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Michael Carvell

Missouri coaches take pride in fending off UGA for recruits

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As expected, Missouri’s coaches were proud of themselves for holding onto a pair of prized prospects from Georgia during recruiting’s final stretch.

The first was Tavon Ross, who made a final decision on signing day to stick with Missouri over UGA. The safety from Bleckley High School committed to Missouri last summer, and turned down last-minute overtures from UGA, Alabama, Auburn and Miami.

It wasn’t like it was a tight relationship between Missouri and Ross either. Missouri offered Ross “sight unseen” last summer, and Ross committed on the spot because it was his only big offer at the time.

Ross didn’t meet Missouri coach Gary Pinkel until shortly before signing day, and he didn’t see Missouri’s campus in person until last week.

“Unique kid, and a guy that really saw Missouri as a place where he felt very comfortable leaving Georgia for,” said Missouri assistant Alex Grinch, who is Pinkel’s nephew, to the Columbia Daily Tribune.

“I think that’s something that appealed to him. He had a comfort level with us very early on, and it continued throughout the process. It got hectic, but his coaches and those individuals around him — his family and friends — gave him good advice. He looked around and took some trips, but we were fortunate to get the last visit, and things worked out. Absolutely thrilled.”

Missouri also fended off UGA for North Gwinnett High School wide receiver Nate Brown. Grinch admitted he “looked like a ghost” after being informed that the Bulldogs made a late offer to Brown.

“I’ve been at some other pretty good programs that, if Georgia would have come in and offered a couple guys you’re recruiting and they’re from the state of Georgia, you would have had a hard time keeping those guys,” Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson said.

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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