Morgan Steward (6'0, 210, Jr.)
2013: 21 carries, 84 yards (4.0), 1 TD
Jack Peglow: Steward showed a lot of promise prior to the 2014 season, but wasn’t able to make the impact I thought he would thanks to injury issues. Both Pinkel and Mauk claimed that Morgan was nearing full health during their SEC Media Days appearances, which means we may finally see him take the field.
If he does so – and if he’s anything like the running back we saw toting the rock during the 2014 spring game – he immediately becomes one of the better options when Russell Hansbrough needs a spell. Steward is a quick runner with good vision, but his biggest asset is his ability to break tackles. Rarely, if ever (cut me some slack, this was two spring games ago), did I see him go down after first contact. Yes, this is a glorified scrimmage I’m talking about, but that sort of talent tends to translate to any level of competition.
Hopefully Steward can stay healthy enough to warrant consideration as Mizzou’s number two in the backfield; not just for the success of the team, but also for Morgan personally. Injuries stole 2014 from him, he’s due for some success in 2015.
The Beef: I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear that Morgan Steward was around 90 percent through June and into July as the fall camp approached. Last year’s injury was so strange in how it both manifested and then endured through the entire season and most of the off-season, stealing quite a bit of opportunity from Steward.
Would he have played last year if he was healthy? I think he probably would have, perhaps keeping the redshirt on Ish Witter in the process. Do I think he can pass Witter back this fall in camp? I doubt it, just because it will have been a year since he would be taking full-speed (such as they are) practice reps. Do I think Steward has a shot to continue to improve through August and even into September and perhaps start to make an impact as we get into the meat of the SEC schedule? I do think that path has some promise, and I certainly will be cheering hard for him should he see the field again.
Kacc56: There's nothing more frustrating than a player with a great combo of size and speed being limited by injuries. If Steward does get healthy for the season, I'd expect him to make good on the promise he's shown during practices. He's said to have better straight line speed than Hansbrough and a violent running style, which is something we can all get behind.
jaeger: I’m more intrigued by Steward than anyone else on the roster. He looked like the best player on the field in the 2014 Spring Game. If he’s fully healthy, he could be a guy we’ve never had under Pinkel: a big, prototypical bruiser RB that’s can outrun guys as well as bulldozing them. One of the things I’ve been struck by a couple times in the SEC is that, while our RBs have been great and plenty productive, we haven’t had the kind of RBs that the class of the league does. The game was miserable for me as a Mizzou fan, but watching Eddie Lacy shred our defense in 2012 was just damn impressive. I hope Steward can be that kind of tailback for us.
Fullback U: One comparison for Morgan Steward is Henry Josey because of the nearly career-ending injuries they both suffered. The difference, I think, is while Josey was a smaller, faster back, I believe Steward has more power and burst. He can catch the ball and make plays in open space and has a feel for setting up blocks that not every running back possess. We saw some of him 2 years ago and we’re slowly learning through fall camp how close he is to reaching his full potential.
If healthy, Steward can provide Mizzou with excellent RB depth as well as a different style than those ahead of him on the depth chart. When asked, Steward described himself as nearly 100 percent "back," and Gary Pinkel has spoken very highly of his talents. Now we’re all waiting on how he handles his first scrimmage and true contact.
Bill C.: Anything Mizzou gets from Morgan Steward moving forward is a bonus. We were slowly led to believe that things might never come around for him after a super-awkward hip injury, and then suddenly he began to put the injury behind him and progress.this summer. Maybe he doesn't become a serious contributor until 2016, but he really is a potentially awesome story, and while we don't know for sure what Chase Abbington brings to the table, Steward might have a nice chance to carve out a niche simply because he really is different than the other known backs on the roster.