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Take Two: How critical is it for Missouri to get in-state recruits?

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position

Barry Odom
Barry Odom (AP Images)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.

MORE TAKE TWO: Is Alabama poised to have another strong close to recruiting cycle? | Is Notre Dame a lock to get into Playoff if it runs the table?


Missouri has not landed the top in-state player since 2015, when four-star quarterback Drew Lock picked the Tigers - and that has worked out pretty well, as Lock has serious potential as a first-round NFL Draft pick and he’s a big reason why Missouri is playing so well, especially on offense.

But a lot of talented players have left the state in recent years, players that possibly could have made Missouri an even bigger SEC East contender and it’s something coach Barry Odom and his staff have to stop.

In the 2016 recruiting class, the top three players from Missouri chose Wisconsin, Kansas State and Northwestern. In the 2017 group, OG Marquis Hayes was the state’s top-ranked player and he went to Oklahoma. DE Chester Graves was second on that list. He chose Ole Miss.

The most recent recruiting cycle might have hurt most. Two four-star defensive tackles in Trevor Trout and Michael Thompson could have been the future of Missouri’s defensive line. Instead, Trout picked USC and Thompson headed to play for the Sooners. None of the state’s top five players picked the Tigers, as Clemson and Ohio State came in for talent as well.

The 2019 group might be better, as Missouri already has five in-state commitments. But at the top again, the state’s top player, St. Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic’s Isaiah Williams has already committed to Illinois and the third-best prospect in the state, four-star receiver Jameson Williams from St. Louis Cardinal Ritter, just committed to Ohio State.

Does Odom and his staff have to recruit the state better or can Missouri win by going elsewhere for talent?


“In-state recruiting has definitely been an issue the last couple of years. In Odom’s last two classes, the Tigers signed only four high school players from Missouri. One didn’t make it to campus and two others were very late offers.

"But things appear to be turning around with five in-state commitments in this class and more seemingly on the way. In-state recruiting is relatively important for a program like Missouri because you’re not going to go out of state and get many four- and five-star kids. When the state of Missouri produces those, the Tigers need to get them. There isn’t enough talent in the state to sustain a good program without help from outside, but if you can get most of your top targets from the state on a regular basis, you’ve got a good core to a class every year.

"Missouri has always had some difficulty recruiting its own state and the move to the SEC only made it tougher by bringing in a number of schools that had never really paid much attention to high school players in Missouri before.”


“It’s important to recruit your home state well, but Missouri's situation is not surprising. A lot of schools raid the state of Missouri, and there is a lot of talent year in and year out. The Trout year, that was a really good year for top players in that state. When you have a year like that you have to keep them home, so the fact that they haven’t been able to do that, that they’ve lost out to power programs like USC, which can come in and steal a kid like that, is not a good deal for them whatsoever. The more they win, the more they’ll be able to keep kids home, so it’s really going to come down to them being consistent winners.”