Previous Position: Running Back
Was there a stronger unit in the Big 12 last season? Mizzou had a top 20 NFL talent in Jeremy Maclin, a walk-on turned hero in Tommy Saunders, and a Mackey award winner in Chase Coffman. So how can the cupboard not be completely bare in Columbia this fall?
Well, a couple of diamonds in the rough and talented youngsters should lead Missouri to have a strong stable of pass catchers once again.
Danario Alexander has always had NFL-type talent. The lanky 6'5'' speedster has shown flashes of brilliance in his three-year career, but has also fought multiple ACL tears and other minor injuries to never reach his full potential.
Word out of summer camp is that Danario is fully recovered and has never looked better. If he can emerge as a top tier target, he can join Will Franklin and Jeremy Maclin as Missouri wideouts that have gotten drafted.
Jared Perry is a similar story, but he's dealt with mental issues rather than physical. Always talented, and a freshman All-American, Perry has struggled with not being a star, getting lax on routes when he knows he's probably not getting the ball.
It's quite possible that he steps up his game as a senior and has a career year, but more likely than not, he's a solid starter at best.
The remainders are sophomore and freshmen that ooze talent, yet haven't done much on the college football field.
Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp both played as true freshmen and could have major impacts as their roles increase. Rolandis Woodland and Gahn McGaffie earned rave reviews during redshirt years as freshmen, Brandon Gereu is a former walk-on who is expected to contribute, and there are numerous true freshmen that can earn the chance to play.
Kerwin Stricker, L'Damian Washington, and Jaleel Clark are all under the radar true freshmen that the coaching staff likes. Washington and Clark, both who are over 6'4'' but possess speed, look especially appealing in the spread offense.
Tight end looks to have a ton of potential as well, but is almost completely unproven. Andrew Jones played well in Coffman's absence and garbage duty, and Egnew has the size and speed to be another pass catching weapon, but didn't do much despite burning his redshirt as a frosh.
Look for Alexander and Perry to lead the attack, with one or the other possibly becoming a star. Likewise with Jackson and Kemp, whose accomplishment of playing in Missouri's loaded offense last year should not be taken lightly. They'll probably elevate to more of a "potential star" role, but should elevate their games never the less.
The unpredictable part of this group is what you get from the kids that haven't seen the field yet. Woodland has the reputation of freaking Chuck Norris around CoMo, yet hasn't done a thing. And the skill set that Clark and Washington have exudes potential, but they haven't been in Columbia yet at all.
If the Tigers get a contribution from a true frosh, and Alexander and Perry have years like they are capable of, combining for maybe 1,800 yards, the Tigers will have the star power and depth to be very, very good.
Combine a solid blocking/pass catching effort from Jones and Egnew, and the pass catching corps could be one of the best in the Big 12.
There's also a small (in my opinion) chance that Mizzou's group will be one of the best in the country, or one of the worst in the conference.
Kemp and others have gone on record saying they think this year's edition is better (because of depth) than last year, which turned into a two trick pony. However, this group really hasn't done squat except for D.A. and Perry.
It should be fascinating to see how they pan out.