2013 Mizzou Walkthrough: Henry Josey is back

Bill Carter

Rejoice.

Henry Josey

#20 | 5'10, 190, Jr. | Angleton, TX

2010: 76 carries, 437 yards (5.8/carry), 5 TD; 4 targets, 4 catches, 19 yards (4.8/target); 1 kick return, 20.0 average

2011: 145 carries, 1,168 yards (8.1/carry), 9 TD; 13 targets, 10 catches, 91 yards (7.0/target); 6 kick returns, 24.8 average

Bill C.: We liked Danario Alexander from the start. His rawness as a true freshman didn't completely disguise his absurd athleticism, and his fantastic performance in what may have truly been Missouri's biggest win of all-time (Kansas 2007) took our appreciation of him to a new place. But when he fought through a series of knee injuries and came back for one final go-round in 2009 (after quite a bit of shaky play in 2008), our admiration of him became true fondness. We rooted for him like a little brother, knowing what he had gone through to get back onto the field; and when he not only thrived but dominated in 2009 … it was a truly special feeling. His suffering made him so very human, and his transcendent play made him super human.

One almost gets the same feeling just knowing that we will be seeing Henry Josey back on the field in a few weeks. When every other Mizzou running back went down in 2011, Josey got a chance to thrive and dominated from the running back position almost as much as Danario did from the receiver position two years earlier. We didn't know that we were going to be exposed to such greatness, and it felt incredible; and after two-thirds of a season of it, it was taken away from us, cold turkey. And during a 2012 season that was incredibly frustrating in every possible way, everything felt so much emptier knowing that Josey was still out.

We have no idea what Henry Josey is going to be capable of over his final two seasons in uniform. We have no idea if the simple brilliance that he displayed time and again in 2011 will return; at his best, Josey just seemed like he was playing a video game on Varsity level. He never seemed like he was running fast and never seems like he was making ridiculous moves; but as countrycal wrote about Roger Wehrli a couple of days ago, it just seemed like he knew how the defense was going to move before the defense did. He needed just a sliver of space to pop through it; he needed just a step of open field to get around or by a defender. He is such a smart runner and was just so damn effective. And while we might not see that Henry Josey as much in 2013, any occasional glimpse of it will give us that Danario 2009 feeling all over again.

MizzouRugby: Will the speed come back? Will the smoothness, the glide, the jitterbug quality of his running still be available to him? Lord I hope so. Even if he isn’t back to 2011 vintage, he still has the talent to be very, very productive this year.

The Beef: Eight yards a carry ... EIGHT. Look, I get that defenses in the Big XII are not likely to have been at the level the SEC defenses of 2013 will be at. However, eight yards per carry is still eight yards per carry. It is simply a medical marvel that Josey is back, reported to be just as fast, and running without pain or even brace. He could not manage to gain another yard and I would forever be impressed with what he has gone through. Icing on the cake would be coming back at a level befitting where he was when he left, earning accolades and leading us to wins all along the way.

countrycal: Is there anyone among us that does not wish for Henry to pick up where he left off that afternoon against Texas? As Rugby and Beef have already noted, this kid will remain in our memory as a True Son if he never carries the ball again. If he is practicing without a brace, then I think we can expect to see him in action early and often – and that is just awesome news for Tiger fans because none of us have forgotten what excitement he brought to the 2011 season right from the start. If he is indeed healthy, then he gets the most carries, but I don’t think Pinkel will use him as a workhorse – and I don’t think he needs to, because we have plenty of firepower lined up behind Josey. – countrycal

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