What Nwaneri, McClellan commitments would mean for Mizzou under state's new NIL laws

Columbia Daily Tribune Mizzou will host Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday on Faurot Field for a ceremonial signing of House Bill 417, a pivotal piece of legislation for Missouri-based institutions in the name, image and likeness arms race. Before Parson puts celebratory pen to paper, Mizzou’s athletics might already have seen the full force of the bill’s impact.

Class of 2024 four-star wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan will announce his collegiate decision at 2 p. m. Sunday at Christian Brothers College in St.

Louis. He’ll choose between Mizzou, Oregon and Ohio State. Then comes the main card on the ticket.

Five-star edge rusher Williams Nwaneri out of Lee’s Summit North in Kansas City will announce his college destination Monday, with Missouri and Oklahoma the seeming frontrunners to secure his not-insignificant services. If one or both don a Tigers cap in the next few days, sealing historic pledges for Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz’s team, HB417 will be worth its weight in gold before it goes into effect Aug. 28.

The bill that was signed by Parson on July 6, as it currently stands, is among the most lenient in the nation. It allows college coaches in Missouri to “to identify, create, facilitate, negotiate, support, enable, or otherwise assist with opportunities for a student-athlete to earn compensation from a third party. ” But perhaps the greater benefit is for in-state recruits — like McClellan and Nwaneri.

The bill states, “A high school athlete who competes on an interscholastic athletic team in this state … may earn or attempt to earn compensation from the use of such athlete's name, image, likeness rights. ” That’s neither novel nor groundbreaking in the age of NIL. This is: “A high school athlete shall have the right to discuss earning or attempting to earn such compensation before signing an athletic letter of intent or other written agreement only when having discussions about potential enrollment with a postsecondary educational institution in this state.

” Before players sign their national letter of intent during December’s early signing period, Missouri high school recruits can begin to profit off their likeness provided they have signed an “other written agreement” — which seemingly leaves wiggle room — with a Missouri college or university. In short: a major advantage for Mizzou in recruiting battles for the state’s elite players. As of Friday, the Tigers have 11 commits and three four-star prospects in their Class of 2024.

Come Monday, commitments from either Nwaneri and McClellan, or both, would provide a significant win to a Missouri recruiting cycle that is ranked 61st in the nation and last in the Southeastern Conference. With new legislation on deck, it could be interpreted as a sign of what’s to come. Five-star wide receiver Ryan Wingo out of St.

Louis University High School is due to commit later this year, with Mizzou seemingly gaining traction in the chase. One certainty: HB417 hasn’t hurt Missouri’s chances. .

Calum McAndrew
Filed 08.13.2023

Players Mentioned in This Article

Albert McClellan

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