OK, we got a version of this question about 17 times last week, so let's answer once and for all this week.
Cleary, Drinkwitz is off to a great start. The current class ranking - No. 18 by Rivals.com, No. 20 by 247Sports.com and No. 24 by the 247Sports composite - is far better than Mizzou is traditionally ranked this time of year or any time of year. Keep in mind, the rankings are weighed by both the quantity and quality of the commitments. Only a few teams have more commitments than Mizzou's 19. In the SEC, only Florida and Tennessee have more pledges. Here's the substantial difference that's going to ultimately push Mizzou down in these rankings: Using 247Sports star rankings, Tennessee has nine 4-star commitments; Florida has 11; Mizzou has two (Travion Ford, Tyler Macon.) Mizzou doesn't have a lot of room for many more additions, and if the bulk of those pledges are 3-star players, this isn't going to be a top 20 class. That's OK. It still has the makings of a very promising group of recruits. The local goodwill is as strong as it's been in more than a decade because of the success Drinkwitz has had with in-state recruits. That's progress regardless of the rankings. You've got local players picking Mizzou early in the process - before the new guy has coached a game - and they've been outspoken about their enthusiasm for the new staff. So, no matter if this class ends up at No. 35, 25 or 15, he's done a great job selling his vision and getting early investments both in the state and beyond. The staff has quietly found a market in the Indianapolis area. They've gone into Texas, Florida and North Carolina and gotten some players with decent offer lists. They've landed a couple junior college players to address immediate needs.
The biggest difference between Drinkwitz's early start and Odom's early start is ... the early start. Drinkwitz got some high-profile local recruits to buy in early. That created some momentum and strengthened their sales pitch. Odom never really had that first-year coach honeymoon phase for recruiting, largely because Mizzou was coming out of 2015 and all the issues that challenged the university and the athletics department at the time. Then, his first season was a four-win flop. That damaged his sales pitch even further and the staff never captured any in-state momentum.
What's happening right now - taking the pandemic out of the equation - reminds me of the early recruiting surge Pinkel's staff created after he was hired. He was able to land Damien Nash and a handful of St. Louis recruits who weren't considering Mizzou otherwise.