With this week's roster update, we passed one more mile marker on the way to the season, which begins in just 71 days. Since we were talking about newcomers (and since we have a much clearer idea of which newcomers are making it to campus), I thought it would be a good time to then rank those newcomers.
Based on a combination of need and perceived quality, here is my list of Missouri's 11 most important 2016 newcomers.
2016 Must Reads
Who has solidified a starting job on offense?
Did Ish Witter solidify his starting spot? And uh, what happens if Nate Crawford can't go in the fall?
- RB Alex Ross. Ross fills two needs at once. He is a dynamic return man, which Mizzou desperately needs, and he brings to the table a level of both size and explosiveness that a lot of people hoped Chase Abbington would. In his OU career, he wasn't as efficient as you would expect a 220-pound running back to be, but he is far more of a known entity than anyone else in the RB corps. And as mentioned previously, I think he'll make a great complement for Ish Witter, who could become a great third-down back but isn't built like a feature back.
- WR Chris Black. Drew Lock had no efficiency options at his disposal last year. Or, at least, no good ones. If Black can simply come in and serve as a decent slot receiver -- 60-70% catch rate, 9-11 yards per catch -- then he will have value, and he will take the pressure off of the outside receivers.
- K Tucker McCann. Aside from a couple of slumps, Andrew Baggett was a wonderful, reliable place-kicker, someone Mizzou fans probably took for granted. McCann has an outright cannon of a leg, but you never know how someone is going to handle full-time place-kicking duties until you see it. If McCann is as good as advertised, Mizzou's kicking unit is set for years. The Tigers already get three more years of Corey Fatony. But if he misses that first field goal attempt ... gulp ...
- OL Tyler Howell
- OL Kyle Mitchell. Mitchell's not on campus yet, but Howell was in for spring. And for the simple fact that they aren't freshmen or sophomores, they immediately become two of the Tigers' more seasoned linemen. Barry Odom and his staff are doing an impressive job of continuing to scrounge around for talent to help in 2016, and there are more options now than there were three months ago, but Howell and Mitchell might have the chance to make the first impact.
- OL Tre'Vour Simms
- OL Trystan Castillo
- OL Darvis Holmes. Consider this a three-way tie for fifth. At least one of these guys is going to be on the Week 1 two-deep. There's at least a slight chance that all three are.
- RB Damarea Crockett. I never want to rely on a freshman running back to come in and thrive immediately, and thanks to Alex Ross, the pressure is off of Crockett a bit. But he was still one of Missouri's more well-touted signees in the 2016 class, and he'll still have an opportunity to make a difference early.
- WR Dominic Collins. The JUCO transfer becomes one of the speedier non-freshman options in the receiving corps.
- TE Brendan Scales. He could immediately become the go-to H-Back by being basically the only true H-Back on the roster.
- S Greg Taylor. I really like Taylor, but I also really like the options Missouri already has at safety, so maybe opportunity doesn't present itself immediately.
Now it's your turn. Where did I go wrong here?