Photo courtesy of Missouri athletics
There aren’t many college football programs with as much buzz around them as the Missouri Tigers after hiring former Appalachian State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz.
In just six short months, Drinkwitz has made a name for himself as a fierce recruiter. The 36-year-old has made in-state recruiting a top priority.
Many regarded former head coach-turned Arkansas coordinator Barry Odom’s efforts to recruit St. Louis and Kansas City as lackluster, so turning the focus back to Missouri is important for Drinkwitz and his staff. Drinkwitz did a very good job keeping together the 2020 recruiting class Odom had put together before his December firing.
4-star receiver JJ Hester and Mr. Football of Tennessee, running back Elijah Young, both deciding to stay with the program was huge.
He did an even better job with the players he added once he got to Columbia, snagging cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr. from Duncanville, Texas. Rakestraw chose Missouri over both Alabama and Texas. While Drinkwitz has ignited the fan base with his recruiting and strong message, many of his commits won’t arrive on campus until summer 2021. For the new staff, the primary focus must be on preparing for the 2020 season.
2019 Season in Review
Missouri comes off of a disappointing 6-6 (3-5 SEC) season where most expected the Tigers to win as many as 10 or 11 games. After an exciting 5-1 start for the Tigers, their flame was extinguished with a rainy loss at Vanderbilt. Missouri wouldn’t win again until the last game of the season at Arkansas.
Injuries, an unstable locker room and rough play-calling plagued the Tigers in 2019. With Coach Drinkwitz on campus, 2020 is a new year for Missouri. The team will look to start fresh with a new staff and a brand new class of players.
The team does lose linebacker Cale Garrett, tight end Albert Okuegbunam, defensive tackle Jordan Elliot and graduate transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant among others. All of these players were leaders, key contributors or both for the 2019 Tigers. The year won’t be easy, but Coach Drinkwitz and his staff are ready to go.