The University of Missouri won't officially join the Southeastern Conference for a few more weeks, but the the new affiliation is already part of the football team's identity. Or at least the program is planting that seed with potential recruits.
Hundreds of high school football players from around the midwest gathered in Creve Coeur Sunday at De Smet, hoping for a chance at a little instruction, and potentially a look-see for a scholarship offer from Gary Pinkel and company. As the athletes went through the drills, they were instructed to chant M-I-Z-S-E-C, among other things.
Among the observations and tidbits we picked up, along with a sunburn:
- Andy Bauer, a soon-to-be junior Offensive Lineman who has , was in attendance but did not participate. He told Patch he was just "enjoying the atmosphere," along with giving some ribbing to Alec Abeln, a lineman from SLUH who has also pledged to play at Missouri. Bauer just returned Saturday from a trip to Florida, where De Smet Head Coach Pat Mahoney said Bauer received a scholarship offer from the Florida State Seminoles. Mahoney said Bauer has another visit coming up next week to national champion Alabama. While Bauer had plenty of face-time with the Mizzou coaches, Mahoney may have had the best description of the situation: "Engaged, but dating."
- De Smet's Donnie White, a Defensive End, recently picked up a scholarship offer from New Mexico, now coached by former Notre Dame Head Coach and ESPN analyst Bob Davie. Mahoney said Kevin Cosgrove, a longtime assistant at Wisconsin and later Nebraska, who has experience mining the St. Louis area for talent. According to Scout.com, White also has offers from Wyoming, Cincinnati, Boston College, Miami (OH), and continues to have a standing offer from Arkansas, despite the coaching upheaval in the Razorback program.
- Among the other Creve Coeur-area athletes who participated were Chaminade Seniors-to-be Byron and Bryon Beal, and Parkway North's Rodrick Hoskins and Troy Thomas. Bryon Beal said he's going to spend the summer on weight training and improving his footwork, while hoping to build upon a strong performance in a Chicago-area combine earlier this spring. He also spent some time answering questions from an espn.com reporter about what its like having an older brother,
- Another athlete who was in watch but don't work mode Sunday was Eric Beisel, a Rockwood Summit linebacker who is attracting interest from coaches around the midwest. He had a good excuse: he just returned home late Saturday from Springfield
While Mizzou coaches led the workouts, coaches from smaller schools in the area, including Lincoln University, Lindenwood, Culver-Stockton, Eastern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Missouri Science & Technology and even schools as far away as Wisconsin were there to talk to students, take measurements, give instruction and potentially talk scholarships with athletes.