Everyone in Columbia, Missouri filled with excitement yesterday as the news broke of 2022 five-star wide receiver prospect out of Saint Louis, Luther Burden, announced he is no longer committed to the University of Oklahoma.
Burden committed to Oklahoma close to a year ago but had still been taking visits including several to Missouri where he was present for 7-on-7 camp and spring practice.
Burden is the consensus top player in the state of Missouri and top wide receiver in the class of 2022 and has remained head coach Eli Drinkwitz's and Missouri's top target at receiver despite committing to Oklahoma all those months ago.
Now, the refusal to stop pursuing Burden looks to be paying off as he is officially back on the market and Mizzou will be a top suitor in his recruitment.
Missouri and Georgia look to be the top two destinations for Burden according to Dave Matter of the STL Post-Dispatch and Burden still has visits planned to both schools.
However, Missouri fans should be confident that Burden will end up picking the Tigers over Georgia among other schools. Some may be asking, "What makes you so confident?". The truth is, the reasons are right in front of us but if you need help figuring out why, I've got the good stuff to share with you.
Here are five reasons Luther Burden will pick Mizzou:
1. Proximity to home
This reason may seem as a bit of a cop-out, and it is, because with most elite local prospects we tell ourselves "Well, Mizzou has a chance because it's close to home" but if there was more weight to that theory then Missouri would probably land more of those guys. However, proximity to home will be a big factor to Burden and his family. Mizzou is closer to Saint Louis then Norman or Athens and you have to acknowledge that as part of the reason Burden may have decommitted from Oklahoma. It may not matter all that much, but it does matter.
Another huge factor in the race for Burden's services is familiarity. Over Drinkwitz's tenure, he has been able to do very well in-state and bring in players such as Dominic Lovett, Tyler Macon, and Ohio State transfer Mookie Cooper all who hail from Saint Louis and grew up playing football in the area with Burden. I'm no insider, but I can tell you those guys have been in Burden's ear about coming to Mizzou and still will be until he commits. The prospect of teaming up with his friends at Mizzou has got to be appealing to Burden and heck, other top local recruits that will follow. It's becoming cool to go to Mizzou.
3. NIL opportunity
With college athletes now being able to make money off of their name, image, and likeness there going to be a lot of recruits who factor potential earnings into their decisions. Burden stated in his Twitter post that decommitting from Oklahoma was a "business decision" which if that means what I am about to imply, it's good for Missouri. This ties into the proximity from home factor a little bit because let's just say Burden commits to Missouri; the amount of hype around him and the "hometown hero" mantra that will come with it will be a big chance to rack in NIL dollars for Burden with jersey sales and commercials. Burden may not get that same kind of attention at a school like Georgia who is used to landing blue-chippers. We say that a lot for elite recruits but it's true.
4. Playing time
And continuing the theme of reasons that tie into each other, playing time is a huge factor because the faster Burden can get on the field and start making plays, the faster he can start cashing in on NIL. Although Drinkwitz has done a nice job adding to the receiver room, Burden would be option No.1 from day one if he chose Mizzou which would offer Burden the best opportunity to start earning recognition and once again, other blue blood programs can't exactly guarantee that.
5. Quarterback situation
An important aspect of recruiting the wide receiver position is "do you have a good quarterback situation to sell to them?" and boy does Missouri have a great one. Other schools will too, but it means more for Missouri because they haven't been able to say that for some time. Missouri's current group includes the reigning SEC Freshman of The Year in Connor Bazelak as well as second-year man Brady Cook and incoming Freshman Tyler Macon. That's not even mentioning 2022 pledge Sam Horn who is a four-star prospect and a top pro-style quarterback who can certainly sling the ball to a vertical threat like Burden in the future. Some of those names mentioned may never even play, but if they don't it means Mizzou found someone better and if they do that's a good thing and an appealing situation for receivers.