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New redshirt rules means a true freshman bonanza for Missouri

Tigers used 11 true freshmen, who took up 11.5 percent of the team’s snaps in the season opener

NCAA Football: Tennessee-Martin at Missouri
Jalen Knox was one of 11 true freshmen to play offensive or defensive snaps for Missouri on Saturday.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

f you’ve been paying fairly close attention to college football (and, I mean, the Venn diagram of “college football fans” and “RockMNation readers” should be pretty much just one circle, you know?), you probably already know that the redshirt rules have changed.

Gone are the days of redshirts being “burned” in season openers. Now, players can see action in up to four games in a season and still preserve their year of eligibility.

How did we see this rule change play out in Missouri’s 51-14 season-opening win over UT-Martin? Well, let us count the ways:

Tyler Badie
Jalen Knox
Kam Scott
Khmari Thompson
Daniel Parker
Xavier Delgado
Mike Ruth
Jatorian Hansford
Trajan Jeffcoat
Nick Bolton
Jarvis Ware

Yes, 11 true freshmen have already seen the field this year for the Tigers, combining for 176 snaps – or 11.5 percent of the team’s total – against the Skyhawks. Offensive players saw 130 snaps (14.8 percent of the offensive total) and defensive players saw 46 (7.09 percent of the defensive total).

And, while the plan may very well be to burn all 11 players’ redshirts this season, remember that – at this point – Barry Odom and company can still pull all of them back and preserve.

That 11.5 percent figure – the proportion of total snaps in the opener taken by true freshman – is up 18 percent from last year’s mark of 9.76 percent, which was the Tigers’ highwater mark of the years I’ve been keeping snap data (since 2013).

The proportion of snaps taken up by freshmen in the opener, in fact, has been on a steady upward trajectory over the past six years: 1.18 percent (2013), 1.76 (2014), 6.84 (2015), 9.76 (2017) and 11.5 (2018).

Pinkel teams saw freshmen take up 3.11 percent over his final three years. Odom has unleashed freshmen on 9.79 percent of snaps in his three openers.

(A note here: I used data from the Eastern Michigan game in 2016, since the actual opener that year – West Virginia – isn’t indicative of the rest of the population. What with its competitiveness and not letting backups see the field at the end.)

Let’s go on a brief tour of the recent past with which true freshmen have seen the field in Missouri openers, for how long and what that ended up meaning for the rest of their first years on campus.

2017 (7 players)
CB Adam Sparks
Opener snaps: 26
Rest of season snaps/game: 54.4 (598 over 11 games)

RB Larry Rountree
Opener snaps: 17
Rest of season snaps/game: 22.5 (247 over 11 games)

DT Kobie Whiteside
Opener snaps: 31
Rest of season snaps/game: 20.4 (245 over 12 games)

DE Chris Turner
Opener snaps: 17
Rest of season snaps/game: 19.9 (239 over 12 games)

S Joshuah Bledsoe
Opener snaps: 3
Rest of season snaps/game: 10.2 (112 over 11 games)

S Jordan Ulmer
Opener snaps: 60
Rest of season snaps/game: 7.3 (22 over 3 games)

LB Jamal Brooks
Opener snaps: 6
Rest of season snaps/game: 6.5 (13 over 2 games)

2016* (6 - remember this is Eastern Michigan, not West Virginia)
WR Dimetrios Mason
Opener snaps: 40
Rest of season snaps/game: 46.6 (513 over 11 games)

RB Damarea Crockett
Opener snaps: 31
Rest of season snaps/game: 30.8 (308 over 10 games)

LB Cale Garrett
Opener snaps: 31
Rest of season snaps/game: 29.4 (323 over 11 games)

CB DeMarkus Acy
Opener snaps: 21
Rest of season snaps/game: 14.5 (116 over 8 games)

G Tre’Vour Simms
Opener snaps: 27
Rest of season snaps/game: 9.6 (86 over 9 games)

CB Christian Holmes
Opener snaps: 5
Rest of season snaps/game: 8.0 (8 over 1 game)

2015 (7)
QB Drew Lock
Opener snaps: 15
Rest of season snaps/game: 47.5 (522 over 11 games)

DT Terry Beckner
Opener snaps: 22
Rest of season snaps/game: 32.1 (289 over 9 games)

S/WR Cam Hilton
Opener snaps: 3
Rest of season snaps/game: 14.0 (112 over 8 games)

WR Emanuel Hall
Opener snaps: 23
Rest of season snaps/game: 13.1 (131 over 10 games)

DE Nate Howard
Opener snaps: 20
Rest of season snaps/game: 9.3 (84 over 9 games)

DT Josh Moore
Opener snaps: 11
Rest of season snaps/game: 9.0 (99 over 11 games)

LB Terez Hall
Opener snaps: 3
Rest of season snaps/game: 0.0

2014 (5)
WR Lawrence Lee
Opener snaps: 10
Rest of season snaps/game: 11.1 (78 over 7 games)

S Thomas Wilson
Opener snaps: 4
Rest of season snaps/game: 10.6 (95 over 9 games)

WR Nate Brown
Opener snaps: 3
Rest of season snaps/game: 10.2 (102 over 10 games)

CB Logan Cheadle
Opener snaps: 3
Rest of season snaps/game: 5.0 (10 over 2 games)

RB Ish Witter
Opener snaps: 4
Rest of season snaps/game: 4.3 (47 over 11 games)

2013 (2)
CB Aarion Penton
Opener snaps: 8
Rest of season snaps/game: 25.7 (334 over 13 games)

DT Josh Augusta
Opener snaps: 13
Rest of season snaps/game: 10.5 (136 over 13 games)

Work is below, if you want to see it.