Missouri Football: 5 Guys Who Need a Great Spring Performance

Adam SpencerCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2012

Missouri Football: 5 Guys Who Need a Great Spring Performance

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    The Missouri Tigers are busy preparing for the 2012 college football season, which will be their first season in the SEC.

    In order to make an impact in the league, they’ll need big performances from several unheralded players. With a number of key players graduating on both offense and defense, Mizzou needs some young guys and backups to step up big.

    Let’s take a look at five guys who need to dominate this spring if the Tigers are going to be competitive in the SEC.

5. L'Damian Washington, WR

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    Wes Kemp and Jerrell Jackson graduated after the 2011 season, leaving two holes to fill at wide receiver.

    T.J. Moe and prize recruit Dorial Green-Beckham figure to be two of the starters in Mizzou’s spread offense. However, someone else needs to step up to help the Tigers spread the field.

    Washington has the speed to be a legitimate deep threat for James Franklin next year. He just needs to show he can handle being an every-down wide receiver during spring practices.

4. Kenronte Walker, S

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    The secondary is going to go through a lot of turnover this offseason after the graduations of Kenji Jackson (pictured here) and Trey Hobson.

    Someone needs to step up and lead the Tigers from the safety position to replace Jackson.

    If Walker can take a big step this offseason, the Tigers will be in good shape. If he struggles, it could be a long year for Missouri.

3. Randy Ponder, DB

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    After losing Trey Hobson to graduation, the Tigers have a cornerback slot to fill.

    Ponder had a decent season in 2011 as a backup and could be in line to take Hobson’s spot.

    The secondary was the weakest link for Missouri in 2011, so a big performance from Ponder would really help this team.

2. Sheldon Richardson, DT

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    Terrell Resonno and Dominique Hamilton (pictured here) both graduated, meaning Richardson is now the No. 1 defensive tackle for Missouri.

    He showed some flashes of brilliance last season, but he’s going to need to be more consistent in 2012. If he can step up his game, the Tigers’ run defense should be just fine.

1. James Franklin, QB

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    Franklin had a pretty good first year as a starter in 2011, but he’ll need to improve his passing numbers in 2012. Everyone knows he’s a threat running the ball, but if he can’t improve his passing, SEC defenses will eat him alive.

    His performance this spring could be a good indicator of how Missouri’s 2012 season will go.