National Signing Day: Five Mizzou football newcomers to watch for in 2021

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune

A majority of Missouri football's Class of 2021 signed several weeks ago. 

The end to the national signing period for Division I teams was perhaps the least newsworthy first Wednesday of February in recent memory. 

The reason was three-fold for Missouri: the prioritized December early signing window, the COVID-19 pandemic, and head coach Eli Drinkwitz being in his second offseason — having just completed the first year of a six-season deal signed in December 2019. 

Missouri has inked 25 offseason additions to its program and still has roster flexibility to add more names before the start of voluntary workouts this summer. 

While many newly minted Tigers have a chance to make an immediate impact in Columbia, here are five to pay extra attention to: 

1. WR Dominic Lovett

Most teams in the Southeastern Conference had a player this past season who could take simple plays and turn them into long gains and touchdowns. 

Alabama had Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. Florida utilized Kadarius Toney in several ways. One of South Carolina's few consistent strengths in 2020 was the ability of Shi Smith. 

The Tigers didn't have that complexity to their offense.

Lovett could fill that role.

If the true freshman suits up against Central Michigan in September, the early enrollee would be playing his first official game in nearly two years because of Illinois moving prep football to the spring due to the pandemic.

More:WR Mekhi Miller commits to Mizzou football

Missouri has quality in the wide receiver room, but the more the merrier. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Lovett, alongside Ohio State transfer Mookie Cooper, could elevate the Tigers' play on the outside and vertically.

As an added bonus, Lovett could be a viable option as a returner.

Hattiesburg's Jadarrius Perkins makes a tackle in a playoff game against Brookhaven in 2018.

2. CB Jadarrius Perkins

One of the key additions to Missouri's roster in 2021 is Perkins, a highly touted junior college transfer and former longtime Oregon pledge. 

Perkins already is in Columbia and enrolled in classes, per Missouri's online student directory.

Perkins held 36 FBS offers, per the 247Sports Composite, and originally committed to Oregon last May.

He decommitted from the Ducks in early December, but listed Oregon, Missouri, Mississippi State and Oklahoma among his new final four Dec. 21.

He will bring immediate depth and maturity to a position in which the Tigers started two true freshmen to end 2020.

Lutheran North's Travion Ford makes a tackle against Ava during the Class 2 state championship game Dec. 6, 2019, at Faurot Field. Ford has signed with Missouri.

3. DL Travion Ford

Ford is Missouri's highest-rated signee of the 2021 class after a dominant high school career at Lutheran North in St. Louis. 

Missouri's defensive line played well in 2020, but it's clear that standards have been raised with the hiring of the Tigers' new D-line coach Jethro Franklin last month. 

Ford is one of seven defensive linemen to sign with Missouri in this class, showing how much the Missouri coaching staff prioritized the position.

Among that group, Ford could be the best suited to complement what the Tigers already have.

Rice linebacker Blaze Alldredge (55) recovers a fumble against Army during a game Aug. 30, 2019, at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y. Alldredge transferred to Missouri this offseason.

4. LB Blaze Alldredge

Missouri's biggest offseason loss is Nick Bolton to the NFL Draft. You don't replace a Butkus Award finalist easily. 

Cushioning the blow via the transfer portal is Alldredge, who should have two years of eligibility remaining when he comes to campus later this year after finishing classes at Rice.

Life without Bolton:How Mizzou looks to move on without star linebacker

Alldredge recorded 214 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, six sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble in 30 career games with the Owls. He was also a team captain in 2020. 

He will add experience to a Missouri linebacking corps without much starting chops, outside of Devin Nicholson.

East St. Louis (Ill.) quarterback Tyler Macon (5) eludes a Detroit King (Mich.) defender during a 2018 game. Macon has signed with Missouri.

5. QB Tyler Macon

Missouri likely has its starting quarterback for 2021 in reigning SEC freshman of the year Connor Bazelak. But what's wrong with a little push from Macon?

The Elite 11 participant comes to Columbia after setting Illinois' high school record for touchdown passes in a single season. 

As Drinkwitz has said multiple times: "The only thing better than a little competition is a lot of competition."

Don't forget about St. Louis native Brady Cook in the quarterback room, either. 

Not too long ago, quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones all were on Alabama's roster at the same time. Those are incredibly high standards, but why not shoot to have that much talent in one room?

Contact Eric Blum at eblum@columbiatribune.com. Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter.

Follow Mizzou football with the Tribune’s Tiger Extra newsletter. Sign up at columbiatribune.com/tigerextra for stories, galleries and podcasts in your inbox every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.