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Missouri Shifts Recruiting Focus to Texas


Missouri once looked south toward Texas for impact football recruits. But when the Tigers aligned with the SEC, they turned to more traditional Southern locales such as Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.

New coach Barry Odom sees things differently. The roots of his coaching staff spring from Oklahoma and Texas, and he intends to grab a major share of Texas talent.

“St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas – when you talk about the alumni base for the University of Missouri, Dallas is towards the top,” he told the Columbia Missourian. “The brand of the SEC to a Texas kid is appealing.”

Four former Sooners aid Odom in the Lone Star recruiting search. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, defensive line coach Chris Wilson, tight end coach Joe Jon Finley, and assistant offensive coach Jon Cooper all donned the crimson and cream during their playing days.

Wilson and Finley both hail from Texas. Finley also coached last season at Baylor, and his father Mickey Finley posted a 221-161-4 record at 10 schools over four decades.

Defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross also cut his coaching teeth on Texas recruiting. The former Tiger safety spent the last three years at TCU, working the Houston area for the Horned Frogs.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind there’s players there that can play and can help us win now,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’ve just got to get together as a staff and whatever Coach Odom decides is what we’ll attack.”

With their late start, the Tigers signed on two Texans on National Signing Day. Safety DeMarcus Acy from Wilmer-Hutchins and linebacker Trey Baldwin from Cypress Falls pledged their gridiron services to Mizzou.

Missouri’s numbers have followed a similar pattern over the past four years. The Tigers inked five from Texas in 2012, three in 2013, two in 2014, and none in the 2015.

But in their Big 12 days, Lone Star recruits played a much larger role. From 2001 to 2011, The Tigers averaged 7.6 Texans each year and signed nine or more four times.

Tiger fans would savor a quarterback in the mold of Texas transplant Chase Daniel. Big 12 colleges south of the Red River ignored the Southlake Carroll product, who led the Dragons to state titles in 2002 and 2004, because of his height.

But Daniel stymied the Lone Star recruiting experts, starting three seasons at Missouri and becoming the Tiger career leader in total offensive yardage (13,256 yards). His junior season, the former Dragon captured the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year award while leading the Tigers to 12-2 record and a 38-7 win over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.

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