ST. LOUIS–Missouri head football coach Eli Drinkwitz isn’t yet done assembling his second recruiting class, but he’s already secured a new commitment for his third. Troy-Buchanan (Mo) edge rusher Jahkai Lang told FOX2 in a Thursday night interview that he wants to play for the Tigers in 2023, something he announced publicly Friday at school.
“Right now, it’s a lot of momentum. I’ve been there a few times and every time, it’s felt like home. So, like, I felt that spark, I feel it’s time,” Lang said.
Lang is considered by Rivals the 10th ranked player in the state in the class of 2023, and a top 25 player nationally at his position. Both Rivals and 247Sports rate him as a 3 star player. Lang joins Brett Norfleet, a four star tight end from Francis Howell, who was the first player to commit to the Tigers’ 2023 class.
Lang chose Missouri over Wisconsin and Kentucky, citing an atmosphere like home in Columbia, and a close relationship with Missouri linebackers coach DJ Smith. Lang holds more than 10 offers, including Michigan State, Minnesota, Tennessee, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State. But the lure of playing in the SEC was strong. So was the idea of playing with other local talents who have made the decision to stay home in the last two classes, including Mekhi Wingo in the class of 2021, and now Marcias Gracial and Luther Burden in the class of 2022.
“It definitely wasn’t Mizzou from the jump, if anything it was the opposite. And just slowly, just watching how much these dudes care and it really like, you see these guys that could go anywhere in the country and they choose Mizzou and I get that feeling when you go there, it’s special,” Lang told FOX2.
Since his arrival at Mizzou, Drinkwitz has said his staff will recruit the state of Missouri like it has not been recruited before. So far he has verbal pledges from two recruits in the top 30 in the state. The only other one to make a similar commitment was De Smet tight end Mac Markway, who committed to the previous staff at the University of Florida.
Coaches cannot comment on recruits until they sign letters of intent. Under current rules, the soonest that can happen is December of 2022, although there is legislation making its way through the NCAA which could create an earlier period that would be in August, prior to the recruit’s senior season. The December signing period has proven to be a driving force behind a volatile coaching market this year, with schools showing a willingness more than ever to fire coaches during a season in order to hire a new one in time to salvage a recruiting class.
Lang told FOX2 he still plans to take his official visits to other schools. Next up for him is building on a 2021 season that saw the Lang’s Trojans go 10-3, losing to Liberty North in the state final four. He’s hoping to go out with a ring in 2022.