Missouri enters its first season in the SEC with a lot of optimism. While many don't think this team has a chance to compete in college football's toughest conference, the Tigers believe they have enough talent to surprise people in 2012.
The team returns 13 starters from a year ago, including seven on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers also have many playmakers on offense, and one of the better dual-threat quarterbacks in James Franklin. Missouri also has a solid recruiting class coming in that includes 5-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
With the regular season just weeks away, here is what the Missouri Tigers depth chart should look like.
Starter: James Franklin, Junior
Backup: Corbin Berkstresser, Freshman
Franklin is the guy that will make this offense go. He is a playmaker at the quarterback position, who can kill you with either his arm or legs. Last season, he passed for over 2,800 yards, rushed for over 900 and scored 36 total touchdowns.
Starter: Kendial Lawrence, Senior
Backup: Marcus Murphy, Sophomore
With Henry Josey expected to miss a good portion of the season, Lawrence will have to carry this team on the ground. He is an experienced runner, who has helped the Tigers on offense and special teams throughout his three-year career. He averaged close to five yards a carry last season and scored five touchdowns.
Starter: Marcus Lucas, Junior
Backup: Rolandis Woodland, Senior
Lucas has big-time ability at 6'5", 215 pounds. He was third on this team in receiving yards last season, catching 23 passes for 414 yards and five touchdowns.
Starter: T.J. Moe, Senior
Backup: Gahn McGaffie, Senior
Moe is the most experienced receiver on the roster and the go-to guy in this offense. He has caught 148 passes for 1,702 yards and 10 touchdowns throughout his career.
Starter: L’Damian Washington, Junior
Backup: Bud Sasser, Sophomore
Washington is another big receiver, who began to shine as the season went on. He caught 20 passes last season, three of which went for touchdowns.
Starter: Eric Waters, Junior
Backup: Steve Drain, Senior
Waters saw most of his action last season on special teams, but did end up catching a 42-yard touchdown on offense.
Starter: Elvis Fisher, Senior
Backup: Anthony Gatti, Sophomore
Fisher will return to the starting lineup after missing the entire 2011 season with a knee injury. He is one of the leaders on this team and considered the best offensive lineman the team has.
Starter: Travis Ruth, Senior
Backup: Max Copeland, Junior
Ruth can play either the guard or center position. He has played in 25 games throughout his career.
Starter: Mitch Morse, Sophomore
Backup: Brad McNulty, Freshman
Morse saw most of his time on special teams last season. However, he did play in every game, and saw some time at offensive line. He earned first-team academic All-Big 12 honors last season.
Starter: Jack Meiners, Senior
Backup: Nick Demien, Sophomore
Meiners played in 13 games last season, starting seven at left guard. He will likely switch to the right guard position this season and looks to be a key piece in the running game.
Starter: Justin Britt, Junior
Backup: Taylor Chappell, Freshman
Britt was Fisher's replacement last season at left tackle. He started all 13 games at that position. Now that Fisher is healthy, Britt will switch to the right side.
Starter: Michael Sam, Junior
Backup: Kony Ealy, Sophomore
Sam is a quick defensive end, who made some big plays for the Tigers last season. With some experience under his belt, the junior should have an even bigger impact this year.
Starter: Sheldon Richardson, Junior
Backup: Jimmy Burge, Senior
Despite starting only two games, Richardson racked up 37 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He was a Big 12 honorable mention and is considered a top-150 player in the SEC by Bleacher Report.
Starter: Matt Hoch, Sophomore
Backup: Lucas Vincent, Sophomore
Hoch didn't see much action last season, but had a terrific spring, and should see significant playing time in the middle of the defensive line in 2012.
Starter: Brad Madison, Senior
Backup: Shane Ray, Freshman
Despite playing hurt for the majority of the season, Madison still managed to finish second on the team with 4.5 sacks.
Starter: Zaviar Gooden, Senior
Backup: Darvin Ruise, Sophomore
Gooden is an athletic linebacker, who finished third on the team with 80 tackles last season.
Starter: Will Ebner, Senior
Backup: Donovan Bonner, Junior
Ebner will be back on the field after missing all of the 2011 season due to a concussion. He was a Big 12 honorable mention in 2010, and will be a big lift for this front seven.
Starter: Andrew Wilson, Junior
Backup: Kentrell Brothers, Freshman
Wilson led the team in tackles last year with 98 and was named second-team All-Big 12.
Starter: E.J. Gaines, Junior
Backup: Xavier Smith, Sophomore
Gaines was a first-team All-Big 12 last season, and set a Missouri record with 18 pass break-ups in one season.
Starter: Kenronte Walker, Senior
Backup: Ian Simon, Freshman
Walker made a name for himself towards the end of last season, and continued to impress throughout the spring. He started three games and had 55 tackles and one sack.
Starter: Braylon Webb, Sophomore
Backup: Matt White, Junior
Webb started four games as a freshman, earning All-Big 12 honorable mention. He finished with 33 tackles and a forced fumble.
Starter: Kip Edwards, Senior
Backup: Randy Ponder, Junior
Edwards was a first-time starter last season, and finished with 55 tackles and an interception.
Starter: Trey Barrow, Senior
Backup: Andrew Baggett, Freshman
Barrow made seven of his nine field-goal attempts, and all 23 of his extra points.
Starter: Trey Barrow, Senior
Backup: Christian Brinser, Sophomore
He was also the punter for the Tigers, averaging 44.8 yards an attempt, and made the All-Big 12 second team.