Recruiting's year-round demands have shifted the verbiage of most major college football coaches. Already at this year's SEC Media Days, new Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason stated he wants to play as many freshmen as soon as possible. And when a five-star is flirting with top programs, immediate playing time is one of the most talked-about incentives to sign.
Not so at Missouri, where head coach Gary Pinkel weathered a brutal 2012 season of injuries to win the SEC East the following season. According to SB Nation's Bill Connelly, the Tigers ranked fifth in the nation in Adjusted Line Yards behind a veteran group of starters that boasted recruiting star ratings of two, zero, four, two, and three, from left to right.
"In the last seven years, even with our crummy season in 2012, we're the eighth-winningest BCS program in the country," said Pinkel. "If you took our recruiting, our so-called rating would be between 28 and 32 average. Something's wrong there. Our recruiting process is different."
(In the 247 Sports Composite, Mizzou ranks 36th over the last seven years. The highest-rated recruit in Missouri history, five-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, is now on his way to Oklahoma.)
While Kevin Sumlin is throwing parties to celebrate recruiting rankings, Pinkel has touted the decidedly unsexy concept of redshirting all the way to Atlanta. Even breakout defensive lineman Kony Ealy, a rare four-star signee for the Tigers, was redshirted when he got to campus before becoming the latest draftee from Pinkel's defensive line factory.
"We have a system we believe in," he said. "That's what we do at Mizzou. Our player development program is second to none. Our APR ranking is one of the best in the nation. First-round draft picks. We never look at how many stars a guy has in his name. I don't care if we're 15th or 35th."