Throughout the remainder of the offseason, I’ll be putting a spotlight on one returning player and one newcomer at each position who’s generally intriguing for the 2022 season. There are plenty of avenues of thought when it comes to who you may think is most interesting, so feel free to voice your opinion down below in the comments!
Returning: TE Ryan Hoerstkamp
Hoerstkamp began the 2021 season pretty buried on the depth chart as a true freshman with Daniel Parker, Jr and Niko Hea getting most of the snaps in Missouri’s two tight end sets. If one of those two needed a breather, you may have occasionally seen Messiah Swinson. But by the end of the 2021 season in Fort Worth, it was Ryan Hoerstkamp and walk-on Kibet Chebyator taking snaps at tight end.
Now in 2022, the top three are all gone for various reasons and Hoerstkamp is the only one at his position on scholarship and has taken any game snaps. And he’s had very limited ones at that.
That said, I’m optimistic about Hoerstkamp’s development and ability to step in and play a lead role because of his mentality. I’m sure he would like to catch passes as much as the next guy, but he really takes pride in his blocking as well.
Case in point:
first play in college football.. pic.twitter.com/MIAzWcEczK— Ryan Hoerstkamp (@RyanHoerstkamp) January 11, 2022
It isn’t overly surprising when you do some research on his background. In high school, he only had 333 yards on 18 catches. Which may not seem like a lot, and it’s not because he wasn’t capable, but that Washington team only threw the ball as a TEAM 64 times on the season. 32 completions, and he had over half of them.
Contrast that to their 383 rushes, and you can kind of start to imagine what he was doing in his senior year. He was knocking folks on their asses.
I say all of this to say, Hoerstkamp has some roughness to his game and that’ll help fill a need next year. First and foremost, Missouri needs their tight ends to block, and I think he can do that reasonably well. There is also reason to believe he’s athletic enough to be at least a decent pass catcher.
Newcomer: TE Max Whisner
Max Whisner was the first commitment in the 2022 cycle, and has done an excellent job in helping recruit the rest of what has become an awesome class. But the fact that he was such a good recruiter shouldn’t overshadow the fact that he’s got the potential to be a really good ball player who has a chance to come in and compete for early playing time.
At Lees Summit, Whisner did a little bit of everything. He lined up at defensive end, played at tight end, and was a really nice tool for their offense. His ability to be agile enough to pull and flip his hips around to seal defensive ends and linebackers was impressive. He’s a very gifted pass catcher who didn’t catch an outrageous amount of passes, but is really fluid and has a knack for the contested, in-traffic catches that tight ends make, usually in the red zone.
Whisner has a real path to playing in 2022. As of this writing, Missouri has three tight ends on scholarship, and Whisner is one of them. As a true freshman, that’s a daunting task but the good news is that he has enrolled early, is already participating in team activities, and will participate in spring practice. That’s a huge step in the right direction. If Whisner can have a good spring and really learn the playbook, he could have a really nice freshman season.