High school recruiting and the use of the transfer portal have received most of the attention this college offseason. There is, however, a third way to add talent to a roster and recruiting the JuCo ranks is still viable if done correctly.
By Steve Wright
Missouri and head coach Eli Drinkwitz hope that they have picked up an instant contributor in their class of 2023 with the commitment of Les (LJ) Hewitt out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Hewitt is a big cornerback/safety. He stands at 6-foot-2.5 and weighs in at 185 pounds. This – plus what will be two years of experience in JuCo ball by the time he gets to Columbia – should give him an advantage over those players coming in from high school still developing their bodies.
The Tigers have had issues recruiting the transfer portal so Hewitt is a big get. He might even be on campus as soon as this fall as he is currently attempting to reclassify to the class of 2022. If so, he would be on campus over the summer and provide an even more immediate impact than was first expected. Hewitt was offered from the likes of Iowa State and Mississippi State coming out of high school and last season he had 14 solo tackles and a pick.
As you can see from the video below, Hewitt has a presence on the field. The first play is an interception that he makes possible with his size. He is easily able to push his receiver to the sideline, giving the quarterback zero window to throw the ball into. The pick looks easy, but it was the work off of the line that made it so.
The second play is also an interesting one. Hewitt is able to break up a pass when it looks like he is beaten because of his outstanding closing speed on the ball. The way he undercuts the wide receiver is outstanding and is as good as it can be done.