COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri entered last Friday with five known commitments to its 2018 recruiting class, making for one of the smallest commitment contingents among all Power Five schools.
What a difference a week makes.
The Tigers landed three more commitments Wednesday, continuing a wave of pledges that have pushed Missouri to 13 commitments.
Linebacker La'Dedric Jackson, offensive lineman Mike Ruth and safety/outside linebacker Tyrus Wheat are the latest players to join the fold. They announced their commitments via Twitter during a six-hour span Wednesday.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Jackson, from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Ala., is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and Scout.com. He does not have a star rating from the ESPN.
Jackson also has offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Mississippi, North Carolina State, Purdue and Tennessee, among others, according to Rivals.
Jackson is high school teammates with quarterback James Foster II, who committed to Missouri in April. All three of Missouri's Alabama commitments play their high school ball in Montgomery.
Jackson had 172 tackles, including 11 sacks, for Lanier last season, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Ruth, from Coppell High School in Texas, is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, 247Sports.com and Scout.com. He does not have a star rating from ESPN.
He also has offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Houston, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Memphis, Miami, Syracuse and Texas Tech, among others, according to Rivals.
Ruth played offensive tackle for Coppell last season. He helped the Cowboys, who went 10-3, average 381.9 yards of total offense.
Ruth became the sixth player from Texas to pledge to Missouri's class, as coach Barry Odom achieves his goal of making the Lone Star State a recruiting hub for MU.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Wheat, from Amite High School in Louisiana, is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com and Scout.com and a two-star prospect by Rivals.com. He does not have a star rating from ESPN.
Wheat also has offers from Texas State and Tulane, according to Rivals.
Wheat was his district's defensive MVP last season.
Zephaniah Powell, Wheat's coach at Amite, said he thinks Wheat projects as a hybrid linebacker/nickelback for Missouri.
"He can play in space, and then also too, if you need to put him in the box some, he can play the box some, too, as far as coming up and stuffing the run and being that outside leverage supporter," Powell said.
Powell said Wheat's range makes him stand out on defense.
"He's long, and he can cover ground," Powell said.
HOWARD CASE CONTINUED: Nate Howard’s court case was scheduled for a plea hearing on Wednesday, but no plea was entered after the state requested a continuance. The case is now scheduled for an Aug. 2 status hearing.
Howard, a junior defensive end on the Missouri football team, faces a Class D felony charge of possession of a controlled substance stemming from his June 14 arrest. Police said they found psilocybin mushrooms in the trunk of Howard’s car during a search following a traffic stop, according to the probable cause statement.
Howard’s attorney, Christopher Slusher, appeared on his behalf at Wednesday’s hearing at the Boone County Courthouse.
“We thought we had an agreement and then heard from the state yesterday that we need to continue,” Slusher told Judge Michael Bradley.
“I would anticipate completion very quickly,” Slusher later said to Bradley.
Howard has been suspended since his arrest. Missouri’s preseason camp begins Tuesday.
Howard, who has 15 tackles in 15 career games, exited the spring as one of the top candidates to earn a starting spot on the defensive line.
University policy states that any athlete facing felony charges will remain suspended until a judgement is reached in the case. If the athlete pleads guilty to the felony charge or is convicted of the felony, the athlete is permanently barred from competing in athletics for any school in the University of Missouri system.
Slusher entered a not guilty plea on Howard’s behalf on the felony charge earlier this month.