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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Missouri Taking Advantage Of On-Field Success

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxMissouri’s success this season appears to be spreading to the recruiting trail.

The Tigers received a commitment from offensive lineman Andy Bauer from De Smet Jesuit High School in St. Louis earlier this week. Bauer, who originally committed to Missouri in 2012, switched his pledge from Ole Miss.

The move was significant. Missouri has struggled in recent years to land top prospects from St. Louis, including 2013 running back prospect Ezekiel Elliott, who signed with Ohio State. When Bauer committed to Ole Miss in March, a “here we go again” feeling returned to Missouri fans.

Bauer announced his commitment to Missouri in a statement he released on twitter. Bauer twice mentioned the strong relationship he has with coach Gary Pinkel and his staff at Missouri. Bauer wrote in part:

“I am excited to be able to play for and represent my home state school. I want to be a part of bringing a championship to the state of Missouri and Mizzou. I am very thankful for the opportunity to study and play football at the University of Missouri.”

Bauer, who’s ranked the No. 1 prospect in the state of Missouri by Rivals, is easily the highest-rated prospect from inside the state to commit to the Tigers. The next highest-ranked prospect to give a pledge to Missouri is defensive back Logan Cheadle, who’s ranked the No. 11 prospect in the state.

De Smet coach Pat Mahoney told the Columbia Daily-Tribune he doesn’t believe Bauer “ever wanted to leave” Missouri. He gave an early commitment to Ole Miss, which left a lot of time to give a second look at Missouri.

“The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to go to Mizzou,” Mahoney said of Bauer. “He wanted to stay closer to home. Everything that has to do with leaving behind all the friends and things and everything else starts to get with a young man. He realized it’s what he really wanted to do.”

Missouri has helped itself greatly by playing well on the field this season. Last year was a disaster for Missouri, which dealt with offseason criticism and speculation about Pinkel’s job security.

All of that talk is gone now that Missouri has an 8-1 record and has returned to the BCS conversation. Prospects have taken notice.


Missouri has 25 commitments for the 2014 class. Nine of those pledges come from Florida and Georgia, two states that Missouri will continue to recruit in the future.

The Tigers are hopeful they can keep their momentum on the recruiting trail this week.

Linebacker Brandon Lee from Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis is set to announce his college decision on Friday. Louisville had been considered a popular favorite to land Lee, but “a couple different sources with knowledge of the situation” told 247Sports that Missouri is the team to beat.

Lee would be another big get for Missouri — and another sign that the Tigers are headed back in the right direction.


Harris signs with LSU

Quarterback Brandon Harris from Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., signed with LSU on Thursday.

How did Harris sign with the Tigers almost three months before national signing day? Harris signed a financial aid agreement, which is a great benefit to the student-athlete.

LSU is now obligated to honor its scholarship offer to Harris, who normally would have to wait a few more months to guarantee himself a free education. The added benefit to Harris is he still has options.

If something changes in his status with LSU, Harris could opt to attend another school next fall. While that scenario is unlikely here, it’s possible and gives Harris more freedom than the traditional national letter of intent (which he can still sign in February).

It’s a great move by the NCAA to allow prospects to sign a financial aid agreement early, and more prospects need to know their options. Last year, Arkansas running back Alex Collins, Florida State linebacker Matthew Thomas and UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes all ran into issues regarding the letter of intent. The financial aid agreement gives them more flexibility.

Parkway coach David Feaster smartly encouraged the Harris family to go ahead and sign the financial aid agreement with LSU after last month’s rule interpretation allowed them to do so.

“I told his dad, ‘There is no downside for you,’” Feaster told ESPN. “I thought this was a real good move by the NCAA.”

And a great move for student-athletes.


Trey Lyles chooses Kentucky

Another week brought Kentucky another highly-touted basketball prospect.

Power forward Trey Lyles from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis chose the Wildcats over Louisville this week. Lyles, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect for the 2014 class by Rivals, is the fourth commitment for Kentucky.

Lyles gives the Wildcats another opportunity to sign the nation’s top class. Kentucky has four of the nation’s top 33 prospect by Rivals committed for 2014.

“Just because Coach Cal’s record with guys like me and what he’s been able to do with guys such as myself,” Lyles said, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “And just really getting us to the stage that we want to be at, which is, for me, the NBA. I want to be an all-star, and he’s had a lot of guys that have been able to step up to that stage.”

Lyles will play alongside center Karl Towns, the nation’s No. 11 ranked player. national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader he expects Lyles and Towns to make up a successful frontcourt.

“I think they’ll play really well together. They both have some similar strengths. Karl likes to step out and shoot and that’s something Trey can do really well, too. That’s two pretty skilled post players playing next to each other.”


Berry twins add two more for Tennessee

Tennessee’s 2014 class is up to 29 commitments thanks to the pledges from athletes Elliott and Evan Berry from Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga.

The younger brothers of former Vol Eric Berry have long been considered leans to Tennessee.

“To decide now was the right time,” Evan Berry told “Lots of coaches are already thinking that we are signed, sealed and delivered to Tennessee. Eric told us that we would know when the time came and it’s here.”

It will be interesting to see how Tennessee handles the rest of the 2014 class. The Vols can sign up to 30 prospects, which leaves them one scholarship to give outside of the 29 prospects who are committed. Tennessee has also promised a scholarship to 2013 signee Devaun Swafford, who agreed to a walk-on position his first year on campus.

Tennessee is expecting a group of high-profile visitors this weekend, headlined by cornerback Adoree’ Jackson from Gardena, Calif. Other visitors expected to visit Knoxville this weekend include defensive lineman Abu Lamin from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and offensive lineman David Sharpe from Providence School in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tennessee is actively recruiting several other prospects, including in-state wide receiver Josh Malone and defensive tackle Charles Mosley. If any of those prospects commit to Tennessee, the Vols will have to find room somewhere within the class.


Tight end Goolsby set to announce

Tight end DeAndre Goolsby from Derby (Kan.) High School will announce his decision on Friday.

Goolsby, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 tight end by Rivals, is considering Arkansas, Florida, Kansas State, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

Arkansas and Kansas State are the two most likely destinations, according to ESPN.



Lee did commit to Mizzou.  Wondering about the two linemen from STL who have not committed to anyone.


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