ST. LOUIS — The Missouri football program got some news on Monday morning when De Smet High offensive linemen Andy Bauer announced via Twitter that he has decided to play for the Tigers.
Bauer, a 6-foot-5, 305-pounder who is ranked by Scout.com as the ninth-best offensive guard prospect in the country, committed to Mizzou as a sophomore two years ago but then backed off that pledge.
Then, in March, he made a verbal commitment to Ole Miss.
Bauer announced his decision on his Twitter account (@AndyBauer_76) with a photograph of a typed statement:
“Through much prayer, discernment, and communication with my family I have decided to attend and play football for the University of Missouri. I want to thank Coach Freeze for the opportunity to play at Ole Miss. I want to thank Coach Luke as well for recruiting me and developing a very strong relationship with me, he is a great person and someone I look up to. I am disappointed that these relationships will end. This was a very tough decision and one that was not taken lightly. 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. Mizzou has never stopped recruiting me. Coach Pinkel, Coach Henson, and Coach Ford have stuck with me through the entire process. I have had a relationship with Coach Henson since I was 14 years old. I am excited to be able to play for and represent my home state school. I want to be a part of bringing a championship to the state of Missouri and Mizzou. I am very thankful for the opportunity to study and play football at the University of Missouri. Thanks, Andy Bauer”
Bauer pulled a joke on Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel two years ago when he made his initial commitment to the Tigers.
He was wearing a coat during an unofficial visit to the campus and when he got to the football office he told Pinkel it was getting a little hot in there. He then took off his jacket to reveal a t-shirt that said ‘Forever A Tiger’ on it.
It turns out he will be after all.
Bauer and his younger brother, Robby, were in the stands at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night watching Mizzou defeat Tennessee 31-3.
The De Smet standout, who is missing his senior season after having surgery on his hip in the preseason, is a significant recruiting victory for the Tigers. He is regarded as a top 100-type prospect and turned down scholarship offers from the major programs in college football to stay home and continue his career in Columbia.
Bauer is expected to participate in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game, which will be played on Jan. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @natelatsch or email him at email@example.com.