The Missouri Tigers have one more game left in their 2021 season in the Armed Forces Bowl against the Army Black Knights, but we’re already looking forward to next season as well. With National Signing Day’s early signing period here, Eli Drinkwitz is looking to put together the finishing touches on back-to-back Top 25 recruiting classes for the Mizzou Football program. This is also aiming to become the highest ranked recruiting class in the program’s history, and we very well could see some additions through the transfer portal.
Despite all of the recruiting success, there are still holes on this roster. So, now is an opportune time to break down the positions in the most need for this Mizzou football team as we enter the 2022 season, whether that’s just improvement of play or a talent upgrade.
Here’s a look at the top three:
No. 3: Quarterback
Main contributors this season: Connor Bazelak, Brady Cook, Tyler Macon
Incoming recruit(s): 4-star Sam Horn
Analysis: Well, there’s a lot of depth here — but a lot of question marks as well. Hence there’s an open QB competition entering Missouri’s bowl game. After being named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2020, Connor Bazelak took a significant step back throwing for 16 TDs and 11 interceptions. A sophomore slump if you will.
Meanwhile, Brady Cook and Tyler Macon showed some glimpses of what they can become, but both of them haven’t shown the consistency yet. And while there’s no doubt Sam Horn has the talent, putting a true freshman QB as your starter would be playing a dangerous game.
With Horn coming in, there’s a possibility one of Bazelak, Cook, or Macon could transfer out. I mean, that’s just the nature of college football.
But, IF it were to be Bazelak, then that would leave Missouri with plenty of inexperience at this position.
There were also some rumors that Missouri was interested in former Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler, but he’s already headed to South Carolina. A five-star quarterback transferring into Mizzou’s division isn’t exactly ideal. Does Missouri feel the need to act on that or are they comfortable with what they have? Regardless, this is something to keep an eye on throughout the transfer portal season. Because there’s certainly plenty of options out there.
At least 18 QBs have entered NCAA Transfer Portal. A few listed below already have found new homes. Of these 18, one-fifth (13) of the 65 Power 5 schools have QBs in the portal pic.twitter.com/pdlQaoXP8e— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 14, 2021
Maybe Missouri adds a quarterback through the portal, maybe they don’t. Nate Edwards tells us in his Roster Math that might be unlikely. Either way, the most important position on the football field will need to be much improved for Missouri heading into next season.
No. 2: Linebacker
Main contributors this season: Chad Bailey, Blaze Alldredge, Devin Nicholson
Incoming recruit(s): 3-star Xavier Simmons
Analysis: Replacing All-American and 2nd round draft pick Nick Bolton was almost next to impossible heading into this season – we already knew that. Chad Bailey, Blaze Alldredge, and Devin Nicholson all improved as the season went along. Hower, this unit is still going to find that big time player who can make a big-time impact. Wyoming transfer Chuck Hicks and incoming freshman Xavier Simmons provide some depth and can certainly help.
Boonville, Missouri native DJ Wesolak — who will be playing the OLB position in college, will be announcing his commitment later this afternoon.
Another potential piece to add is through the transfer portal, and that is St. Louis native Antonio Doyle Jr., who transferred out of Texas A&M earlier in the season. Doyle was a four-star OLB from Lutheran North in the 2020 class.
Adding one of Wesolak or Doyle would be the ideal scenario here.
No. 1: Cornerback
Main contributors this season: Akayleb Evans, Allie Green IV, Kris Abrams-Draine
Incoming recruit(s): Marcus Scott II
Analysis: With Evans and Green gone after this season, the inexperience could be an issue at this position heading into 2022. Kris Abrams-Draine is turning into a stud and DJ Jackson got some valuable playing time as a freshman, but a big question mark is Ennis Rakestraw’s recovery after the torn ACL injury. There’s some exciting young talent here, no doubt. However, if Missouri wants to add a proven guy through the transfer portal like they did with Evans and Green last year, that would do wonders for this secondary position.
Mizzou was linked previously to have interest in Alabama transfer cornerback Marcus Banks, but nothing has really come to fruition after that. But perhaps that tells you the staff may be looking to add at this positon.
Remember, this is just the early signing period. Missouri’s 2022 recruiting class might not be set in stone until February. There’s still plenty of time to add. But if Mizzou Football wants to take a step forward next season, the quarterback play will need to be much improved, and adding some playmakers at the linebacker and cornerback positions would certainly help.
It’s time to see if Eli Drinkwitz has anything more up his sleeve as this recruiting class nears and end.