Friday, February 25, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diary from MU’s Aldon Smith as he prepares for draft

Missouri’s Aldon Smith, who played two seasons at Raytown High School, projects as a first-round draft pick as either a defensive end or outside linebacker. Smith redshirted as a college freshman in 2008 and then set the Missouri single-season record with 11  1/2 sacks the following season. In 2010, Smith missed three games because of a broken bone in his leg and, despite having two seasons of collegiate eligibility remaining, declared in January for the draft after consulting with the NFL’s draft advisory board.

Since declaring for the draft, Smith has been working out at a training facility in Phoenix with other top NFL draft prospects in preparation for the upcoming scouting combine, which begins Thursday in Indianapolis. Here are some of Smith’s thoughts as the combine approaches.

The decision to come out for the draft was a difficult one at first. But after I got my NFL grade back, that kind of helped make the process a little bit easier. Everything I was hearing made the decision a lot easier. I haven’t had any regrets or second thoughts at all. At first, I missed my family back at Mizzou because it was such a good experience, but I don’t think I regret anything.

Read more on the Kansas City Star.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sportscenter Special on Blaine Gabbert

ESPN’s SportsCenter will present an all-access look at four expected first-round draft picks preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine to be held February 23-March 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The SportsCenter series went behind the scenes with Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt, Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, and Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert at Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix as they worked to improve their strength and speed before showcasing their talents in front of scouts, top player personnel executives, coaches, and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams.

Click here to watch Blaine's special or be sure to watch Sportscenter at 8:00am, 11:00am, or 5:00pm on Wednesday, February 23.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winning Edge Continues...

Tiger Club Receptions in KC and Columbia

2008 Recruiting Class Re-Ranks to Top 5

Andy Staples from Sports Illustrated re-ranked the classes that signed three years ago based on actual on-field production.
Here's Mizzou's 2008 class:

4. Missouri

2008 rank: 25
2008 rank: 31
Record since 2008: 28-12
Conference titles: 0
2010 starters/major contributors: DT Jimmy Burge, LB Will Ebner, TE Michael Egnew, QB Blaine Gabbert, LB Zaviar Gooden, OT Dan Hoch, WR Jerrell Jackson, S Kenji Jackson, WR Wes Kemp, DE Brad Madison, DE Aldon Smith, DE Jacquies Smith
Analysis: Missouri fell short in its chase for the Big 12 title, but the Tigers stayed near the top of the conference thanks in large part to the contributions of the class of 2008. Gabbert was considered a can't-miss prospect from the start, and he made good on recruitniks' predictions. What the pundits didn't predict was the pass-rush boost the Tigers would get from a trio of three-star prospects. Madison, Aldon Smith and Jacquies Smith didn't get a ton of recruiting hype, but they grew into excellent players.
Read more:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blaine Gabbert Catches Up With Gatorade

Gatorade is following former Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert starting with his training in Arizona and will continue all the way up through the start of the NFL season.  Blaine will be working with the Gatorade Sport Science Institute scientists along the way to help him optimize his training and nutrition.  Here's a video from his visit in Dallas for the Super Bowl and an online Q&A with fans.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Signing Day 2011

Brandon Hannah

Fr., ATH, 6-3, 235, St. Louis, Mo. (Chaminade HS)
Highly-talented and driven athlete who has persevered despite having had his prep career derailed by injuries over the last three years … Despite not seeing the field for his senior season, was still ranked by as the No. 17 overall prospect at any position in the state of Missouri for the class of 2011 … As a freshman wide receiver, made 14 catches for 302 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging a solid 21.6 yards per catch … Outstanding overall athlete who helped his school win a basketball state championship as a sophomore, when he averaged 9 points and 8 rebounds per game … High school coach – Doug Taylor … Parents – Terrence Staples & Robin Hannah … Has an interest in study computers and technology while at Mizzou … Lists hobbies as tinkering with computers and taking long walks … Chose Mizzou over Notre Dame, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas and Illinois, among others.

Brad McNulty

Fr., OL, 6-3, 305, Allen, Texas (Allen HS)

A three-year starter on the offensive line for a tradition-rich Texas high school program … Was a 1st-Team Class 5A All-State performer in 2010, playing at the guard position primarily on the offensive line … Made 46 pancake blocks and 31 knock down blocks as a senior, as he helped lead his team as a captain to its third-straight district championship … Is known as an outstanding run blocker with a tough-minded attitude to lead the way in the trenches … As a junior in 2009, recorded 56 pancake blocks, and 43 knock down blocks, after turning in 41 pancakes and 33 knock downs as a sophomore, when his team went on to win the Class 5A Div. I state championship … High school coach – Tom Westerberg … Parents – Bill & Cathy McNulty … Is interested in studying psychology, sociology or international studies while at Mizzou … Lists hobbies as playing video games, working out, going to movies and reading … Chose Mizzou over Vanderbilt, Houston, Tulsa and Memphis, among others.

Sheldon Richardson

Jr., DL, 6-4, 290, St. Louis, Mo. (Gateway Tech HS/College of the Sequoias)

One of the most highly-coveted athletes to come out of the state of Missouri in recent years, who will return to his home state after a two-year stop at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. … Is ranked by as the No. 3 junior college prospect in the nation at any postion, even after he was redshirted in 2010 due to a wrist injury (he’ll have three years to play three at the Div. I level) … Was a dominant defensive lineman and tight end at St. Louis’ Gateway Tech High School, where he was ranked by as the No. 4 overall player (any position) in the nation, as well as being the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the country by several national outlets … Also checked in as the No. 1 overall player (any position) in the state of Missouri, and originally signed with Mizzou as part of the 2009 signing class, before going the junior college route … Following the conclusion of his prep career, played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, Texas, where he made big impressions with his play in practice and the game, where he had a sack, and added a quarterback hurry and a tackle for loss as a defensive tackle … Was named as a 2008 EA Sports 1st-Team All-American after a senior season at Gateway Tech which included 88 tackles and 19 sacks, while adding 7 fumble recoveries, 5 forced fumbles and 1 interception … Scored 6 defensive touchdowns on the year, as well, while adding 27 receptions for 541 yards and 8 touchdowns at the tight end position … An outstanding overall athlete, also lettered in basketball and baseball as well as participating in track … Junior college coach – Curtis Allen … High school coach – Melvin Walls … Parents – Michael & Zelda Richardson … Is interested in studying real estate business at Mizzou, and chose the Tigers over a slew of nationally-prominent programs, just a few of which included USC, Auburn, Arkansas, and Miami, Fla., among many others.

Ian Simon

Fr., DB, 5-11, 180, Mansfield, Texas (Legacy HS)

Versatile talent who starred in numerous roles for his team, while earning most of his accolades as a hard-hitting, ball-hawking defensive back … Was a three-time all-district selection who hails from the same hometown as current Tigers Kenji Jackson and Eric Waters, and their presence at MU played a factor in him joining the program … Demonstrated great leadership skills, as he was voted a team captain for each of his last two seasons, while also taking home his team’s special teams MVP honors and winning academic all-district honors three years as well … Had 68 tackles as a senior, to go with 2 interceptions (returning one for a score) and 7 pass break ups, while adding 3 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD and 1 kickoff return TD … Made 72 total tackles during his junior season to go with a pair of interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries and 2 forced fumbles … Was his team’s defensive MVP as a sophomore when he made 94 tackles and 3 interceptions … Has been a regional qualifier in track each of his past two years on the oval … High school coach – Chris Melson … Parents – Kim & Daphne Simon … Wants to study in MU’s esteemed School of Business … Lists hobbies as hunting, fishing and reading, and has been active in organizing fundraising walks for breast cancer awareness, helping raise thousands of dollars in the process … Chose Mizzou over Boise State, Virginia, Air Force and Washington State, among others.

Brandon Durant

Fr., LB, 6-0, 205, Copperas Cove, Texas (Copperas Cove HS)

Active and athletic linebacker who helped lead his team to the state playoffs four straight years … Won 1st-Team All-State and team MVP honors after notching 182 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 3 sacks as a senior in 2010 … Also won 1st-Team All-District and All-Area honors as a senior as well … Recorded 162 tackles as a junior, including 9 tackles for loss and 3 sacks, while he made 85 stops as a sophomore … His team reached the state playoffs each of his four years with the varsity, including during his freshman year in 2007 when they made the title game … Also ran track for Copperas Cove and was a district champion as a junior, after being a regional qualifier as a freshman and sophomore … An accomplished student who also was a two-time 1st-Team Academic All-District honoree … High school coach – Jack Welch … Parents – Donald & Grace Durant … Wants to study in MU’s School of Business … Lists hobbies as going to movies, hanging out with friends and playing games … Chose Mizzou after receiving recruiting interest from schools such as Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas-El Paso, among others.

Kentrell Brothers

Fr., LB, 6-1, 220, Guthrie, Okla. (Guthrie HS)

Highly sought-after prospect out of the state of Oklahoma who was a three-year starter at both linebacker and wide receiver for Guthrie High School … Ranked by as the nation’s No. 36 outside linebacker prospect, and as the No. 9 overall prospect coming out of the state of Oklahoma in 2011 … Was named the Daily Oklahoman Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, when he registered 100 tackles and 19 sacks, while also moonlighting as a productive receiver, with 53 receptions for 1,322 yards and 16 touchdowns … He also ran for a score and threw for another as Guthrie made it to the Class 5A semifinals in 2010 … In one game this past season against Duncan, he caught 5 passes for 176 yards and 3 touchdowns, while also impacting the game by making 5 sacks on defense … Took home all-state honors as a junior as well, when he had similar numbers which included 98 tackles and 18 sacks on defense, to go with 63 receptions for 1,122 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense … Also lettered in both basketball and tennis at his school, and was an all-state selection in basketball as a sophomore … High school coach – Rafe Watkins … Parents – Jeff Jones & Kia Brothers-Jones … Has been a member of FCA and student council … Lists hobbies as all sports, video games and large game hunting … Chose Mizzou over a lengthy list of suitors, just a few of which included Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Connecticut, Kansas State, Kansas, Iowa State, Syracuse, Washington and Tulsa, among others.

Michael Boddie

Fr., OL, 6-6, 280, Gilmer, Texas (Gilmer HS)

(Is an early enrollee at Mizzou who is on campus for the current semester) (Last name is pronounced BAWD-ee) … A three-year starter on the offensive line for a very successful prep program, and he joins former teammates Tristen Holt and Braylon Webb (who were part of MU’s 2010 signing class) as Mizzou Tigers … Ranked by as the nation’s No. 79 overall prospect at offensive tackle … Earned all-state honors as a senior, despite having his season cut short by an injury, and earned all-district distinction for three years in all … Won 2nd-Team All-District honors as a junior when he helped lead his team to a 3A state championship … Gilmer also played in the state championship game during his freshman year, and reached the semifinals during his sophomore season … Also threw the shot put and discus for his school’s track team, earning all-district honors in the sport … High school coach – Jeff Traylor … Parents – Mark & Kathryne Boddie … An outstanding student who was a four-time academic all-district selection … Wants to major in engineering at Mizzou … Lists hobbies as hunting, fishing and roping … Was a member of his school’s FCA and FFA organizations … Chose Mizzou over Purdue, Kansas, Houston and Tulsa, among others.

Cortland Browning

Fr., DB, 6-2, 195, Tyler, Texas (Lee HS)

Athletic defensive back prospect who is known for good versatility in coverage schemes and is an aggressive cover man who has good break to the ball … Was a two-time 1st-Team All-District performer at cornerback, where he is ranked as the nation’s No. 48 prospect at the position by … Rivals also has him rated as the No. 94 overall prospect out of the state of Texas at any position … Racked up 56 tackles and 1 interception as a senior in 2010 (with opposing offenses most often avoiding from his side of the field), after totaling 50 tackles and 2 interceptions during his junior season … Also a standout on the track for Lee High School, where he was a regional quarterfinalist as part of a 4x400 relay team … High school coach – Randy Huffstickler … Parents – Keith Browning & Marie Proctor … Has an interest in studying business finance in MU’s School of Business … Lists hobbies outside of football as listening to music and playing video games … Chose Mizzou over TCU, Texas A&M and Kansas, among many others.

David Johnson

Fr., DB, 6-0, 190, Spring, Texas (Spring HS)

Outstanding all-around athlete who has excelled both on the gridiron and the track … Was well on his way to a stellar senior season, before suffering a season-ending knee injury five games into the campaign … In his 5 games before the injury, totaled 60 tackles at cornerback, 2 interceptions, 4 pass break ups, 2 forced fumbles and 3 tackles for loss … Was his team’s defensive player of the year despite the limited playing time, and also served as a team captain … As a junior, had 20 tackles on defense, while adding 15 catches for 400 yards and 7 touchdowns as a wide receiver … As a track standout, won a national title in the 110-meter hurdles in the spring of 2010 at the Nike Track Nationals in Eugene, Ore., and was also an indoor All-American in the 60-meter hurdles and the pentathlon … High school coach – Sam Parker … Parents – David & Bridgette Johnson … Wants to study marketing in MU’s School of Business … Lists hobbies as traveling, shopping, playing video games with friends, playing basketball and running … Chose Mizzou over Texas A&M, Nevada, Baylor, Houston and Texas-El Paso, among others.

Clarence Green

Fr., LB, 6-0, 210, Clute, Texas (Brazoswood HS)

Physical playmaker who is ranked as the nation’s No. 119 outside linebacker prospect by … Had his promising senior season cut short by a foot injury, but still won 2nd-Team All-County honors despite playing less than half the season … Emerged as a standout linebacker during a junior season that saw him total 131 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions, and was named his team’s MVP while earning 1st-Team All-District honors … Also was a regional qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and the high jump … High school coach – Dean Deatley … Parents – Clarence & Casandre Green … Is interested in studying business administration in MU’s renowned School of Business … Lists hobbies as playing basketball, watching sports television, hanging out with friends and listening to music … Chose Mizzou over Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, Houston, Kentucky and Tulsa, among others.

Wesley Leftwich

Fr., WR, 6-2, 200, Columbia, Mo. (Hickman HS)

(Is an early enrollee at Mizzou who is on campus for the current semester) … A multi-sport star for hometown Hickman High School who excelled in football and track for the Kewpies … Ranked as the No. 16 overall prospect at any position in the state of Missouri by … Was featured primarily as a wideout, catching 16 passes in 2010 for 257 yards and 4 touchdowns, after catching 17 passes for 376 yards and 5 scores during his junior season … Is considered a receiver with great hands, who is tough with a strong frame and good speed … Also ran 20 times as a junior for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns … Also served as his team’s punter, and won All-State honors at the position by state coaches as a junior, while taking home all-district punter honors as a senior … Also won all-district honors as a junior wide receiver … Is an accomplished track athlete who took 5th place in the long jump in the 2010 state championship meet, after taking 6th place in the same event in 2009 … Also ran a leg on the 800-meter relay team which took 6th place at state in 2010 … High school coach – Jason Wright … Parents – Jim & Valerie Leftwich … Plans to study nutrition and fitness at Mizzou … Lists hobbies as lifting weights and playing X-Box … Chose Mizzou over Stanford, Illinois and Iowa among many others.

Ernest Payton

Fr., DB, 6-3, 195, College Station, Texas (A&M Consolidated HS)

A late addition to the 2011 signing class who brings great size and athleticism to the Tiger program, where he could be a great fit at a number of positions … Earned 2nd-Team All-State honors as a senior in 2010, when he tallied 85 tackles, 4 interceptions and 12 pass break ups, helping his school reach the third round of the state playoffs – the deepest run into the playoffs for the school in a long time … Also added 5 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles during his senior season, and was named the team’s defensive back of the year … Team reached the state playoffs during his junior season, as well … Originally hails from Galveston, Texas, but was displaced in the fall of 2008 due to Hurricane Ike, and moved to the Bryan-College Station area to live with his sister, who was a teacher there at the time … High school coach – Jim Slaughter … Mother – Alfred Payton & Rosalyn Payton … Interested in studying construction management at Mizzou … Lists hobbies as playing video games, watching television and playing basketball … Voted by his classmates as the funniest person in school … Chose Mizzou over TCU and Texas A&M, among others.

Corbin Berkstresser

Fr., QB, 6-3, 220, Lee’s Summit, Mo. (Lee’s Summit HS)

One of the most highly-touted quarterback prospects in the nation who brings an impressive resume to Mizzou … Is ranked by as the nation’s No. 16 pro-style quarterback, as well as the No. 3 overall player at any position to come out of the state of Missouri in the Class of 2011 … Won 1st-Team All-State honors as a senior after an impressive season that saw him amass 3,369 passing yards and 36 touchdowns, compared to only 6 interceptions … Also showed an ability to impact the game with his feet, as he ran for 712 yards and 12 more scores as he helped lead his team to the state playoffs … Threw for 1,300 yards and 7 touchdowns as a junior, while he had 1,800 yards and 10 passing touchdowns as a sophomore … Won 2nd-Team All-Conference honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons, as well … Ranked by as the nation’s No. 43 quarterback prospect overall … Outstanding all-around athlete who also a 2nd-Team All-State pick and conference player of the year in baseball, while also lettering in basketball for two years … High school coach – Eric Thomas … Parents – Greg & Kim Berkstresser … Plans to study in MU’s School of Business … Lists hobbies as reading the Bible and playing X-Box … Lifelong Mizzou fan who committed to the Tiger program way back in June of 2009, and who was never really interested in considering other schools.

Taylor Chappell

Fr., OL, 6-6, 280, Canadian, Texas (Canadian HS)

A tough, aggressive run blocker and accomplished pass protector who was a 1st-Team All-State pick as a senior when he graded out at 96 percent and allowed no sacks while amassing 26 knock down blocks in 2010 … Did not allow a quarterback sack in his final two years of play … Came from a winning program that won two state championships in his four years, while coming in as state runners-up in a third, and reaching the state semifinals in a fourth … Is ranked by as the nation’s No. 53 offensive tackle prospect, and is also the No. 81 overall prospect at any position coming out of the state of Texas … Also won 1st-Team All-State honors as a junior when he graded out at 93 percent and had 22 more knock down blocks … Was a three-sport standout for Canadian High School, winning all-district honors in basketball two years, while also winning a discus district championship in track and field (also finished 3rd in discus and 4th in the shot put at track regionals in 2010) … High school coach – Chris Koetting … Parents – Jim & Sandy Chappell … An outstanding student who was a 1st-Team Academic All-State selection as a senior and who was an Academic All-District pick for three years … Wants to study sports medicine or physical therapy and listed MU’s new sports medicine degree program as one of many important factors in his choosing to be a Tiger … Lists hobbies as reading, watching TV and playing video games … Chose Mizzou over Texas Tech, California, UCLA, Arizona and Wake Forest, among many others.

Shane Ray

Fr., DL, 6-3, 230, Shawnee Mission, Kan. (Bishop Miege HS

One of the nation’s most highly-coveted defensive end prospects who is a second-generation Tiger, following in the footsteps of his father Wendell, who lettered at Mizzou as a defensive end from 1978-80 … Is ranked by as the No. 17 weakside end in the nation, as well as the No. 3 overall player at any position from the state of Kansas … ranks him as the nation’s No. 35 defensive end prospect overall … Earned 1st-Team All-State honors as a senior after totaling 100 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and a blocked punt at the 5A level … Served as a team captain during his senior season … As a junior, helped lead his team to a 4A state title as he had 131 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and 4 forced fumbles … High school coach – Tim Grunhard … Parents – Wendell Ray & Sebrina Johnson … Father was a defensive lineman for Warren Powers, and was a 5th-round draft pick in the 1981 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, after a senior season in 1980 that saw him total 64 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5 sacks … Is interested in studying broadcast journalism in MU’s esteemed School of Journalism … Lists hobbies as training for football, as well as playing video games … Chose Mizzou over Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Clemson, Kansas State and Kansas, among many others.

Connor McGovern

Fr., OL, 6-4, 280, Fargo, N.D. (Shanley HS)

A talented line prospect with the potential to fit most anywhere in the trenches who helped his team to consecutive state championships his final two seasons … Was the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of North Dakota as a senior … Won 1st-Team All-State honors on offense as a senior, and won the same honors on defense during his junior season … Racked up 89 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 forced fumbles on defense as a senior, while notching 49 stops and 3 sacks as a junior … Played in an offense that ran a balanced attack, and is considered a strong run blocker coming into the college ranks … Caught the eye of Tiger coaches after attending Mizzou summer camps for the past two summers … Also lettered for his school in wrestling and weightlifting for two years apiece … High school coach – Steve Laqua … Parents – Keith & Rondi McGovern … Has family members from both sides of his family who live in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas, and has an uncle who attended the MU School of Law … Lists hobbies as weightlifting, snowboarding, riding dirt bikes and wake surfing … Plans to major in agricultural economics at Mizzou.