2014 Missouri football: Recruiting and offensive needs

Bill Carter

A look at Missouri's projected 2014 and 2015 depth charts and how the 2014 recruiting class will address future holes.

With Raymond Wingo's commitment on Tuesday, Missouri's commitment total for the 2014 recruiting class stands at 26. You can only sign 25 in a class, but thanks to a series of early enrollees (and the fact that last year's class was quite small), Missouri could ink up to 4-6 more recruits for this class.

Let's pretend for a moment, however, that Missouri signs zero players in this class. Let's look at the roster as it would stand in both 2014 and 2015 without any newcomers. Going unit by unit, this should tell us a bit about Mizzou's recruiting needs, both immediate and into the future. Today, we'll look at offense; tomorrow: defense.

The presumed depth chart is based as much as possible on the current depth chart. Youngsters will likely overtake veterans in certain spots, but I tried to maintain the order in most places. And in a couple, I took creative liberties.

NOTE: Perhaps quite a few of the players below will transfer. It would be a bit irresponsible to guess who that might be, but let's just say that, generally speaking, the players most likely to transfer are the ones who are sitting on the third string with younger players above them. On average, if they're from out of state, that makes them a bit more of a risk. So take your own guesses from there. (It sounds like there could be multiple redshirt juniors -- perhaps graduating either this winter or next spring -- who could leave to take advantage of the "you can transfer without sitting out if you have graduated" rule, too. So be mindful that, as well.)

But yeah, there are 64 scholarship players listed in today's offensive post and tomorrow's defensive post, and that doesn't count walk-ons who got decent playing time this year -- Andrew Baggett, Christian Brinser, Clayton Echard, etc. You can't have more than 85, and Missouri's already at 26 commitments with the promise of adding more. Do the math. Five to 10 of the players listed below will leave before next season. I like Gary Pinkel's track record of not pushing players out the door, but we know 5-10 will leave, pushed or not. You have your guesses, and I have mine.

Oh yeah, and players with asterisks by their name are, or were, walk-ons. (We're ignoring special teams here, but obviously Baggett and/or Brinser would have asterisks as well.) Players in bold are returning starters or, in the case of the 2015 list, projected returning starters.

Quarterback

As we'll see with a lot of positions, Missouri's overall level of experience in 2014 will bely its rather mediocre number of "returning starters." That starts at the quarterback position, where "starter" James Franklin leaves and is (presumably) replaced by a player who has thus far thrown 129 passes.

2014

  • Maty Mauk (So.)
  • Eddie Printz (RSFr.)
  • Corbin Berkstresser (Jr.)
  • Trent Hosick (RSFr.)

2015

  • Maty Mauk (Jr.)
  • Eddie Printz (So.)
  • Corbin Berkstresser (Sr.)
  • Trent Hosick (So.)

Mizzou likes to sign at least one quarterback per class, but barring a solid number of injuries and/or transfers (if we've learned anything in recent years, both are solid possibilities), Mizzou's set at quarterback.

Commits: Marvin Zanders (6'1, 175, ***)
Still a Possibility: none

Zanders is an athletic player with a skill set rather unique to this list of quarterbacks. He's on the "early enrollees" list, I believe, so we'll see how (and when) he fits into the mix this spring.

Running Back

2014

  • Henry Josey (Sr.)
  • Russell Hansbrough (Jr.)
  • Marcus Murphy (Sr.)
  • Morgan Steward (So.)
  • Greg White (Sr.)

2015

  • Russell Hansbrough (Sr.)
  • Morgan Steward (Jr.)

There is a possibility that Henry Josey goes pro after the Cotton Bowl. Whereas I'm assuming Kony Ealy is gone in 2014 and DGB is gone in 2015, I'm not going to do that with Josey. But it's certainly a possibility. The good news, however, is that Hansbrough and Murphy are back regardless, and Morgan Steward impressed in limited action. Mizzou's depth chart would look pretty solid with no incoming recruits, but there will be a couple of intriguing freshmen entering the mix as well.

Commits: Trevon Walters (5'10, 189, ***), Ish Witter (5'8, 190, ***)
Still a Possibility: Dalvin Warmack (5'8, 183, ***, Kansas State commit)

(Mizzou is still evidently going hard after three Blue Springs products and KSU commits: Warmack, Elijah Lee, and Kaleb Prewitt. I doubt they turn them, but I'm listing them all on the possibilities list, just in case.)

Yeah, Mizzou's loaded at running back for the foreseeable future. Did you enjoy the three-headed approach this season? Hope so. Because there's probably more of it on the way.

Wide Receiver

2014

  • Dorial Green-Beckham (Jr.), Bud Sasser (Sr.), Jimmie Hunt (Sr.)
  • Darius White (Sr.), Levi Copelin (So.), J'Mon Moore (RSFr.)
  • Wesley Leftwich (Jr.), Sheldon Gerau* (Jr.), Gavin Otte* (Jr.)

2015

  • Levi Copelin (Jr.), J'Mon Moore (So.), Wesley Leftwich (Sr.)
  • Sheldon Gerau* (Sr.), Gavin Otte* (Sr.)

L'Damian Washington, Marcus Lucas, and Jaleel Clark are gone this year, and next year's likely top four will soon be gone as well. (We're going to rightfully assume that 2014 will be DGB's last year in black and gold. Obviously wanting to play with his brother could factor into his decision, but the smart money's still on him leaving.) So there's a need for a strong restocking in the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Commits: Nate Brown (6'3, 215, ****), Lawrence Lee (5'10, 170, ***), Thomas Richard (6'1, 185, ***), Darnell Green-Beckham (6'5, 175, ***), Stepfawn Hughes (5'10, 170, ***), Tavon Ross (6'1, 196, **)
Still a Possibility: Dominique Booth (6'0, 200, ****)

According to a Rivals.com piece this week, Dominique Booth's coach thinks Booth was told Mizzou is full at receiver. The Tigers are still recruiting Booth, perhaps in case Nate Brown gets flipped by Georgia in the coming weeks, but Booth's an early enrollee as well, so he's not a fallback option for long.

Regardless, if we include "athletes" Hughes and Ross here (my guess is Hughes is definitely a receiver, and Ross is 50/50 between WR and DB), that's six receivers in this class, five if Darnell Green-Beckham ends up reclassifying as a 2015 recruit (which is apparently still in question right now thanks to the time he missed while getting cancer treatment). It's pretty clear why Mizzou thought it needed this many in this class; now we just have to see if they're any good. Brown and Lee are the most highly touted of the bunch, for what that's worth. (And with Missouri, that doesn't tend to be worth a lot.)

Tight End

2014

  • Sean Culkin (So.)
  • Jason Reese (RSFr.)
  • Clayton Echard* (Jr.)

2015

  • Sean Culkin (Jr.)
  • Jason Reese (So.)
  • Clayton Echard* (Sr.)

Mizzou seemingly used Culkin and Echard less and less as the season went on, but both will return next year, as will former three-star recruit Jason Reese. Since we don't know how tight ends will be used in the future -- what we were told in August and what we saw in the fall were pretty different -- it's hard to say how many Mizzou might need. Regardless, they have one signed up and another possibility.

Commits: Kendall Blanton (6'6, 242, **)
Still a Possibility: Frank Iheanacho (6'7, 220, ****)

Frank Iheanacho exploded this year, from relative unknown to Top 200 recruit. If I recall, A&M is perhaps the favorite with the Houston-based Iheanacho, but Mizzou's still got a chance.

Offensive Line

2014

  • Evan Boehm (Jr.), Mitch Morse (Sr.), Connor McGovern (Jr.), Anthony Gatti (Sr.), Brad McNulty (Jr.)
  • Mitch Hall (Jr.), Clay Rhodes (RSFr.), Taylor Chappell (So.), Jordan Williams (So.), Stephen Carberry* (Sr.)
  • Nick Demien (Sr.), Michael Boddie (Jr.), Alec Abeln (RSFr.)

2015

  • Evan Boehm (Sr.), Connor McGovern (Sr.), Brad McNulty (Sr.), Mitch Hall (Sr.), Clay Rhodes (So.)
  • Taylor Chappell (Jr.), Jordan Williams (Jr.), Michael Boddie (Sr.), Alec Abeln (So.)

I'm still in awe of how this unit collectively turned itself from a weakness to a strength with next to no new blood. That completely changes the outlook moving forward. That said, without any attrition (and there will almost certainly be attrition), we're still looking at only nine scholarship linemen in 2015. As with receiver, Mizzou felt the need to stock up. And stock up, they have.

Commits: Andy Bauer (6'5, 290, ****), Paul Adams (6'6, 270, ***), Zach Hudson (6'5, 280, ***), Kevin Pendleton (6'5, 310, ***), Michael Fairchild (6'6, 280, **), Sam Bailey (6'5, 250, **)
Still a Possibility: Brian Wallace (6'6, 310, ****)

Four-star CBC product Brian Wallace will evidently decide between Missouri and Alabama in a couple of weeks; he is another fast riser who has either caught or surpassed Bauer in the eye of some recruiting services. With or without Wallace, however, Mizzou is staking a lot of its future line success on this class. There's always a chance that one of the six known commitments above ends up at defensive tackle (or, hell, Sam Bailey could end up at tight end or defensive end, too), but as we see above, there will be a need for at least a couple of them to fill spots on the depth chart in 2015 ... and for a lot of them to fill important spots in 2016.

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