pressure on himself to earn it. Mostly, it's because now everyone around him will shut up about it.
Living in the Tigers' backyard and attending Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge High School, the four-star junior hears plenty about the hometown school. Until now, most of the talk centered around how such a talented player could hold eight major scholarship offers but not one from the team that plays its home games down the street.
Finally, that discussion is over. Offer No. 9 came in on Wednesday, and the conversation changed in a hurry.
"It stopped all the talking," Ofodile said on Thursday. "People would ask me, 'who do you have offers from?' I'd tell them, and they'd be like 'no Mizzou?' That happened almost every day."
Perspective is important. And it's not as though MU waited until a week before signing day to make the offer. Ofodile still has more than a year before he will sign a letter of intent. The move is only late by 2012 standards. But whether they owed him one or not, the Tigers coaching staff gave the local target an explanation when things became official.
"They were just saying how the whole holdup was that they were thinking speed," Ofodile said. "Then they watched the first couple games from this season and they were blown away. They said I looked like a whole different player."
Ofodile's best 40 time was a 4.58. That came over the summer. Arguing how fast he is or isn't is for later. For now, the Rivals250 Watch List prospect is busy watching his relief turn into jubilation. He won't name a favorite at this early juncture, but he certainly doesn't paint his most recent offer as another drop in the bucket.
This one mattered.
"I wouldn't say Mizzou is the clear leader, but they've always been the dream school for sure," Ofodile said. "I'm just leaving everything open."
Notre Dame and Iowa State have become very active in Ofodile's recruitment as of late. Neither has made things official with an offer, but it looks like that may come in time. And that's fine by Ofodile. Nobody's badgering him about those schools. Just a junior in high school, he's in no rush.
"I was thinking sometime in August of next year for a commitment," he said. "It's gonna be a tough choice."
Ofodile has attended both of Missouri's home games this season and plans to take an unofficial visit to Ole Miss in November.
Rob Cassidy is a West Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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