With Missouri releasing its first official depth chart of the regular season Tuesday, Rock M Nation breaks down how the Tigers’ lineup is shaping up heading into the first game against Wyoming on Saturday.
Starter: Kelly Bryant
Primary backup: Taylor Powell
There was never any doubt that Kelly Bryant would be the starting quarterback since he signed with Missouri back in December. With not much else in terms of experience at the position on the Tigers’ roster, Bryant has been the clear starter since before spring practice.
Bryant has proven to be a solid quarterback when given the opportunity, but the only real opportunity he had as a starter was back in 2017 at Clemson, a season sandwiched between him backing up Deshaun Watson for two years and him being benched in favor of Trevor Lawrence.
In his lone season as a starter, though, Bryant proved capable of leading a high-powered offense when he recorded season totals of 2,802 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns along with 665 rushing yards and 11 rushing TDs for the College Football Playoff qualifier.
He hasn’t been able to replicate those numbers, but then again, he was never given the chance to at Clemson. Bryant now has that chance with Missouri, and if he can put up similar numbers to 2017, the Tigers’ offense should be in good hands for the year.
Meanwhile, Taylor Powell is listed as QB2 on the depth chart. Both head coach Barry Odom and offensive coordinator Derek Dooley have expressed confidence in him as the primary backup all summer, and with Shawn Robinson now out of the picture this season, his spot over Linsdey Scott Jr. and Connor Bazelak is secured.
Starter: Larry Rountree III
Primary backup: Tyler Badie
After using a three-man running back unit in 2018, Missouri is down to just two, but the leader of this year’s unit is the same player who’d already taken up that mantle by the end of last season: Larry Rountree III.
Rountree is a power back capable of putting up yards in a hurry, and his 1,216 rushing yards (which led Missouri and ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference) and 11 touchdowns showed he’s more than capable of being this team’s No. 1.
Others around the SEC have taken notice as well, considering Rountree was voted to the preseason All-SEC third team. He’s already reached 1,919 yards on his career, and one more big season from the junior will provide a huge boost in his draft stock should he look to make the jump in 2020.
Behind him, Tyler Badie already proved he can be a force in this league by putting up 809 all-purpose yards last year. He’s a different breed of halfback than Rountree, but his quickness and shiftiness complement Rountree’s power game well and also make him a dangerous pass-catcher out of the backfield.
Starters: Jonathan Nance, Johnathon Johnson, Jalen Knox -or- Kam Scott
Primary backups: Maurice Massey, Dominic Gicinto -or- Barrett Banister
Jonathan Nance is the second graduate transfer (behind Bryant) to make the depth chart as a starter, and he’ll look to be one of a Bryant’s top options out wide.
Nance already has experience in the daunting SEC after transferring from Arkansas, where he recorded team-highs in receiving yards (539), touchdowns (five) and receptions (37). He only caught one pass last season before taking a redshirt, but he was a primary target for Bryant throughout camp and should still be come Saturday.
Of the receivers who proved to be productive freshmen last year, Jalen Knox was the standout. His 419 yards on 27 receptions led Missouri’s freshmen, and he turned an impressive spring and fall camp into the other starting wideout job.
Johnathon Johnson is the longest-tenured of the Tigers, and he’s locked down the starting spot in what’s shaping up to be a deep group of slot receivers. His 737 receiving yards last season put him in 10th place in Missouri history — just 883 yards from No. 1. While he probably won’t reach that mark, Johnson will still be a key component in the Tigers’ attack.
Kam Scott and Dominic Gicinto, even as backups, should be major contributors this season as well. Scott showed explosion reminiscent of Emanuel Hall in 2018, putting up 214 yards on just eight receptions. Even though Knox will still likely start Week 1, that “or” distinction on the depth chart shows Scott has earned a big role. Gicinto also added two touchdowns last season with 171 yards, and another offseason looks to have him ready for an increased role this year.
The big surprise is true freshman Maurice Massey. At 6-3, he’s got good size for the outside and could be this year’s version of Jalen Knox.
Starter: Albert Okwuegbunam
Primary backup: Daniel Parker, Jr.
Like Bryant, there’s no surprise here. Albert Okwuegbunam is the starting tight end.
He might’ve missed a chunk of fall camp to tend to nagging injuries, but Okwuegbunam is a preseason All-American for a reason. He’s arguably Missouri’s most valuable offensive player, and he gives the Tigers a dangerous receiving threat.
He hauled in six touchdowns and yards on 43 receptions before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Florida, but a healthy Okwuegbunam should more than build on his impressive first three quarters of last season.
Daniel Parker played admirably in Okwuegbunam’s place after having never played tight end prior to 2018, but his role was mostly as a blocker. With a year of experience at the position under his belt, Parker could pick up a bigger role in the passing game this time around.
Starters: Yasir Durant (LT), Larry Borom (LG), Trystan Colon-Castillo (C), Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms (RG), Hyrin White (RT)
Primary backups: Javon Foster, Xavier Delgado, Case Cook, Thalen Robinson, Bobby Lawrence
Missouri might’ve lost its two most experienced offensive linemen, but it brought back arguably its three best: Yasir Durant, Trystan Colon-Castillo and Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms. These three players are as imposing as you’ll find on the Tigers’ roster, with Colon-Castillo the “smallest” of the trio at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds.
Durant was voted to the preseason All-SEC third team while Wallace-Simms earned All-SEC honors last season after playing over 1,000 snaps without allowing a sack or committing a penalty, making them the stars of the bunch. Colon-Castillo is no slouch, though, and his 26 straight games as a starter gives him enough experience to anchor the unit in the middle.
Larry Borom and Hyrin White don’t bring the experience that former starters Kevin Pendleton and Paul Adams did, but even as sophomores, Odom and O-Line coach Brad Davis have expressed confidence in them taking over.
With Jonah Dubinski now medically retired, Case Cook is the top lineman of the second-stringers. He’s has the versatility to play around the line, but he has to avoid the penalties that plagued him at points last season.
Thalen Robinson also surprises as the only true freshman on the line to crack the two-deep, beating out Mike Ruth for the backup spot at right guard.