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Missouri’s spring depth chart forecasts major battles in the secondary

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Quite a few starting jobs are up for grabs on the Tiger defense.

DSU-Acy Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)

Missouri’s 2017 spring practices began on Tuesday, and they began ... with a depth chart!

This document won’t be worth the pixels it occupies in a couple of months, but it serves as a nice reference point for evolution and where things end up at the end of spring ball, beginning of fall, et cetera.

Let’s walk through where Mizzou is indeed starting out in 2017.

Mizzou skill positions

Some notes:

  • Jack Lowary starts out ahead of Micah Wilson in the race for backup quarterback.
  • Damarea Crockett and Ish Witter begin spring as co-starters at running back, with Nate Strong in the 3-spot and incoming freshman Isaiah Miller behind 220-pound redshirt walk-on Dawson Downing at No. 4.
  • Barry Odom reported after practice that Nate Strong had been suspended indefinitely for breaking team policy.
  • With Dimetrios Mason having a breakout freshman campaign in 2016, Nate Brown will begin his comeback on the second string behind J’Mon Moore.
  • A couple of interesting battles to note in the spring: Ray Wingo vs. Richaud Floyd and Emanuel Hall vs. Justin Smith in a couple of battles for No. 2 WR. Lots of experience and lots of potential here.
  • With Kendall Blanton out due to injury, Jason Reese is the obvious No. 1 tight end.
Mizzou offensive line
  • Kyle Mitchell, who spent most of 2016 as No. 2 left tackle has been moved inside to left guard. Meanwhile, former four-star A.J. Harris, now healthy (in theory), begins ahead of him on the second string.
  • The rare battle for a starting position: Alec Abeln vs. Sam Bailey at center.
  • Trystan Castillo is listed as a redshirt freshman. He was on the depth chart most of last year but apparently never actually played.
  • Another likely battle for a starting position: Adam Ploudre vs. Tre’Vour Simms at right guard. Simms is huge and has a high ceiling, but walk-on Ploudre was a steadying influence last year. The job won’t be given to Simms. (Also: If Bailey takes the lead at center, Abeln could enter this race, too.)
  • Newcomers Yasir Durant and Pompey Coleman start out on the second string.
  • It appears Darvis Holmes, the four-star late signee from 2016 who was a late signee has quit the team.

Defense

Mizzou defensive line
  • Another intriguing battle: Spencer Williams vs. Nate Howard at DE opposite Marcell Frazier. Four-star redshirt freshman Tre Williams could join the battle if needed, and Jordan Harold, a walk-on-turned-scholarship-guy, starts out on ... the fourth string.
  • Hello, Franklin Agbasimere! The one-time linebacker recruit brings his attacking potential to the defensive end position. We’ll see what headway he makes.
Mizzou linebacking corps
  • Two more starter battles: Eric Beisel vs. Cale Garrett and Terez Hall vs. Joey Burkett. I assumed Beisel and Garrett were nearly guaranteed to each start out on the first string, but evidently they’ll battle it out in the middle. Meanwhile, Hall starts out ahead of Burkett.
  • Two newcomers to the linebacker position: Tavon Ross and TJ Warren. Warren is most known for starting last year’s Black & Gold Game at cornerback ... and now he’s an LB. That’s mostly more of a nickel back designation for both Ross and Warren, but they’re listed as linebackers regardless.
Mizzou secondary
  • Here’s an interesting one: Christian Holmes ahead of Logan Cheadle at cornerback. One assumes that will be an ongoing battle, but Cheadle is the closest thing to an incumbent that Mizzou has here, so either he has been disappointing in offseason workouts, or Holmes has been inching toward a breakthrough. Here’s to hoping it’s the latter.
  • Two more big battles: Ronnell Perkins vs. Anthony Sherrils at one safety, and a Cam Hilton-Thomas Wilson-Kaleb Prewett battle royale at the other. Mizzou has five starter-caliber safeties, plus perhaps Warren and Ross if we’re talking about the nickel back role. Nothing has been decided, and probably nothing will be decided for a while.
Mizzou kickers
  • Tucker McCann, to no one’s surprise, will not be handed the starting place kicker role.