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July 20, 2011While Missouri's 2012 recruiting class has gotten off to a hot start, one question has permeated message boards:
Where are the tight ends?
The Tigers' tight ends have been a staple in Gary Pinkel's offense over the last six seasons, starting with Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman before the torch was based to the preseason All-Big 12 tight end, Michael Egnew. It's an integral part of the Tigers' passing attack, so many were befuddled when 2012 recruiting began in ernest, but there was no urgency in offering many tight ends.
That could change soon, however. On Monday, Missouri brought in Waco (TX) tight end Jordan Smith for an unofficial visit. Smith received verbal offers from Kansas and Air Force, and recently visited Arkansas for the Razorbacks' camp. Missouri began showing interest in the 6-foot-5, 220-pound athlete "about two weeks ago" and made sure to get him on campus as quickly as possible.
"We showed up at the complex and met all the coaches and some recruits," Smith said. "We got a tour of the facilities and got to see the campus. It was real beautiful. That's the farthest north I think I've ever been, and it was really beautiful. I really liked the campus."
One of the key portions of the day was a 15-minute conversation with receivers coach Andy Hill. Smith said Hill explained Missouri's tight end recruting, and gave him a timetable of what to expect.
"They're in the shallow waters of who they're looking at right now," Smith said. "They narrowed it down to a couple of guys. He said they were going to watch some more film on me and still evaluate me. But, basically, I'm one of those last few guys that they're considering offering."
Should Missouri offer -- and his other offers remain the same -- Smith said the Tigers would immediately jump to the top of his list.
"A big thing to me is the coaching staff," Smith ssaid. "I love the guys up there. They are a great set of guys. I could be around them all day long and not get bored or frustrated. It's a great group of coaches, and that would be why I'd put them No. 1.
"I've just realized that all the big Div. I-schools are going to have the world's finest facilities, but it's the people around the program that make the facilities even more special. Missouri has that."
Hill told Smith to expect an update on the offer situation within a few days to a few weeks. If the answer comes back in the affirmative, a decision could come quickly.
"If I just have the offers I do now, I'm going to wait until after the season," Smith said. "That way I can showcase myself some more and maybe earn some more offers. But if Missouri or Arkansas offers, I'd probably make a decision soon, during two-a-days or right before. That way, I could just focus on my senior year."
Like Missouri, Arkansas is showing plenty of interest. Smith went to two Razorbacks' camps this summer, and his performance on June 16 stood out to the coaching staff in Fayetteville.
"They said they were very impressed from my first camp to my second camp," Smith said. "They see me developing as an athlete and are very interested. They're going to watch the camp film, evaluate players and then be in contact within a week."
Smith plays in a spread offense at Reicher High School. He said he's a big receiving threat, but he'll also move inside to block, or even act as a lead blocker in the backfield.
"I think I could fit in with any offense, but I think I'm more of a receiving tight end," Smith said. "I don't block too much, but it's something I could definitely learn quickly."
Smith, a 5.5 three-star recruit according to Rivals.com, is also receiving interest from Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, among others.