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2014 Missouri Walkthrough: OL newcomers have athleticism to burn

Missouri has signed both four-star prospects and two-star athletes with upside in recent classes; the offensive line is experienced enough in 2014 that these young Tigers will probably have to wait their turn.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Crawford

6'5, 285, RSFr.

Bill C.: This time last year, we heard a lot about how much of a competitor Nate Crawford was; combine that with strong athleticism, and you've got something. Of course, since he's already moved from offensive line to defensive line to offensive line again, one has to worry a bit about him being an athlete without a position. He'll have to prove those concerns wrong, and with quite a few juniors and seniors ahead of him on the offensive guard hierarchy, ti might be tough for him to prove himself this year.

The Beef: Crawford makes the move over from one side of the ball to the other, so though he has redshirted already, it is tough to imagine he will see any time on the field this coming season. It does appear the first year in the program did him well, with 20-25 additional pounds on his frame, so that may be a good sign for the future.

countrycal: I expect Nate to be one of three persons battling for the final spot on the two-deep rotation; the other two being senior walk-on Stephen Carberry and true freshman Andy Bauer. Nate comes to the Tigers with a lot of promise and has beefed up to 6’5" and 285 pounds during his redshirt year. With the final open spot likely being backup to one of the guard positions, Nate will have to work hard for playing time, but it may well happen if he can break away from the pack.

wooderson: twofer canard, ace frontward

Alec Abeln

6'3, 290, RSFr.

The Beef: With Boehm having moved to center before last season, I did wonder what this might do to Abeln’s future and time-to-field, as he came to Mizzou from SLUH as a center. With Boehm there for (very likely) two more seasons, and McNulty behind him, I do wonder what Abeln is going to do. I suppose 2016 may be the big year for him, but if that is the case, then I wonder when we will start to see him getting some time on the field to work towards taking over the line as a RSJr.

countrycal: Recruited as a center, Alec possibly gives the coaching staff the opportunity to give him some center experience relieving Boehm when called upon, using backup center Brad McNulty as a regular in the rotation at guard and tackle. That would go with the coaches’ practice of putting the best five men on the field, and McNulty appears to be the most likely sixth man in a 10-man two-deep scheme. The move would also extend the line to three-deep experience at center, an extra layer of security for that important position.

AlaTiger: It will be interesting to see if Abeln gets some center snaps in games. 2012 provided an unfortunate break in Mizzou’s long string of great centers. Does he move? Does McNulty move? Or does this all play out in 2015?

wooderson: cleanable, el balance

Andy Bauer

6'3, 300, Fr.

The Beef: The first name of the rather large recruiting class (which was necessary, in part, to make up for some attrition from Abeln’s class), and one which Mizzou fans are likely the most excited about. Recruited and offered by just about everyone, Bauer committed early to the Tigers, looked around, and eventually came back to Mizzou. He was very highly rated, which was interesting to me simply because he did not play a down his senior season (take that about the "rankings" as you see fit). There was talk in certain corners of Mizzou’s internet world that Bauer could still see some time this year, but color me VERY surprised if that were to happen. I think he needs at least a season to continue his recovery and growth and 2015 is the earliest we could see him contribute, though I would not be surprised if it was not until the following season since we may have a log-jam next year.

countrycal: Andy is one of the new recruits that intrigues me most. At 6’3" and 300 pounds, the young man was highly recruited and settled on Mizzou. I think if he has fully recovered from his high school injury, Bauer might actually contend with Nate Crawford and Stephen Carberry for the final spot in the two-deep rotation. That would be a big step in a crowded field, yet it fits Coach Pinkel’s propensity for jumping a freshman or two into action their first year if they show the ability to step in and help the team right from the start. This also helps sell top recruits in coming years, knowing that being a freshman would not automatically preclude them from playing right from the start at Mizzou.

AlaTiger: How healthy is Bauer? If he’s not fully recovered, hello redshirt. If he is healthy, can he pass some pretty solid looking players for time on the field?

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Mike Fairchild

6'4, 275, Fr.

The Beef: If there was someone who was in any position to play as a true freshman (and I don't really believe anyone is), it would be Fairchild. This young man was thought to be very raw as part of the class, but he arrived in January and evidently was quite impressive at a foundational level. It appears he has already put on 15-20 pounds from the winter, pushing him into the 280-range. He seems to have a jump on everyone else, and perhaps he will be in line to take over for Hall at RG in two seasons.

Bill C.: Missouri signed eight two-star recruits in the 2014 recruiting class; Gary Pinkel's history suggests that at least a couple of these players will turn into starter-caliber guys, and by coming in for the spring and impressing, Fairchild is positioning himself well to become one of those "Pssh, recruiting rankings don't matter" guys. Though, yeah, it probably won't happen this year.

countrycal: Mike reportedly turned some heads during spring practice after enrolling early so he could play spring ball. Nevertheless, he is still playing at 280 pounds and may need to fill out even more before stepping into action.

wooderson: chili film charade. mariachi elf child, admiral chili chef

Paul Adams

6'6, 280, Fr.

The Beef: One of the more vocal recruits we had this past season in trying to get other people interested in Mizzou, and the other half of the duo from Nashville. Adams is a big one (6’6) and certainly looks to have a year or two in the program before we start to see his name in other conversations.

countrycal: Another true freshman weighing in at 280 pounds. I would anticipate a redshirt with so many other candidates ahead of him.

wooderson: salad puma


Kevin Pendleton

6'3, 320, Fr.

The Beef: Mr. Pendleton is what I shall call him, because if you are 6’4, 330, you deserve that respect. I will be curious to see where he is at this time next season in terms of height and weight, as I can see him getting down towards 300 (or perhaps less) before he gets built back up to 315. Nonetheless, I am intrigued where Mr. Pendleton lands on the line and what his career arc will be.

countrycal: Definitely is already big enough but doesn’t sound as if he will challenge for playing time this year. Redshirt material, I believe.

wooderson: kelvin deponent, ken loved tenpin

Sam Bailey

6'4, 265, Fr.

The Beef: So you go from Pendleton at almost 330 to Bailey at 245 (per Rivals). Bailey comes from Lamar, MO, who evidently run one of the most unique and high-scoring offenses in the country, so this young man’s fitness and feet should be where you want them. Clearly he needs some time in the gym, but at 6’5, you have to assume the staff believes his frame will handle the weight gain well. An interesting one to track, as there have already been some nice words about his performance in team workouts this summer.

countrycal: I don’t dare say anything negative about this freshman lest TK make a poster about me. Have to respect what the young man accomplished in high school, and that he was a key player in a multi-year state-championship-caliber program. I would still anticipate a redshirt year to allow time to bulk up and find his place in the program.

Bill C.: We've heard a lot of good things about Bailey's athleticism so far. We'll see if/when that translates to depth chart positioning.

AlaTiger: How Bailey develops over time will be interesting to follow.

wooderson: bye salami, mealy bias