COLUMBIA, Mo. — Jamal Roberts wasn’t the biggest offensive star for St. Mary’s during last fall’s march to the Class 3 state championship, but he powered the Dragons’ ground attack, nearly rushing for 1,000 yards. He can build on his breakout season this fall. First, though, a recruiting decision. Roberts cleared up that mystery Sunday, announcing his verbal commitment to Missouri.
Roberts, widely rated a three-star prospect, announced his pledge on social media, becoming the seventh commitment for MU’s 2023 class and the fifth from within the state border or just beyond in Illinois. Roberts also has received offers from Power 5 teams Arizona State, Florida State and Kansas State.
The 6-foot, 200-pound back visited Kanas State and Mizzou last month.
St Mary’s running back verbally commits to Missouri.
Roberts did not return messages seeking comment on Sunday.
Last fall, while All-Metro receiver Kevin Coleman electrified the St. Mary’s passing attack, Roberts kept the Dragons moving on the ground, finishing the championship season with 928 yards and 12 touchdowns on 98 carries. He also caught seven passes for 171 yards and two scores.
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He’s rated the state’s No. 25 prospect by Rivals, No. 26 by 247Sports and No. 20 by On3.
While coach Eli Drinkwitz’s Mizzou’s staff has heavily recruited another in-state back, four-star CBC prospect Jeremiyah Love, Roberts emerged as a rising local prospect in recent months on the camp circuit and attended “The Summit” recruiting weekend in Columbia late last month . That weekend, the Tigers also hosted Cahokia High defensive back Nicholas DeLoach Jr., who committed on June 26.
Meanwhile, the competition for Love remains fierce. Rated the nation’s No 3 running back by Rivals, Love has taken official visits to Alabama, Michigan and Notre Dame, plus unofficial visits to Mizzou, Georgia, Oregon and Arkansas.
“It was all that I could handle and then some more,” Love told BamaOnline.com last week about his visit to Tuscaloosa. “Alabama goes hard doing everything. Coach (Nick) Saban and his wife are the coolest. They danced all night, mainly with my parents, but it was a blast. Looking forward to seeing them again. Coach Saban assured me that I will get playing time when they feel that I’m ready. … Offers doesn’t come easy from Alabama.”
Love told the site he plans to announce his commitment before the start of the football season.
Across the state border, East St. Louis offensive lineman Paris Patterson plans to make his commitment on Monday, choosing among Arkansas, Iowa State, Jackson State, Louisiana State, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee.
Another in-state Mizzou target planned to make his college decision this weekend but changed his mind. After a busy month of visits, four-star wideout Joshua Manning from Lee’s Summit was set to announce his verbal pledge on Sunday but tweeted that morning that he was pushing back his commitment and had not set a date.
In June, the state’s 12th-ranked player (Rivals) took all five of his official visits to, in order, Nebraska, Kansas State, Iowa State, Arkansas and Mizzou.
Roberts gives Mizzou seven commitments for the 2023 class. Here’s where the class stands as of Sunday:
• Blake Craigkicker, Liberty (Liberty North HS).
• Nicholas Deloach Jr.defensive back, Cahokia (Cahokia HS).
• Gabarri Johnsonquarterback, Tacoma, Wash. (Lincoln HS).
• Marquis Johnsonwide receiver, Dickinson, Texas.
• Jahkai Langdefensive end, Troy (Troy Buchanan HS).
• Brett Norfleettight end, St. Charles (Francis Howell).
• jamal robertsrunning back, St. Louis (St. Mary’s).