All you have to do is look at the Missouri Tiger’s football roster and count the number of players from Texas to see what a huge affect the state of Texas has had on the Tigers’ program. Since Gary Pinkel became the head coach in 2001, the Tigers have recruited in the state of Texas very heavily and with good success.
Outside of the state of Missouri, the state of Texas has produced the most players on Missouri’s roster. There were 35 players from the Longhorn State on the Tiger’s roster this year.
After Missouri announced that they were leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, many people wondered how this would affect the Texas pipeline for Missouri. Texas has been very important and, since 2002, has brought players like Brian Smith, Chase Daniel, Ziggy Hood, Denario Alexander, Sean Weatherspoon, Michael Egnew, and James Franklin to Columbia.
So far the announcement has had very little affect on the number of players committing to Missouri from Texas. Over the last three years, Missouri has averaged eight commitments per season from players out of Texas. With two days remaining before National Signing Day, the Tigers currently have seven commitments from the Longhorn State, and four of those players committed after the SEC announcement.
It’s still way too early to tell what kind of affect the move to the SEC will have on the Missouri football program and recruiting but so far there hasn’t been a huge drop off. It’s important for the Tigers to continue to recruit the state of Texas hard but they will also need to start focusing on states like Florida, Mississippi, and South Carolina which are also loaded with talent.
The very first sign of a recruiting shift for Missouri was when they got a commitment out of Sean Culkin, a tight end out of Florida. Culkin had offers from Kansas, Miami, Rutgers and many others, but chose to be a Tiger.
Pinkel has also prepared for life in the SEC by assigning two coaches to recruit Florida and another coach to focus on Georgia. The Tigers have also scheduled a road game at Central Florida which shows they are making an effort to reach more Florida recruits and get their program more recognition in the Southeast.
I expect this trend to continue and you will start seeing many more players from states in the southeast on Missouri’s roster, but Pinkel will not forget how he built the Tiger’s program. The state of Texas should continue to be a priority for Missouri and I expect it will be.