2012 Tiger Mailbag: Free 2nd edition

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Each Wednesday, publisher Gabe DeArmond and recruiting editor Pete Scantlebury will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at On to this week's inquiries:
mufootball1 asks: In the Chamber on Friday, you stated that it would be a surprise if the remaining 6 or so spots in the 2012 class were filled with players outside of:
Kentrell Brice
Edward Pope
Michael Onuoha
Devante Terrell
Jake Meador
Javonte Magee
David Perkins
Aaron Curry
With Magee and Perkins off the board do you still think we get six of the seven remaining from this list?
GD: I'm not sure I stated my argument well. I think they would take six if six wanted to come. But I don't think they HAVE to take six. Probably three or four would be my guess. I never rule out a surprise and it certainly could happen, but I think we have a pretty good handle on things. Of course, since that Chamber, the name Damien Lawry has emerged as a possibility. I don't know if Mizzou has to take six. I think they'll take four. If they're the right six, they could potentially go as high as six, but wouldn't have to. I don't think they take more than one off that list because I don't think they're in a position where they have to send out offers just to fill a spot.
ZouFan27 asks: Coach Haith has cast a wide net when it comes to recruiting but there doesn't appear to be any Big fish.
Are there any blue chip kids that he's targeting?
GD: I would consider Devonta Pollard and Ishmail Wainright are pretty big fish. They've got offers out to kids like Julius Randle, though I don't know if Randle is really considering Mizzou. But, yes, they're trying to get some of the bigger names in both 2013 and 2014.
drawnitsud asks: Why is Brice being given so many chances in the face of it all? And bc of our dogged approach do you ultimately think we land him?
PS: The recruitment of Kentrell Brice is one of the weirder sagas in history. After decommitting from Missouri to stay closer to home at Louisiana Tech, he switched to Oregon State sight unseen in late December.
Now, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Missouri are in the picture, and Oklahoma is rumored to be showing interest. Brice already cancelled another Missouri visit, and it's unclear if he'll visit Columbia before Signing Day.
The only reason Brice remains in the picture for Missouri is that the coaching staff must really like him. With all the recent interest, Brice's 5.5 three-star ranking might be due for a boost.
I'm not sure if Missouri will land Brice. I don't think anyone can predict where he'll land. This might be one of those recruitments were no one knows until that LOI is faxed on Feb. 1.
Mizzou1086 asks: Which of the incoming basketball transfers do you see having the biggest impact next year?
GD: I'm going to go with Earnest Ross. The reason is that I think he's probably the most complete player of the three right now. Keion Bell is a great scorer, but I think Ross' size might make him a little bit more versatile guy. I think he fills the role Kim English is playing this year. In addition, Ross has already done it in a major conference. Bell was very good at Pepperdine, but we haven't seen him game in, game out in a major conference. Jabari Brown only played two games and won't be eligible till semester. So my money at this point is on Ross.
tlbjlb asks: What's your prediction on where Michael Onuoha ends up? Does (OU Assistant) Brent Venables taking a job with Clemson help us with any current targets looking at OU and Mizzou?
PS: If I had to predict, I would say Oklahoma. That's because Missouri never pulls an Oklahoma kid out of that state if he has an OU offer.
It's not as cut and dry as it normally is, as Missouri has been in on Onuoha longer than anyone. The family is close with Josh Henson. Still, if he doesn't pick Oklahoma after that Jan. 27 weekend visit, it would be one of the more miraculous recruiting hauls in Pinkel's tenure.
As for Venables, I don't think his departure would affect any recruits that are interested in Missouri. I'm not aware of him being the lead recruiter on any recruits that had legitimate interest in Missouri before they committed.
tlbjb asks: As it stands right now we have 17 commitments (18 with Darius White) and it has been reported that we will have room for 23-24 commitments. What do you believe the strategy of the coaching staff will be if we are unable to get the 5-6 additional commitments? Will they dig deeper into their "Plan B" options or will they use a few scholarships to reward walk-ons (for 1 year) and bank those scholarships to use next year when we have a more established recruiting network in the SEC footprint?
PS: Missouri won't finish this class with 17 commitments, but if there are one or two spots open by Signing Day, I don't see them sending out any late offers, either. Missouri appears to have identified a level of player that's a bit higher than past years, and isn't budging. Now, if there are still 17 commitments a few days before NSD, I imagine they'll have to send out more offers, because back-to-back classes that small make it virtually impossible to build good depth.
But, I wouldn't be surprised if this class finished with 20 or 21 recruits either. Of course, that's all contingent on them missing on most of the high-level recruits they're after.
jncatch asks: Every time we play zone it seems we get killed on our help D. Have you broken down the tape to see how we play in a zone vs. one-on-one?
GD: No. I don't generally go back and watch the games and analyze them. I'm sure the coaching staff has and knows what the strengths are. There are some teams Missouri is going to have to zone. I thought it made sense to play it against A&M. You might have to do it against Baylor to keep Pierre Jackson out of the paint and to attempt to neutralize the ridiculous size advantage the Bears have. I think it's a game-by-game decision.
mattspence asks: Ten years from now has Mizzou played in an SEC championship game in Football and have we won the SEC in basketball?
GD: I will say yes on football based on the assumption the divisional alignment stays the same. If the Tigers move West for some reason, then I'm far less confident about it. I don't know if the Tigers will have won an SEC title game, but I'll say they will play in at least one in the next ten years.
In hoops, with Kentucky going the way it's going, I have a hard time forecasting the Tigers to win the league. Sure, it's possible, but the Wildcats are at a different level than just about anyone in America, much less the SEC.
GAB90 asks: A few weeks ago someone posted a thread about how Texas, Louisiana, & Mississippi have spring HS football and how MSHSAA should make this happen in Missouri. Any momentum for this taking place?
GD: Not to my knowledge, but I haven't really spent any time asking either. The climate makes it pretty tough. I mean, you'd usually be okay doing it in April, but not always. I don't personally see it happening, but who knows?
nxeagleqb14 asks: What has to happen for MU/Pinkel to start getting some of the better recruits we continually lose to other teams of lessor or equal prestige
GD: I think your premise is a false one. Missouri got guys like Maclin, Richardson, Boehm, Gabbert. You're never going to get them all. Some kids are going to go other places. But the question implies that Missouri is continually crushed on the recruiting trail. The Tigers aren't going to get many Oklahoma kids with OU offers or Texas kids with Texas offers or Florida kids with UF or FSU offers. It's just not going to happen. They need to close on the majority of the elite kids in the state (which they've done a pretty good job of doing) and then get some second-level kids from other states (which they've done a very good job of doing). Look at the offer lists of some of the kids Missouri has gotten this year. They've won some battles. Many fans just tend to focus on the ones they don't get instead of the ones they do.
NotoriousBRE asks: Have you guys heard anything on how Newsom is doing. I know he had some knee problems that held him back this year. Thanks.
PS: Donavin Newsom had a mild knee injury early in his senior season, but he returned and played most of the year. There shouldn't be anything to worry about for the future.
muearl asks: Any word on MU's non-conference football schedule? I know AZ State is one what about the other three???
GD: Not yet. Kansas says they're not playing and SIU and Miami look unlikely for this season. Haven't heard anything on the replacements. SEC Transition chair Larry Templeton said the SEC would begin to offer some help in the next couple of weeks, but I haven't heard anything on specific teams just yet.
lucielu asks: Is our recruiting losing momentum or starting to go down hill or are we looking good?
GD: Ask me in two weeks.
BPhilB asks: Do you know the new 25 scholarship limit rule in the SEC and how it works? I know we are two weeks out and I don't want to sound like a downer, but it does appear that chances are real that we don't fill all of our slots this year. Without counting next years seniors if we had room for signing say 29 kids next year does the 25 scholarship rule allow that to happen?
GD: Honestly, I'm not real sure. The best info I could find is this article from Birmingham. In reading that article, I don't think it's going to drastically change anything for Missouri. Off the top of my head, I can't remember Missouri signing more than 28, maybe 29 in a class. I don't think Mizzou sees many changes honestly.
Mr. Shizz asks: Can that loss by Baylor be a good thing? Normally I don't like playing teams coming off a loss, but do you think this will trigger the Scott Drew coaching effect causing Baylor to start dropping games?
GD: My initial reaction is that it has the opposite effect. Baylor comes in to Saturday embarrassed by the way they got worked on national TV and plays a very good game. I did see some signs that if you can punch the Bears early, they might react poorly and start firing up some bad shots, which I thought they did on Monday. Of course, it's pretty easy to get rattled in Allen Fieldhouse and much tougher to do in your own gym. I've been as skeptical as anyone on Drew's ability, but all that happened to Baylor was that they lost a game everyone expected them to lose. Yes, the margin was bigger than expected, but the same thing happened to Mizzou in Manhattan and the Tigers have won three in a row, including a road game, since then. I'm interested to see what happens on Saturday. Could Missouri win? Sure. They have the talent to beat anyone in the country on any given day. But it will take a darn near perfect game in my opinion.
tlbjlb asks: Do you think Coach Haith has any tricks up his sleeve with the unforeseen open scholarship left by Kadeem "The Dream" Green's departure, or do you think we'll holdout for next year?
GD: Haith has said multiple times the roster is set and Missouri isn't adding anyone. He can't unless he does so this week because it would be too late for anyone to get into school. But Missouri will play the rest of this season with the guys it currently has.
AndyTigerMizzou asks: Is Coach Haith still actively recruiting for the 2012 basketball recruiting class, or has he moved on to 2013/2014 at this point?
GD: Yes, if they find the right guy who wants to come, I see Missouri adding a player in the 2012 class.
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