Mizzou sent shockwaves through the college football world Monday afternoon when they landed On3.com's No. 1 ranked player in the nation for the class of 2024, Williams Nwaneri.
Nwaneri chose the home state Tigers over the likes of Oklahoma, Georgia, Oregon, and Tennessee. While there's no doubt the state of Missouri's new NIL law was a major factor in keeping Nwaneri within the borders, head coach Eli Drinkwitz maintained a strong relationship with the Five-Star prospect over time that ultimately prevented him from committing to Oklahoma and Georgia at different points.
Obviously, you can't overstate the impact of landing a five-star recruit and the No. 1 player in the country. Especially a local recruit who could've gone anywhere he wanted. It feels like an even bigger win than the Luther Burden commitment just because of how many different ways Nwaneri was leaning and the fact he is the top player in his class. That said, Eli Drinkwitz and Missouri's big recruiting win looks a lot more impressive when you start to break down the numbers.
Starting with Mizzou's class ranking, Nwaneri's commitment bumped them all the way up to 40th in the nation on On3.com, 49th on Rivals.com, and 55th on 247sports.com. While it's still not where Mizzou wants to be in the overall team rankings, landing a recruit of Nwaneri's profile drastically raises the ceiling of the class and makes Missouri a more attractive destination to other top recruits. Committed and Uncommitted.
It also needs to be acknowledged that team rankings are determined by total number of "points". More commits equals more points. That means there are a lot of classes ahead of Missouri, but they have nothing but three-star recruits. Average star rating is a better indicator of how well a school is recruiting. In that case, Missouri has an average star rating of 88.29 according to 247sports.com, which actually puts their class somewhere in the top 25-30. Essentially, Quality over Quantity.
Of course, this isn't the first time Missouri has landed the No. 1 player in the country in football. They did it with Dorial Green-Beckham in 2012, and had recruiting rankings been established back in 1985, Tony Van Zant likely would've been the one of three.
Nonetheless, Missouri's landing of Nwaneri made it the second time in the modern recruiting era that they've nabbed a No. 1 ranked recruit. Thus, joining a very small group of programs to have ever landed the No. 1 player in the nation twice.
You also have to credit Eli Drinkwitz, Missouri has landed five five-star recruits in its history according to 247sports.com. Drinkwitz already has two of them. Regardless of how his tenure turns out you can't discredit his recruiting and he will have significantly elevated the talent on roster.
Additionally, if you go by Rivals.com recruiting rankings, Missouri remains just one of thirteen programs to ever land a No. 1 ranked recruit. The other schools? Georgia, Jackson State, LSU, Michigan, Auburn, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Penn State, Oklahoma, and Alabama. Worth noting that results vary depending on what recruiting service you look at but regardless, the sentiment remains that Missouri is in elite company when it comes to football recruiting.
Missouri is also one of thirteen programs to land a five-star recruit in the class of 2024 according to On3.com's rankings. With still plenty of time to add another such as in-state wide receiver Ryan Wingo who Missouri is the perceived favorite for.
Any way you look at it, yesterday was a massive win for Missouri's football program and a historic recruiting get that transforms the perspective of Mizzou football recruiting. If yesterday told us anything, it's that Missouri needs to be respected when it comes to recruiting against blue bloods for some of the elite recruits in the nation and the state's new NIL legislation only amplifies that. Enjoy this one, Mizzou fans. Because this one is big.