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Everywhere you look, Missouri’s got a young WR with huge potential. Who steps up?

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Dilosa? Hall? Wingo? Blair? Anyone?

Missouri v Vanderbilt Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Keyon Dilosa

6’3, 200, So.

Round Rock, TX
2015: 15 targets, 11 catches (73%), 86 yards (5.7 per target)

davidcmorrison: Last year’s Missouri offense seemed infatuated with trying to get Dilosa the ball in space on screens. That ain’t his game, man.

When Dilosa has made meaningful contributions to the offense, it’s been when he’s running option routes downfield, nestling into holes in zone coverage, taking hits and holding on. Now, he and Lock did get crossed up on some of those options last year, but Dilosa’s the kind of receiver that carves space for himself through instinct and toughness rather than any sort of eye-popping speed or strength. There is a role for a player like that on every single receiving corps in the country.

Oscar Gamble: In my head Keyon Dilosa is maybe a poor-man’s Marcus Lucas at this point. I think he’s a better blocker than many of the other receivers, and while he hasn’t flashed breakaway speed or fantastic hands, I believe he’s the most well-rounded option among returning receivers. Maybe he doesn’t start this fall, but I’ll be watching for to be in heavy rotation.

TheRonDavis: Everything I’ve read about Keyon Dilosa has been “blue-collar.” Not a flashy skill-set but can get the job done. I thought he’d be featured more as the 2015 season went on, but we didn’t see much of him.

Out of the returning redshirt sophomores, I’m predicting he has the best year out of all of them.

Bill C.: The Lucas comparison seems apt to me. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s got good size, and he’s more than fast enough to do damage with strong routes.

There’s some innate hope in this comparison, by the way — Lucas caught just three balls during his freshman season, then improved to 23, 46, and 58. I, too, thought Dilosa would find more of a role as the season progressed, but he’s still got time.

Keyon Dilosa Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)

Emanuel Hall

6’3, 200, So.

Franklin, TN
2015: 17 targets, 8 catches (47%), 64 yards (3.8 per target)

davidcmorrison: Hall had the most upward mobility of any receiver — really, any offensive player — over the course of last season. If you’re looking for bright spots in a historically bad offense, then, hey, that’s one.

The receiver room is no less crowded and no more settled going into this season, so Hall should get every opportunity to build upon that upward trajectory. Speaking of upward trajectory, he was a top-level high jumper in high school. Coaches like those sorts of non-football athletic transferrables.

Oscar Gamble: Emanuel Hall is my pick for the third starting receiver this fall. He’s got the build and athleticism to handle the “X” receiver position and earned the coach’s trust by developing some rapport with Drew Lock late last year. I’ll be looking to see how he performs during fall camp to see how big a role he will have this fall.

TheRonDavis: Emanuel Hall certainly has the potential to start week one. He’s got a bigger body, he showed flashes last year, and last year’s starters haven’t solidified their jobs yet. I think Hall can be a physical receiver who makes tough catches and can block.

Bill C.: No one’s stats were more divergent from the eyeball test than Hall’s. Perhaps partly out of desperation, most Mizzou fans and writers saw Hall and thought “That guy! He has potential!” But for the season, he caught eight of 17 passes at eight yards per catch.

I saw what everybody else saw, though. Like J’Mon Moore, his good plays looked smooth and effortless, which always gives you the impression that he could make a lot more of them. I would love nothing more than for him to emerge from fall camp as a starter -- if nothing else, it means that one of these guys will have stepped up in a major way -- but I’ll restrain myself from predicting it for now.

Emanuel Hall Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)

Ray Wingo

5’11, 180, So.

St. Louis, MO
2015: 8 targets, 4 catches (50%), 24 yards (3.0 per target); 2 carries, 4 yards

davidcmorrison: Wingo has sort of just never happened at Missouri. The jet sweeps have never turned into breakaway touchdown runs. The deep routes have never connected. The option route recognition in general has been...wanting...

With all sorts of guys his age and younger around him, at what point does it turn from “Wingo is just waiting to break out” into “Wingo just never seemed to break out, did he?” No, I am not writing off a lightning-quick redshirt sophomore with elusiveness. Just saying we’ve seen approximately no evidence of it in game situations yet.

I’ve been a “Wingo 4 Returner” hype man as well. But if he didn’t even get a look last year, when Missouri had among the worst return units in the nation, will it ever?

Oscar Gamble: Ray Wingo is a deep threat if he and Drew Lock can get on the same page, but I’ve yet to determine if he is more than that. He looks athletic enough to handle a couple different roles, but he’ll need to work to separate himself from defenders as well as his fellow receivers if he wants to contribute in 2016. I think his role and contributions remain at their 2015 levels.

TheRonDavis: Ray Wingo was a do-it-all player in high school, and I think his development would have been smoother had he come in a receiver, not a corner. He’s got speed to burn, and he’ll be a candidate to be on the return team. But he has a real shot to establish himself as the deep threat guy. There’s abundance of speed in the SEC, but Wingo will have a couple instance where he’ll run by a few guys. He needs to capitalize on that in 2016.

Sam Snelling: I hate to say “what David C Morrison said,” but he hits the nail on the head. Wings is a guy who’s reputation for being playmaker has superseded his ability to make plays. Not all of that has been his fault, but at some point you’d like to see him play the role of big time playmaker and turn nothing into something. I think he’ll get his chances this year, and more realistic opportunity than a year ago.

Bill C.: I do think his development was hampered by changing positions last year. I mean, it’s hard to blame that on anyone -- Mizzou had quite a few cornerbacks last spring and was desperate for receivers -- but it happened, and he never really looked comfortable. But he’s just a sophomore, and he’s now been a receiver for more than a year. He’s got time.

Ray Wingo Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

DeSean Blair

6’3, 190, So.

Jacksonville, FL
2015: 5 targets, 2 catches (40%), 25 yards (5.0 per target)

Oscar Gamble: I may be the only person high on DeSean Blair, and it probably comes from having witness numerous highlight worthy catches last year. But unfortunately they all came during early practices.

To me, Blair is a L’Damian Washington clone in the sense that he’s tall and incredibly lanky with good deep speed and wingspan. He can take the top off a defense, but he’s not built to block for bubble screens every down, and the coaching staff would be wise to use him in a better role.

davidcmorrison: At this point last year, Blair was pushing J’Mon Moore for starter reps. But Moore edged him out to begin the season, and the car wreck seriously derailed Blair’s chances of making any ground back up.

I agree with Oscar that Blair might have the most bust-out potential on the roster, just because you can’t teach loping strides that eat up, like, four yards at a time and the type of circus catches we’ve seen from him in practice.

He’s just been a bit fragile during his time at Missouri, as slight-framed receivers such as himself tend to be. If you’ll allow me to invoke the CATCHPHRASE OF ETERNAL OPTIMISM, though, if Blair can stay healthy, he can be a nice complementary piece this season, with an eye toward something more substantial in coming years.

TheRonDavis: Blair was highly rated out of high school, and I figured by now he’s in a position to really contribute. This is his year.

He suffered a concussion during the car crash the day before the UConn game, and I think that slowed him down the rest of the year. He played quite a bit during the first two weeks, so I’m curious to see where he falls on the depth chart against West Virginia. He’s got a great frame and a good set of hands, we’ll just see if it all comes together this fall.

Sam Snelling: How much of the disappointment of last year enters into the expectations of guys who you thought could play a big role? If Missouri has an average offense, he’s a guy who could provide 15-20 catches a year and showcase his talent with a few big plays. At this point you just hope he can play that role this season.

Bill C.: I mean...

Watch Desean Blair go up and make this great catch between safety Thomas Wilson and the corner.

A video posted by DLINEZOU (@dlinezou) on

...the potential’s there. Wow, is it there.

Eric Laurent

6’2, 215, Sr.

Ballwin, MO
2015: 1 target, 1 catch, 4 yards

davidcmorrison: Smart guy. Nice guy. Guy who doesn’t have to worry about paying for school anymore. Guy who Michael Scherer basically gave a fife-and-snare-drum-accompanied-rootin-tootin campaign speech for during an interview in the spring because he thinks so highly of him. Guy who could be a secret weapon holding for field goals. He was a quarterback in high school, after all...

Oscar Gamble: Eric Laurent is a great human being first and foremost, and I’m not just saying that to flesh out his section here. The redshirt senior earned a scholarship for his final year and absolutely deserves it for all the work he puts in on and off the field. He’s a model student athlete and he could be a fine possession receiver if pressed into service this fall. I just think there are other players with a higher upside.

TheRonDavis: Congrats to Eric Laurent for earning a scholarship. It’s incredibly difficult to come in as a walk-on and get a scholarship by the end of your time at school. Based on the number of bodies the Tigers have at wide receiver, I can’t see a way where Laurent finds much playing time in 2016.