How early signing period could have affected previous Missouri recruits

missouri-recruiting-early signing period

From Dec. 20 through Dec. 22, high school players will be able to sign National Letters of Intent with college programs during the early signing period. It’s the first time high school football players will be able to sign with schools prior to National Signing Day, held on the first Wednesday of February.

While the future effects of the first early signing period are unknown, we’re taking a look back to see how this period could have affected previous Missouri football teams.

For this story, we’re taking a hypothetical look on which players Missouri could have missed on, and which players the Tigers could have signed, if the early signing period was installed years ago. We’re using the last full week before Christmas as previous early signing periods.

Missouri misses on RB Russell Hansbrough

Running back Russell Hansbrough was a high 3-star recruit out of Arlington (Texas) Bowie High School in the 2012 recruiting class. He committed to Arizona State in July 2011, and stayed committed as the Sun Devils underwent a coaching change. Dennis Erickson was fired; former Pitt coach Todd Graham replaced him in December.  On Dec. 19, 2011, Hansbrough spoke to Graham and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell for the first time, according to ASUDevils.com.

“I still really like ASU and am committed, but I’m also looking around,” Hansbrough said at the time.

While it would have been unlikely, Hansbrough could have signed early with Arizona State if the early signing period existed during his recruiting class. Instead, he passed on the Sun Devils and committed to Missouri on Jan. 9, 2012. He was a four-year player for the Tigers, rushing for 2,344 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2013, Hansbrough was part of a three-headed monster at running back, joining Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy. The trio led the SEC’s second-best rushing attack, and guided Missouri to its first SEC East championship.

The next year, Hansbrough was Missouri’s leading rusher with 1,084 yards and 10 touchdowns. He and Murphy were the steady performers in a struggling offense, but Hansbrough’s ability on the ground, combined with Missouri’s stellar defense, sent the Tigers back to Atlanta for another SEC Championship Game berth.

If the early signing period occurred, Missouri would have missed on a key performer from the best two-year stretch in school history.

Missouri signs DE Dimarya Mixon — but loses a star in the process

Dimarya Mixon has one of the strangest recruiting and college sagas in recent history — he committed to four different schools in a two-year stretch, he signed with two different schools and then ended his career at a third school (SMU) as a graduate transfer. But had the early signing period existed during the 2013 recruiting cycle, Mixon would have likely signed with Missouri. After de-committing from Arizona State in November, Mixon — a 3-star recruit — visited Missouri and then committed on Dec. 7, 2012.

Then, however, he visited Nebraska shortly before National Signing Day, de-committed from the Tigers and signed with Nebraska. He never enrolled at Nebraska, though, and signed with Tennessee in the following recruiting class.

Because of Mixon’s flip, Missouri had room to offer and sign a completely unknown athlete from Kansas City, Mo.:

Charles Harris.

Harris, of course, would go on to become a star in Missouri’s defense, finishing with 18 sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss in three seasons. He left after the 2016 season and was a first-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins.

Mixon’s senior season with the Mustangs cut short by a knee injury suffered early this season. In 21 games at Tennessee and SMU, he had 6 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

In this case, the lack of an early signing period looks to have helped the Tigers.

The post How early signing period could have affected previous Missouri recruits appeared first on SEC Country.

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