Missouri Football: 4 Players with Most to Gain in Spring Practices

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2014

Missouri Football: 4 Players with Most to Gain in Spring Practices

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    The 2013 season was a banner year for the Missouri Tigers football program.

    They went 12-2 on the year, made it to the SEC Championship Game, and also finished off the campaign with a nail-biting Cotton Bowl victory over ex-conference rival Oklahoma State.

    With spring practices now on the horizon, it's time to start looking toward the 2014 season

    Here are four Tigers who can gain the most with the upcoming slate of practices.

QB Maty Mauk

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    As a freshman last year, Mauk was brilliant while filling in for senior QB James Franklin.

    He started four games for the Tigers and went 3-1 during that span in relief.

    The Ohio native also threw for 1,071 yards and notched 11 touchdown passes to just two interceptions for the season.

    The real test for Mauk will be his upcoming sophomore season and if he can play at as high of a level as he did during his frosh year, and it all starts this spring.

QB Eddie Printz

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    Printz is yet another very talented quarterback that Gary Pinkel has on his roster.

    He was redshirted this past season but could easily give teammate Maty Mauk a run for his money as the Tigers' starting QB next season.

    The ex-Lassiter High star was one of the best signal-callers to come out of the state of Georgia for his 2013 recruiting class.

    He is very athletic and is a solid pocket passer with a strong arm who will be looking for a chance to prove himself more this spring.

DE Shane Ray

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    Last year, Missouri boasted one of the best defensive lines in all of college football.

    After the departure of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam to the NFL, someone must step up for the Black and Gold if this unit is going to continue its recent dominance.

    Sophomore Shane Ray will need to answer that call for the Tigers in 2014.

    Ray turned in a nice campaign last season with 4.5 sacks, but he will need to play at an even higher level to help compensate for the loss of both Ealy and Sam in MU's front seven.

LB Michael Scherer

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    To say that soon-to-be sophomore linebacker Michael Scherer has big shoes to fill next season is a large understatement.

    He will be replacing one of Missouri's best defenders and tacklers in departing senior Andrew Wilson.

    Scherer can make a name for himself at the upcoming spring practices by stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunity to start for this team.

    The St. Louis native has loads of talent, and spring ball will be the first time this young linebacker will be able to put it all on display without being in Wilson's shadow.