Missouri Tigers Position Preview: Wide Receiver
In case you missed it, read my running back preview for the Tigers. That position might be the biggest question mark on offense, so make sure you see what I have to say on where the team's going at that spot.
With Danario Alexander healthy, this might be the best WR corps in the country. With him out of the lineup until October, this group is still pretty damn good.
Missouri's wide receivers have to be good. The spread offense depends on their skills and depth. Luckily for Missouri, they have a pretty good cast on their hands for the 2008 season.
Do-it-all sensation Jeremy Maclin is the head of the class. He broke numerous team, conference, and national records, on the way to an All-American season as a redshirt freshman. He not only catches passes, but carries the ball and returns punts and kicks.
Although Maclin is without a doubt the most talented player on the team, look for head coach Gary Pinkel to perhaps lighten his workload a bit, and have him focus more on the direct offense (route running, etc.), so that he can maintain great health.
After Maclin would normally be Danario Alexander. At 6'5'', he has NFL-caliber size right now, and would have been a possible early entry into the draft after this season. But after re-injuring his knee and undergoing surgery this spring, Danario won't be able to see the field til mid-October. Questions of a redshirt might arise depending on the team's status.
Without Alexander, a medley of players will step up. Former walk-on Tommy Saunders was a third-down beast last season in the slot, and if he can cut down on the fumbles, he'll be a legitimate option. Also, talented junior Jared Perry looks to step up after a subpar sophomore campaign.
Being those two, the talent continues with a couple of players in a new position. Senior Earl Goldsmith, formerly a RB will catch passes in the slot this year, as will sophomore LaRoderick Thomas. Thomas has good size and speed and impressed in the spring.
Although the Tigers would surely love to have Alexander back sooner then later, a recovery shouldn't be rushed. True freshmen Wes Kemp and Rolandis Woodland will probably see the field this season to soften the blow of his loss. Both have great size and speed. They should be instants hits in the spread offense.
If Maclin can stay healthy and Perry can regain form from his freshman year, the wide receivers should pick up where they left off last year, and be one of the best units in the country.
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