Saturday's Missouri spring game has already paid dividends for Tiger recruiting efforts in the 2013 class after landing verbal pledges from two in-state prospects -- Kansas City (MO) Staley dual-threat quarterback Trent Hosick and Lee's Summit (MO) West linebacker Nicholas Ramirez, who become the seventh and eighth commitments in the cycle.
Gary Pinkel and his SEC-bound Tigers have built on the in-state recruiting momentum generated by the Signing Day commitment of superstar wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to pull each of the eight current 2013 pledges from the school's home state.
As is increasingly becoming the norm, both Ramirez and Hosick announced their commitments via Twitter:
It's official, I am a Mizzou Tiger— Nick Ramirez (@RamirezNicholas) April 14, 2012
The two have a unique connection -- Staley and Lee's Summit West met in the 5A state semifinals last fall in a barnburning, 76-70 Staley victory that found no resolution until the fourth overtime. Even more impressive? The fact that Ramirez and Hosick combined to score every single one of the 11 touchdowns recorded in the contest. Staley eventually went on to win the state championship on the strength of Hosick's arm and legs.
The 6'2, 220-pound Hosick planned to make his decision during the summer and was considering taking more visits, but had apparently seen enough ($) following trips to Iowa and Illinois:
It's a combination of extreme excitement and kind of a relief with me," added Hosick, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound, dual-threat quarterback recruited by Hill and offensive coordinator David Yost. "It's also nice to know I feel like I made the right decision. Even if I waited another seven or eight months, this is where I would have decided to go.
According to Power Mizzou, Hosick had made the decision last weekend ($), but opted to wait until the spring game to make his announcement official. Last Monday night, Hosick called Ramirez and told him that he wanted to start something special in Columbia. Ramirez, who had listed Missouri as his leader for some time, agreed.
So, what are the Tigers getting with their two newest commitments?
Hosick is a three-star prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals, while Scout has awarded the 2011 5A state champion four stars. As evidenced by the picture accompanying this post, either Ramirez is taller than his listed 6'2, or Hosick is significantly shorter than his listed 6'2 -- in fact, Hosick did measure at 6' 0.25 at the Under Armour underclassman combine. By BCS standards, that's a bit undersized for a quarterback.
A strong athlete with offers from many of the second-tier teams in the Big 12 and Big 10, Hosick ran a 4.80 40 at that UA event, a solid time on a slow track, while also posting a 33-inch vertical and a 4.37 short shuttle mark. On the field, Hosick shows off strong lateral quickness that allows him to jumpcut and change direction quickly to take the outside or find a seam inside. The first highlight on the attached film shows off most of that vertical, as Hosick hurdles a defender who is left tackling only air. After running for over 2,000 yards as a junior, there's no question about his running bona fides in terms of pure production. His speed translates well to the field, as he is clearly capable of running past linebackers and safeties at the high school level.
As a passer, Hosick has the ability to get vertical in the passing game with a compact release and the touch to fit passes into small windows. At times, however, Hosick has something of a gunslinger mentality, throwing across his body on the move and into traffic. While his confidence is impressive, there are some throws on film that he'll have to learn not to make at the college level or risk a high interception rate.
And though he stands tall in the pocket to deliver balls downfield, on intermediate passes he can have a tendency to drop his release point. Combined with his lack of ideal height, he could have issues finding passing lanes in college if he can't consistently get that up around the earhole on his helmet.
Two other issues keep Hosick from being a high-three star/borderline four-star type of prospect. The first Scout describes as inconsistencies with his accuracy that may relate back to consistently maintaining the strong mechanics he can flash at times or that could go back to his footwork, a common problem for young quarterbacks. Second is arm strength that is merely adequate.
While Hosick appears to spin the ball well in general, the ball doesn't jump out of his hand with the initial velocity evidence of significant arm talent, so it's a major question mark whether he can be the type of quarterback who can deliver the ball on intermediate routes from the outside hash to the other sideline.
The dual-threat quarterback's intangibles are a major part of his appeal, as his Scout profile reports that he hasn't lost a game as a starter since the fifth grade, a truly incredible streak. While those traits are often difficult to evaluate on film watching plays that lack context, the record of success with Hosick speaks for itself and speaks highly of the Staley star.
Trent Hosick Junior Highlights 2013 TOP QB RECRUIT (New) (via DLG2400)
Despite talk on his Twitter page about consistently being told he wasn't athletic enough to succeed even in high school, Rivals considers Ramirez a better prospect than Hosick, ranking him as a four-star prospect and just outside the top 10 nationally at his projected collegiate position of inside linebacker. 247Sports also has him as a four-star prospect, in the top 10 nationally and as the best prospect in the state.
Variously listed between 6'2 and 6'3 and around 230 pounds, Ramirez is an impressive-looking prospect physically out of pads who simply looks like a football player. The Lee's Summit West star clearly has put in some work in the weight room ($):
He recently set personal records in the squat (570 pounds) and bench press (425 pounds), and he reports a sub-4.6 second 40-yard dash.
Oh yeah, and 247Sports sees Ramirez as the best player in the state because he translates that eye-test potential to Friday nights. He moves well enough that West plays him outside at times matched up on inside receivers. When he arrives at his destination, he does so with bad intentions -- though he doesn't often wrap up, Ramirez has the flexibility to sink his hips and, occasionally, the technique to wrap and keep driving his feet to finish tackles. There are few things better in football than a pure form tackle accompanying a major initial collision. Of course, many of the hits from Ramirez are still worthy of the best highlight reel but run the risk of missed tackles at the next level.
The reported 40 time actually looks reasonably legitimate on film, as Ramirez closes on the football and often with no wasted steps. His first step is impressive coming off the edge or filling an inside gap, and he has the feet to alter his angle in the hole to track down quarterbacks and ballcarriers.
Nick Ramirez (junior highlights) (via 247SportsStudio)
If both players are happy that they won't have to play against each other again in college, Missouri fans are certainly right to feel elated that their Tigers likewise won't have to go against Hosick and Ramirez either.