Missouri no longer leads The Lou

Has Mizzou lost its St. Louis stronghold after missing on three top prospects?

Updated: April 3, 2013, 12:27 PM ET
By Damon Sayles | ESPN RecruitingNation

Aarion Penton, Chase AbbingtonDamon Sayles/ESPN.comMissouri struck it big with in-state prospects in a 2013 class that included Aarion Penton and Chase Abbington, but that trend may be changing this recruiting season.

Ohio State running back signee Ezekiel Elliott never intended on being the focal point of a panic attack. Neither did offensive tackle Andy Bauer (St. Louis/De Smet) or running back Markel Smith (St. Louis/St. John Vianney), two 2014 standouts.

While the three football stars may have little in common, they share two major details:

They are three of the best college football recruits the St. Louis metropolitan area has to offer. And whether they want to believe it or not, they are why Missouri Tigers fans are beginning to question the program's loyalty to recruiting -- and sometimes over-recruiting -- the greater St. Louis area.

Missouri didn't land Elliott back in February, and Bauer and Smith both have committed to and decommitted from Missouri. Bauer is currently pledged to Ole Miss, while Smith, who informed Mizzou of his choice to decommit Sunday, remains undecided.

Because of these recent developments, some followers already are comfortable with the notion that keeping the area's best close to home is a puncher's chance, if that. Some of the high school coaches in St. Louis, however, feel the apprehension is premature -- particularly when anything can happen from now until next February, when the Class of 2014 players sign their national letters of intent.


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