ESPN 300 OT Bauer back with Mizzou

The top-ranked player in Missouri has decided to stay home after all.

ESPN 300 offensive tackle Andy Bauer (St. Louis/De Smet), a one-time Missouri commit, announced Monday morning that he has decided against playing for Ole Miss and recommitted to Missouri. Bauer, who originally committed to the Tigers during his sophomore season, released a statement on Twitter, thanking the Ole Miss staff and explaining his decision to return to Missouri’s class.

“This was a very tough decision and one that was not taken lightly,” Bauer said in the statement. “My relationships with Coach Gary Pinkel, Coach Josh Henson, Coach Cornell Ford, Coach Bruce Walker, Coach Alex Grinch and the rest of the staff at Mizzou have me very excited about my future there.

“I am very close with my family, and the opportunity to be geographically close to them was too much to pass up. Almost my entire family has attended Mizzou, and it is tradition for me. My heart has always been there.”

It was around this time last year when Bauer, the nation’s eighth-ranked offensive tackle and No. 82 player overall, decommitted from Missouri. In March, the 6-foot-6, 304-pound Under Armour All-American gave coach Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss his verbal commitment. Bauer, however, said Missouri has always been in the race and "never stopped recruiting" him.

Henson, Missouri’s offensive coordinator, has known Bauer since he was a freshman, and he and Ford, the cornerbacks coach and Bauer’s area recruiting contact, kept Bauer as a top priority for the class. With the decision, Bauer again became the Tigers’ highest-ranked commitment. Missouri now has 25 commitments, and Bauer is the first ESPN 300 pledge of the class.

“I am excited to be able to play for and represent my home-state school,” Bauer said. “I want to be a part of bringing a championship to the state of Missouri and Mizzou.”