Missouri lands Beckner, ranked among top recruits
Another dominant year in the Southeastern Conference helped Missouri land one of the top recruits in the nation.
Defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. of East St. Louis, Illinois, chose the Tigers over national champion Ohio State, Florida State and Auburn. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Beckner announced his decision on ESPN Wednesday.
''He can be the greatest defensive lineman he can be,'' coach Gary Pinkel said. ''He can help us win championships and take us where we've never been before,'' coach Gary Pinkel said.
Beckner was rated the No. 2 overall recruit by ESPN and No. 8 by 247Sports. He had 117 tackles as a senior, 75 of them solo stops, along with four sacks and an interception.
Missouri, which has won consecutive SEC East championships, signed a total of 23 players from 10 states to national letters of intent. Seventeen of them are from states in SEC territory and eight are in-state.
Quarterback Drew Lock of Lee's Summit, Missouri, and offensive lineman A.J. Harris of Stilwell, Kansas, were ranked among the top players in their states. Pinkel said Lock had been courted by Michigan the last few weeks.
In his last two high schools, Lock threw 63 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions. It helped recruiting Lock that his father and grandfather played for the school.
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Harris was rated the No. 1 recruit in Kansas by Rivals and was among ESPN's top 300 recruits, and had offers from several other top programs.
Besides winning 23 games the last two years, Missouri could sell its track record sending players to the NFL with five first-round draft picks the last six seasons.
Wide receiver Justin Smith of West Laurens High in Dublin, Ga., is considered among the top prospects at his position. The 6-foot-7 Smith caught 13 touchdown passes and averaged 16 yards per catch as a senior.
T.J. Warren of Rockdale County High in Conyers, Georgia, and Cam Hilton of Webster Groves, Missouri, are considered among the top prospects at defensive back.
''There's reasons why this place is appealing to people,'' Pinkel said.
Top 25 Class: On the bubble
Best in class: Terry Beckner Jr., DL, East St. Louis, Illinois.
Best of the rest: Drew Lock, QB, Lee's Summit, Missouri; Justin Smith, WR, Dublin, Georgia
Late addition: None.
One that got away: Brandon Martin, WR, Dallas, switched to LSU.