The Missouri Tigers return four starters on the offensive line for the upcoming season—losing only right guard Kurtis Gregory from the 2009 unit.
Better yet, however, is what the Tigers possess beyond the starters.
But that depth took a hit on Tuesday when offensive guard J.T. Beasley decided to leave the program. Power Mizzou reported the news this afternoon after receiving confirmation from MU team spokesman Chad Moller.
The reason(s) for Beasley's decision were not disclosed.
A native of Dyersburg, Tenn., Beasley played sparingly last season as a sophomore after seeing action in six games in 2008, primarily at center.
He moved to guard during spring practices a year ago and was expected to use the coming weeks to initiate his efforts for locking down a backup role behind presumptive starting guards Austin Wuebbels and Jayson Palmgren.
Beasley's departure is a mystery, but it helps to partially clear up what is still a clouded picture regarding who will fill second-string roles on MU's offensive line in 2010.
With one less body to contend with, redshirt freshman Justin Britt, who has been praised by head coach Gary Pinkel, has instantly seen his chances of landing a job behind either Wuebbels and Palmgren improve.
And then there's incoming freshmen Nick Demien and Mitch Morse, both of whom could use their high-profile prep reputations to become a factor on the two-deep depth chart when they arrive on campus this summer.
Beasley is the second player to leave the MU program in the last month—and he may not be the last to defect before the upcoming season arrives.
Presuming all 23 members of the 2010 recruiting class will qualify academically, Missouri's current offseason roster consists of 88 scholarship players—three more than the NCAA will allow for the 2010 season.
If the program experiences no further attrition, coaches may exercise their right to pull scholarships so that the program meets the requirement.
Tailback Gilbert Moye announced on Feb. 8 that he was parting ways with the team, and he has plans to transfer at the end of the semester.