Missouri Football: Kendial Lawrence Ready to Step in for Henry Josey

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 28, 2012

Missouri RB Kendial Lawrence
Missouri RB Kendial LawrenceChristian Petersen/Getty Images

The status of Missouri star running back Henry Josey for the 2012 season has been in doubt since the rising junior suffered a torn ACL, MCL and ruptured patellar tendon late last season.

His future came into focus on Monday, and the news wasn't good.

Head coach Gary Pinkel confirmed that Josey will sit out the 2012 season in the hopes of returning in 2013, according to the Associated Press.

That was assumed to be the case for a while. Now, it's officially up to senior Kendial Lawrence to replace Josey as the Tigers enter the SEC.

Lawrence emerged as Missouri's No. 1 tailback heading into last season, but broke his fibula early in the season. He missed three games and was relegated to a backup role once he returned due to Josey, who finished second in the Big 12 with 116.8 rushing yards per game.

Lawrence seems prepared for the role, judging from coach Gary Pinkel's comments to Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com.

Pinkel on Kendial Lawrence:"Kendial's had a great summer. He's looked as good as he's ever looked here."

— Gabe DeArmond (@GabeDeArmond) August 27, 2012

Lawrence has 1,207 rushing yards and nine touchdowns during his first three years in Columbia. The 5'9", 195-pounder has breakaway speed and was named the Tigers' most improved running back during the spring of 2011.

Missouri had the nation's ninth-best rushing attack last season, averaging 243.4 yards a game, relying primarily on Josey and dual-threat quarterback James Franklin.

Lawrence is certainly a capable running back, but we won't know how well the Mizzou offense translates to the SEC until the Tigers face a stingy Georgia defense in Week 2.