February 04, 2011
I admit right off the top recruiting rankings are a crapshoot. There are just too many variables. If general managers in the NFL miss on half the first round picks, why would anyone expect recruiting services to hit on more than that with kids that are five years younger?
That said, the state of Missouri looks to have a bumper crop of recruits for 2012. Springfield receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has a shot to be the top-rated recruit in the country. Durron Neal and Evan Boehm are highly regarded kids. At least three more players from the Show-Me State already have verbal offers from the home-state Tigers.
So, on paper, where does this class rank? I did some research this morning. We take a lot of heat when we get it wrong, so how about two classes where we got it right?
Let's start in 2009. Rivals.com listed the top five recruits in the state this way that year:
1. Sheldon Richardson
2. Ronnie Wingo, Jr.
3. Nathan Scheelhaase
4. Montee Ball
5. T.J. Moe
Three of the five play major roles for bowl teams from BCS Conferences. Scheelhaase was the starting quarterback for a 7-6 Illinois team that turned things around in Champaign. Ball ran for more than 1,000 yards and was the offensive star for Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Moe was Missouri's best player in a 10-3 season. Wingo doesn't start, but did play for an Arkansas team that made the Sugar Bowl. Richardson hasn't played a college down yet, but just re-signed with Missouri and figures to fight for a starting job this fall.
The other class where we looked pretty smart was 2006. Here are our top five from that year:
1. Josh Freeman-First-round NFL Draft pick
2. Adrian Clayborn-About to be a first-round NFL Draft pick
3. Jeremy Maclin-First-round NFL Draft pick
4. Tim Barnes-Three-year starter at Mizzou, will get a shot in the NFL
5. Zach Kendall-Starter at Kansas State
If you could rework the rankings, Maclin would probably move to number one and switch places with Freeman. But that's a strong top five.
Will the Class of 2012 match it? Ask me in four years.