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
- Nate wrote a game preview for the Florida Gators.
- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Check out Josh’s piece on pros/cons of a delayed football season.
- COMING UP AT ROCK M: A new Cocktail Hours/Dive Cuts with Sam & Matt will likely be up late this evening, and BK will have a piece later this morning on proposed games should the non-con be canceled.
- PowerMizzou/Rivals: ($$) Recruiting analyst Matt Hamilton analyzed the film of commit Daniel Robledo.
- Rivals: Adam Gorney & Mike Farrell featured Mizzou in their Fact or Fiction piece ($$). Mike Farrell also wrote about Mizzou in his piece about 5 teams that could surprise and finish high.
- Columbia Tribune: Eric Blum wrote about Phil Steele’s annual College Football Preview, which says the Tigers are rebuilding... ya don’t say?
- The Athletic ($$): Ari Wasserman’s mailbag on college football recruiting had a bit included about Mizzou.
- CBS Sports: Dennis Dodd wrote a great piece about how college football’s efforts to play a safe 2020 season hindered by NCAA’s 72-hour COVID-19 testing guidelines.
- Congrats, Kobie Whiteside!
Other Mizzou Sports
- PowerMizzou ($$): Mitchell talked with 5-star wing and current recruiting target, Mark Mitchell.
- Jon Rothstein’s College Hoops Today blog broke down the SEC offseason rankings. Check it out to see where Zo’s squad landed.
- Look at you, Jordan Chavis! Heading off to Ireland to start her professional hooping career!
Former #Mizzou basketball player Jordan Chavis says on Instagram that she’ll play professionally for St. Mary’s, a team in Castleisland, Ireland. She was a steady contributor throughout her four years in Columbia and shot 36 percent from 3-point range. pic.twitter.com/tN9OEuDaXw— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) July 21, 2020
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!
- Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller said you are about to know Jack (about Jack Flaherty). Good stuff, and clever headline.
- Plugging this again because I’m on Part 4 currently and damn, it’s good. ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcast is covering, in detail, the tarnished legacy of the Karolyi Empire in a series called “Heavy Metals.” It’s split up into seven different 40-50 min podcasts, and is eye-opening for sure.
- Have any of you checked out the new TNT series, The Arena? Here’s a post about it from USA Today. It features Cari Campion, Draymond Green, Sir Charles, and D Wade discussing a wide range of topics.
- The Athletic’s Andy McCullough wrote a great story on Clayton Kershaw, discussing his thoughts on what’s going on in the country, as well as what the Dodgers are doing to help the inequality around LA ($$).
- In a great appreciation post by Kevin Merida of ESPN’s The Undefeated, John Lewis lived a life of grace and humility.
- This, shared by Internet God Rex Chapman, was excellent. RIP to a great, great man.
“Be kind, be hopeful, be optimistic, never get down. It's all gonna be okay, all gonna be alright. We're one people, we're one family. We all live in the same house, not just the American house but the world house. I wish you well.”— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) July 20, 2020
-John Lewis pic.twitter.com/voMvCdg6kj
- Vahe Gregorian of the KC Star wrote a fantastic article on KCKS’s Maurice Greene, who held the 100m WR from 1999-2005. I never knew he was from KC!
- An all-female celebrity/athlete ownership group, led by, among others, Natalie Portman and Serena Williams, is set to launch a national women’s soccer team in Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- Leaving you with this... so cute.
- If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now! (** RockMNation has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though RockMNation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.**)