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Numberless rookies hoping to make a name for themselves on the field

Mizzou Links for Wednesday, July 22

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They may not have numbers, but we know them.

Mizzou fans know their names. They may not have numbers yet, but you’d better believe we know their names. Especially in these last few months when there not much sports-wise going on, we are thirsty for information on Drink’s newcomers (see what I did there?). So you will recognize names like Hazelton, Rakestraw, Maclin, Hester, Luper, Key ..... You’ll also notice some of the names listed, among the “numberless” aren’t freshmen. That’s because all newbies, no matter the year, are going to have earn their numbers.

From Coach Drinkwitz, in March:

Nothing’s given, everything’s earned and they haven’t heard that number yet. They’ll earn a number when their position coach and position group determines that they’ve done enough, whether it’s through effort and pride or making plays that they deserve a number. But they don’t have a number yet. Nobody new has earned that right yet.

Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writing the fourth in his series leading up to what we HOPE will be the start of the pre-season workouts on August 7, talked about the newcomers and who we could see making some waves to earn coveted spots... and numbers on their jerseys.

Let’s check out the highlights, shall we?

According to Matter, the Tigers have a scholarship newcomer at every position but tight end, and have 6 (!) new receivers as well as 4 offensive linemen.

Damon Hazelton and D-2 grad transfer Keke Chism figure to be instant upgrades at wide receiver and will be joined by players we should be familiar with from Rock M discussions alone— Jay Maclin, JJ Hester, Chance Luper, and Kris Abrams-Draine.

Mike Maietti, a 3-year starting center from Rutgers, figures to be one of the best offensive lineman. Kentucky grad transfer Grant McKinniss could be the punter.

The D-Line, once a storied position group for Mizzou (that seems like so long ago, right?), will lose 7 scholarship seniors after this season, so Drink knew it was a critical area of need. They brought in, among other, Montra Edwards and JuCo transfer Ben Key, two names that should be familiar.

According to Drinkwitz:

Ben (Key) is like clay in coach (Brick) Haley’s hands. He’s got all types of potential, untapped potential, but big, physical, strong suddenness. He’s going to be able to hold the point for us whether he plays nose or a four (technique) or five or three.

Ryan Walters brings back two experienced corners (Adam Sparks and Jarvis Ware), but added in Ennis Rakestraw Jr with much fanfare when he spurned Alabama to join the Tigers. Remember Drink’s ecstatic viral video on Signing Day? Yeah, that was about him.

In regards to Rakestraw:

Ennis has great length, ball skills . . . transition ability, speed, ability to play man to man, can mix it up in some zone coverage to track the ball down the field... He provides a lot of position versatility.”

Dave’s article is well worth the read, as they always are, and I can’t wait to (hopefully) see some real practice a few weeks and hear about some newcomers stepping up in a big way.

Until then, here’s some photos from voluntary workouts:

On to the links!

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

Football/SEC News

Other Mizzou Sports

Interesting/Non-Mizzou News

These are a few of the best sports stories & tidbits I found regarding some goings-on in sports and the world— Enjoy!

  • Looking good, Soph!
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