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A mature, ready J'Mon Moore could make an enormous difference for Missouri

J'Mon Moore (6'3, 190, So.)

2014: 6 targets, 2 catches, 33 yards (5.5)

Fullback U: We've been hearing about J'Mon Moore's potential for a while now and he's obviously physically gifted. The question has been maturity and focus. As fall camp opened, we learned he lost his starting spot at the X-receiver position due to an incident with a strength and conditioning coach (obviously not Justin Smith). He seemed to accept his demotion and has shown maturity in post-practice interviews when asked about it. It probably isn't helping his case that the guy ahead of him, DeSean Blair, has blossomed through the first week of practice, but he's continued to work hard, and as far as I'm aware, hasn't let it affect his on-field performance.

The Beef: Another one of six WR’s who Bill (at least) has at 6’3, and another in the line of Nate Brown, where it sure would be nice for J’Mon to go from two catches to 30-40 or more. His frame is a little slighter than Brown's, so perhaps it means he will be the outside guy and Brown will be sent more into the fray, but all of that remains to be seen.

I think the race at WR is going to be as fluid as any we have seen in a long time at any position for the Tigers, and Moore at this point is not much more than another guy who you hope and pray figures it out quickly.

jaeger: There’s good height in this receiver corps, which is a good thing for a gunslinger like Maty Mauk. Moore needs to do some damage this year, though.

Jack Peglow: Step on up, contestant number one! You’ve been given a chance to compete for a very special prize: a starting job as an outside receiver in the Missouri Tiger offense!

So far this Spring/Summer/Fall camp, the competition for the second outside position seems to be neck and neck between Moore and DeSean Blair. Blair's acrobatic catches have garnered him more national attention during camp -- and both players will see their fair share of snaps this season -- but I think Moore will end up nailing down the starting role.

To take this prediction even further, I’ll go on record making J’Mon my obscenely early pick to become Mizzou’s breakout offensive player. Here’s hoping he either proves me right and gives me the opportunity to gloat at the end of the season, or you all forget about this and I sweep it under the rug when someone else balls out.

Bill C.: We've heard the word "maturity" associated with Moore a lot in the last two years. That's disconcerting, but at the same time, he's still here. He hasn't quit, he hasn't been kicked off, and he's still plugging away. Whether he beats out Blair for a starting job or not, he'll obviously get opportunities. And a couple of nice catches against Georgia -- a game in which he was, almost by default, the best offensive player on the field -- were encouraging. But every time it looked like he was in position to earn more playing time ... he didn't. He got open deep on a beautiful seam route (I think it was a seam route, anyway) against Toledo but dropped it, then moped back to the sideline. He caught two passes against Georgia, then caught zero the rest of the year.

He was also young. He's a redshirt sophomore, so he's, what, 20? 21? Maturity sometimes takes a while, and if everything clicks for J'Mon, he's clearly got all sorts of athletic potential.

From April:

So what did we learn about Mizzou receivers this spring? Not much. First, they were frequently unable to do damage against what should be a pretty awesome set of Missouri cornerbacks. But that's no grand indictment. Beyond that, we learned that J'Mon Moore could be one of Mizzou's key players for 2015. [...]

If Moore continues to mature, he could be quite solid. He strikes me as a slightly skinnier, slightly more athletic Bud Sasser, and he's shown he can make some pretty tough catches, both in the spring game and in last year's Georgia game. But he's going to be asked to produce big numbers as a sophomore, and Sasser was able to ease into his responsibilities at a slower pace.

Brown's return will help, but Moore will be one of those make-or-break players for Mizzou's season. If you look at only proven quantities for the Tigers -- Russell Hansbrough, Evan Boehm & Connor McGovern, Harold Brantley, the linebackers and cornerbacks, Ian Simon -- you see a team that should be pretty solid even if none of the younger guys step up to any major degree. But if specific sophomores like Moore, Marcus Loud, and Anthony Sherrils begin to thrive with the new levels of responsibility they've been given, this team goes from "solid" to "legitimate contender for a third straight East crown."

No pressure, guys.