Five-star defensive end Williams Nwaneri from Lee’s Summit North commits to Missouri

Top-ranked defensive end Williams Nwaneri from Lee’s Summit North committed to Missouri on...
Top-ranked defensive end Williams Nwaneri from Lee’s Summit North committed to Missouri on Monday, Aug. 14.
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 3:51 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2023 at 4:16 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Five-star defensive end Williams Nwaneri committed to Mizzou on Monday.

Nwaneri announced the commitment in front of a crowd of spectators Monday afternoon in the gym at Lee’s Summit North.

“For the next three to four years I’ll be attending the University of Missouri,” Nwaneri said, eliciting a raucous ovation from friends, family and others in attendance.

He chose between Oklahoma, Missouri, Oregon, Georgia and Tennessee. When recruiting network On3 updated its recruiting rankings July 10, Nwaneri was the No. 1 ranked player in the class, becoming the first player to reach No. 1 overall in Kansas City metro high school football history.

Missouri football’s Twitter account shared a post of its coaching staff reacting to the announcement, showing a joyous Eli Drinkwitz.

Throughout the summer, Nwaneri officially visited Georgia on June 2, Oklahoma on June 9, Tennessee on June 16 and Missouri on June 23. Lee’s Summit North head coach Jamar Mozee said after driving across the country throughout the summer visiting schools with Nwaneri, the 6-foot-6 defensive end made his mind up last week.

“I wanted him to be able to see every (school) to make a clear decision,” Mozee said, adding that visits to Missouri’s campus were countless. “We went everywhere. It’s really cool to see him come down to this point, and in the last two weeks he knew and he could make a sound decision of, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing, this is where I’m going based on what I want to do.’”

Mozee said he believed the proximity of Columbia to Nwaneri’s hometown will be beneficial for the star defensive end.

“I think he doesn’t need to be 10 hours away, to be honest,” Mozee told KCTV. “Closer to home is good. His parents can come see him play. His relationship with coach Drinkwitz, they really got close. They got tight. All those things make up a good formula for him.”

Earlier this Spring, Lee’s Summit native Felix Anudike-Uzomah was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Mozee said that Anudike-Uzomah -- who was in attendance for the commitment -- is evidence of a local player having success without fleeing home.

“He was at Felix’s draft party, and so all those things have become reality for him like, ‘OK, I can do this,’” Mozee said, “‘and I don’t have to go 15 hours away to do it.’ I think we get caught up a lot on the school label. If you’re a really good player, then you’re a really good player. I think he understood that as we went through the process.”

Nwaneri’s senior season will get underway with Lee’s Summit North when the Broncos take on Liberty North Aug. 25.

“It was very important,” Nwaneri told reporters of the ability to get the commitment completed before his senior season begins. “We’re trying to go win a state championship, so I need all my focus on that.”

“He should dominate and I’ve talked to him about that,” Mozee said of expectations for this season. “There’s no ifs, and or buts with me. He should be the best, so there’s some games he should dominate. The expectation is high for him to get better and play with more motor.”

In Missouri football recruiting history, Nwaneri is the second-highest-rated recruit in 24/7 Sports’ composite rankings to choose the Tigers, falling only behind Class of 2012 wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. While the LSN standout has not officially signed with the Tigers yet, he said he’s absolutely locked in on showing up in Columbia next year.

“I’m 1000 percent committed,” Nwaneri said. “I don’t plan on flipping.”