National signing day 2023 recruits
Watch: Missouri State names Ryan Beard as its next head football coach
Ryan Beard is introduced as the new Missouri State Bears head football coach during a press conference on Monday, December 19, 2022.
Nathan Papes, Springfield Information Officer
A handful of rookies signed with Missouri State football and new head coach Ryan Beard on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
The new signings will join the 13 who signed with the Bears in early December. The new group includes a former SEC offensive lineman and a few players from Texas and Florida.
Note that a pair of listed players from Southwest Missouri and an additional in-state player will be preferred extras and have not been advertised by the university due to recruiting rules.
This is unlikely to be the end of the Bears’ recruiting class, as these staff have been adding transfers throughout the summer in recent years.
Here are the new Missouri State football players expected to join the team:
SIGNATURE CLASS 2023: Here are the players Missouri State, Ryan Beard signed during the 2022 early signing period
Jayden Becks, Waxahachie (Texas), RB
Becks is a fast running back from Texas who runs a 40-yard sprint in 4.36 seconds.
Becks held offers from Houston Christian, Mississippi Valley and Prairie View A&M before opting to play for the Bears. He was a second-team all-district performer as a senior.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound was coached by those who helped give Bears All-MVFC defensive end Kevin Ellis.
Timothy Brantley, Allen (Texas), DL
The Bears added size to their defensive line with Brantley, a 6-foot-1, 315-pound defensive tackle from Texas.
Brantley isn’t the most active on social media and hasn’t listed schools that have been interested in him. His highlights show how fast he is for his size while playing in one of the most recognizable high school programs in the nation.
He finished last season with 21 total tackles, three sacks and four rushing quarterbacks.
Likely a staple on the Bears offensive line, Cade is a 6-foot-6, 345-pound player who was a three-star out of high school. He told the News-Leader that he will be playing tackle when training guard at Ole Miss.
Cade is one of the greatest players to enter the MSU football program. He did not play Ole Miss after making a redshirt in 2021 and did not play as a redshirt freshman last season.
Outside of Braswell High in Denton, Texas, Cade was rated a three-star prospect by all major recruiting services and was ranked as the No. 57 offensive tackle in the nation. He had offers from Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU and Arizona State, among others.
In high school, he was named to the Denton Area All-Decade Team by the Denton Record-Chronicle. In 2019, he was touted as a Power-5 starter and was compared to Detroit Lions offensive guard Logan Stenberg by 247Sports.
After reaching the transfer portal, Cade said he was pursued by Kansas State until the school had too many returns that filled the vacancies on the roster. He’s also heard of Buffalo State, Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State, and Tennessee State, but none of them gave him the ‘homey feel’ of the State of Missouri.
Josh Deal, Francis Howell, K
The state’s all-time leading scorer for a kicker, Deal signed on with Missouri State in need of a kicker following Jose Pizano’s decision to transfer to UNLV. He will be a privileged extra.
Deal just finished an all-state Class 5 first-team season and nearly averaged a touchdown at 58.9 yards per boot. He also doubled as a punter averaging 31.7 yards per kick. He scored four field goals last season with 93 extra points.
Jayden Gillens, Jones (Florida), WR
The first of two players to leave Jones High in Florida, Gillens is a 5-foot-11 wide receiver who runs a 4.29-second sprint for 40 yards.
Gillens’ listings are from Ole Miss, Marshall, and Alabama State. He was listed as one of the best players in the Orlando area and was a ballhawk in Jones’ secondary last season.
He finished 2022 with five catches for 132 yards and a touchdown offensively and 21 total tackles and three interceptions defensively, according to his MaxPreps. He is also a renowned kick returner.
The 2022 News-Leader High School Football Player of the Year will stay home and play for Missouri State. He will be a privileged extra.
The all-state running back is coming off a season in which he led the region with 2,223 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. He followed a junior season that he was forced to miss the majority of due to a broken collarbone.
Green also held bids from Western Illinois, Fort Hays, Missouri Western, Pitt State, Lincoln and others.
Hafer is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end that the News-Leader recognized as a first-team All-Ozarks player. Hafer finished the 2022 season with 39 catches for 500 yards and four touchdowns.
Hafer also held offers from Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State, Eastern Illinois, Lindenwood and others. He will be the Bears’ favorite extra.
Hafer has shown his ability throughout the 2022 season to step up and provide assists. He is the second West Plains player to commit to this year’s class along with Heston Miller who signed in December.
Hutson Lillibridge, Tulane, OL
The need to get bigger on the offensive line continued with the Bears landing in Lillibridge, a transfer from Tulane who attended school at DeSmet in St. Louis.
Lillibridge is a 6-foot-3, 304-pounder who was a three-star out of high school. He was ranked Missouri’s 23rd player in his signing class.
Lillibridge made one appearance in their redshirt season in 2021 before playing nine games last season. After high school, it was also offered by Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, a few MAC schools, a few MVFC schools, and others.
Jax Rumsey, Moore (Oklahoma), OL
Rumsey is a 6-foot-3, 311-pound offensive lineman who will enter a freshman year at Oklahoma where he started all four years. He will immediately become one of the greatest players on the Missouri State roster.
Rumsey was first hired at Oklahoma State as a favorite extra. He also held offers from Northeast State, East Central and Central Oklahoma.
Jamauri Sands, Jones (Florida), DB
Jones’ high school partner in crime Gillens will also join Missouri State.
Sands is a 6-foot-1, 170-pound defensive back who has held offers from Grambling State and several schools at the Division II level.
Sands finished the 2022 season with 35 total tackles and three interceptions, according to his MaxPreps.
Floyd Williams, Gosnell (Arkansas), DB
Williams signed with the Bears after tweeting his commitment to the team, but then, in the following days, saying he had received offers from Oregon and Houston.
Prior to committing to the Bears, Williams had more than a dozen offers from various HBCUs, Ivy League and Arkansas State programs.
Williams played both sides of the ball throughout his high school career, including as a quarterback who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in one season. There may not be many players on the Bears roster with his type of speed right now and MSU will take it.
Day One Signers Ryan Boyd, WR, Cardinal RitterCraig Burt Jr., WR, Western KentuckyAngelo Butts, WR, Miami, OhioJustin Curtis, OL, Wagner CollegeCole Feuerbacher, QB, GlendaleKaleno Levine, DB, Tyler Junior CollegeAndrew Link, DL , KickapooHeston Miller, ATH, West PlainsCooper Roy, EDGE, Air ForceMichael Teason, LB, Christian BrothersCaden Wiest, DL, Reeds SpringDallas Winner-Johnson, ATH, Cardinal RitterKanye Young, LB, Reedley College
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist for the Springfield News-Leader. You can reach him at 417-371-6987, by email at [email protected] or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL. He is also a co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 p.m.