Arlington (TX) Bowie running back Russell Hansbrough committed to Arizona State over the summer over ten other schools, including Missouri, Auburn and Texas Tech. However, after a 6-6 regular season and the firing of Dennis Erickson, Hansbrough began to explore other options.
The 5-foot-8, 173-pound all-purpose back visited Missouri on Dec. 9. For months, the Tigers seemed set in their backfield with early commitments from Morgan Steward, of Kansas City, and Jonathan Williams from Allen, Texas. However, Williams de-committed from the Tigers, switching to Arkansas in November. Missouri reached back out to Hansbrough, who was one of the Tigers' earliest offers.
"It had been on and off," Hansbrough said of the contact. "Really, it picked back up in November, when the (Arizona State) coaches got fired."
Almost a month after visiting Missouri, Hansbrough announced on Twitter that he had officially committed to the Tigers:
"Decommiting from a college is by far one of the hardest things to do. I am officially a man and I am officially a Mizzou TIGER." -- Hansbrough wrote on his Twitter feed.
Hansbrough later confirmed his decision to PowerMizzou.com.
"I just gained a lot of trust in the coaches," Hansbrough said. "I built strong relationships, and I wanted to commit before it was too late."
The speculation about Hansbrough's impending decision began on Friday, when Waco (TX) cornerback Will Hines, a soft verbal to Missouri, wrote on Twitter that Missouri picked up a commitment from a Bowie running back. At that point, Hansbrough's decision was unofficial. Over the weekend, sources told PowerMizzou.com that Hansbrough wanted to make sure the Arizona State coaching staff knew of his switch before going public.
Hansbrough said another factor that helped him pick Missouri was a possibility for early playing time.
"They told me if I came in and worked hard, I would see time next year," Hansbrough said.
On Sunday, his decision became official. Hansbrough, similar in size and stature to current Missouri running back Marcus Murphy, becomes Missouri's 18th known commitment in the 2012 class. Hansbrough is a 5.6 three-star recruit, and he ran for 1,238 yards and 19 total touchdowns during his senior year.
Originally, Hansbrough scheduled an official visit to Texas Tech for Jan. 13, but he said that he has already cancelled that trip.
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