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Missouri’s WR newcomers are exciting and as unproven as everyone else

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If they have their act together, any of Missouri’s newbies -- Johnathon Johnson, Justin Smith, Richaud Floyd, Dominic Collins, Dimetrios Mason -- could see the field quickly, but they’ll have to distinguish themselves in a crowded field.

Richaud Floyd

5’11, 185, RSFr.

Gulfport, MS

Oscar Gamble: Richaud Floyd is low-key my pick for a future slot machine. I think he possesses the work ethic and talent to contribute this year, though it’ll have to come in limited reps behind Chris Black, who will probably start in the slot. And he’ll have to fend off fan-favorite waterbug Johnathan Johnson. Floyd offers a great set of hands and can be explosive in a phone booth.

davidcmorrison: No such thing as phone booths anymore tho. #MakeNewCliches

Seriously, though, Floyd got a lot of positive pub from teammates and coaches during and coming out of the spring, so he might be one of those guys that forces himself into the weekly gameplan even if there isn’t really a spot for him right now.

TheRonDavis: I almost forgot about Floyd until he had a really good spring game. It sounds as if he’s taken the next step, and I’m excited to see what he brings to the table. He can offer a little versatility as well, as he played quarterback in high school. Perhaps Bud-Sasser-to-L’Damian-Washington-at-Georgia-in-2013 versatility?

Sam Snelling: How many receivers are there? I feel like this is the category that never ends.

Honestly, I always liked Floyd from his tape in high school. He’s a great athlete, he’s primed for a position of need in the slot, Floyd is a guy who could force the coaches hand in giving him more snaps than you’d expect.

Bill C.: Floyd’s lovely spring reminded us of the importance of quantity. Mizzou has four athletic, interesting sophomores and three redshirt freshmen who have all drawn attention in practice. If you have only a couple of high-ceiling guys, you have to pretty much hope that both of them reach their ceiling, neither gets hurt, etc. But when you’ve got seven, you’ve got margin for error.

All of us were crazy-high on Johnathon Johnson last August before he got hurt; now, if he doesn’t work out, Mizzou isn’t doomed. Floyd could thrive even more.

Justin Smith

6’7, 200, RSFr.

Dublin, GA

Oscar Gamble: Justin Smith is another fan-favorite due to his incredible size. I’d love for Missouri to be able to line him up and play him like Danario Alexander. He’s deceptively fast and offers the ideal red zone threat, but I’ve heard several concerns about his route-running and catching. I think he can earn snaps on the outside if he improves in those two areas and remains focused.

TheRonDavis: Justin Smith has the potential to give defensive coordinators nightmares. At 6’7, he can be almost unguardable in the red zone. The rest of his body still needs to catch up with his height, so I think we’re still going to have to wait a year or two to see his full potential. But he’s going to be on the field this year.

davidcmorrison: Big dude. Big dude whose first sport was basketball, so he’s maybe got a little bounce in those legs of his.

Can you imagine he and Kendall Blanton split wide in goal-line specialty sets? All the 5-10 cornerbacks in the SEC just did, and nearly messed themselves.

Judging from interviews in spring ball, he’s also pretty far advanced in his media disdain game as well. Which bodes well for him.

Sam Snelling: Smith is a guy who has shown a knack for making plays in the spring game and scrimmages, enough so it makes you think he could be the guy who makes the jump into little seen-little noticed player to contributor as a RSFr. I wouldn’t expect Danario Alexander-type numbers, but he could provide some impact in his first chances. He’s got the size you want, and seems to hang onto the ball when it’s headed his way, i’d say that’s a step in the right direction.

Bill C.: Danario Alexander had 15 catches for 251 yards as a freshman in 2006. Never mind his absurd 2009 numbers -- I’d be happy with those Danario numbers out of the gates.

Johnathon Johnson

5’10, 175, RSFr.

Memphis, TN

davidcmorrison: Now this is a guy who knows that to do with a bubble screen. If Johnson had been healthy last year, Missouri would’ve gone 15-0 and won the natty.

Nah, not really. But maybe 6-6 and got to a bowl? The offense was so starved for electricity that even one intermittently high-wattage freshman could’ve made up at least a win. Chris Black’s got a pretty good hold on the starting slot spot, but that doesn’t mean Johnson’s going to be a benchwarmer. If that ankle holds out, he can definitely be valuable spelling Black or subbing in for the Tigers’ four- and five-wide sets.

Oscar Gamble: Johnathan Johnson’s freshman debut was cut short by an ankle injury during a fall scrimmage. I suspect we’ll see or hear about some spectacular plays during fall camp that’ll remind of us his potential.

Johnson is primed to be a slot receiver and return specialist, and frankly Missouri could have used him at either spot last year. This year he’ll come in with equally high expectations. I think if he can remain healthy, he could start as a punt returner and occasional third receiver.

TheRonDavis: If Johnathon Johnson had not gotten hurt in fall camp last season, he’d of made some plays during the abysmal droughts the offense went through. He’s an electric playmaker when the ball is in his hands, a true game-breaker. If he’s fully healthy, he’ll be on the field a lot.

Dominic Collins

6’2, 175, Jr.

Fullerton, CA

Oscar Gamble: We’ve heard good things about Dom Collins, and he appears to have the measurables consistent with a starting caliber receiver but other than his highlight film I know very little about him. He can certainly come in and challenge for snaps and raise the level of competition among the receiving corps and give the coaches an option if others aren’t performing up to par.

TheRonDavis: Experience at the receiver spot is a good thing, right? If 175 is his correct weight, then that could be a factor in how much he plays. But at the very least, you get a guy who’s been around and can teach some things to the younger guys.

Best case scenario is you get a hungry JUCO-player who busts his tail and has enough experience to be a contributor on this team.

davidcmorrison: Collins caught a whole bunch of passes in a pass-heavy offense. Missouri, in the past, has not recruited JUCO players to sit, so you’d think the coaching staff’s plan would be for him to play right away. And, yeah, you could say guys like Black, Brown and Moore may have a better chance at starting than others but what, really, have any of them done to etch those spots in stone?

Dimetrios Mason

6’0, 170, Fr.

Loganville, GA

Oscar Gamble: “Dime” Mason, as I’ll probably end up calling him even though his teammates call him “K9,” has been earning rave reviews from coaches and teammates for his speed, some reporting legit 4.3 times. Mason is another freshman who could force his way onto the field because of his kick returning ability so watch for that during camp.

TheRonDavis: Mizzou’s special teams issues might be turning the corner. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Mason. He’s a guy who’ll be really hard to catch up to once he’s in a full sprint. He posted a 40 time of 4.25 on his HUDL, and his Tiger teammates are confirming he’s that fast. If his hands are somewhat consistent, he’ll find himself lining up at receiver at some point.

davidcmorrison: Second that emotion on him possibly being a boon for special teams right away. He straight torched dudes on kick returns in his high school film.

Would that be enough to burn a redshirt if he can’t play his way into the offensive rotation, though? Mason is so promising, yet raw, that patience now could yield greater rewards down the road.