5-star wide receiver Luther Burden commits to Missouri over Georgia and Alabama

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ST. LOUIS — Luther Burden is staying home.

The East St. Louis (Illinois) wide receiver, one of the highest-rated recruiting prospects ever pursued by Missouri football, has verbally committed to the Tigers.

Burden chose Missouri over Southeastern Conference foes Georgia and Alabama on Tuesday night.

“I’m 100 percent locked in,” Burden said after committing.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Burden is rated by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 6 overall prospect in the Class of 2022. He's the second-highest-rated receiver in the country and the top prospect in Illinois and the Midwest.

Luther Burden moments before committing to play football at Missouri.
Luther Burden moments before committing to play football at Missouri.

For nearly a year, Missouri figured it was on the outside looking in to attain Burden's services, as he originally committed to Oklahoma last October and stayed pledged to the Sooners until this August.

On Aug. 17, Burden backed off his pledge to Oklahoma and didn't include the Sooners in his top three preferred schools last month.

Since Burden announced his top three, he's taken only two official visits. His first was to Columbia on Oct. 9 to see the Tigers defeat North Texas. Burden's most recent visit was in Athens, to see Georgia play Kentucky on Saturday.

Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz visited in person with Burden prior to East St. Louis' game against Edwardsville (Illinois) on Friday night. Burden went on to score three touchdowns.

Drinkwitz considers the entire St. Louis and Kansas City metro areas to be "in-state" territory for MU, even the areas crossing the Illinois and Kansas borders.

Having the best high school players already in Missouri's backyard become Tigers is arguably Drinkwitz's biggest recruiting priority.

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Securing Burden's pledge is the biggest sign thus far in Drinkwitz's tenure of the Tigers closing down the local borders to national powerhouses.

"It's been a tremendous emphasis for us to get the best players within the state to play for us," Drinkwitz said last Wednesday. "... We've got to do a great job recruiting our borders and recruiting our state. (The St. Louis) side of the state has got some really good football players."

Burden is the second-highest-rated commitment in Missouri football history, according to 247Sports.

Dorial Green-Beckham, the No. 1 national commit in the Class of 2012, is the lone previous Tiger to have a higher rating than Burden.

Green-Beckham's two years at Missouri were marred by legal troubles. He was eventually dismissed from the team in April 2014. He hasn't played football since 2016 after a brief stay with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Burden is the fourth five-star prospect to pledge to Missouri and the first since 2015 — a fellow East St. Louis Flyer in Terry Beckner Jr., the No. 3-highest-rated commit in MU history. Sheldon Richardson was the program's first in the Class of 2009.

Missouri's Class of 2022 was already viewed as impressive before Burden's commitment, sitting at No. 18 nationally and No. 6 in the SEC.

Burden is the seventh blue-chip prospect (four or five stars) to pledge to Missouri as part of the Class of 2022. He's the first since DeShawn Woods, an offensive lineman, who pledged to the Tigers in early July.

Overall, Burden is commitment No. 15 in the 2022 class. His intention of coming to Columbia should launch Missouri's recruiting class into the top 15 nationally and the top five in the SEC, both of which would be uncharted territory for the program should it maintain that ranking come National Signing Day in December.

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Luther Burden, five-star WR, commits to Missouri football team