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One Returner and One Newcomer for Mizzou Football in 2022: Offensive Line

A couple of offensive guards who love to pull, and flatten defensive ends and outside linebackers. What’s not to be excited about?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 South Carolina at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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!

Returner: iOL Connor Wood

Connor Wood was a transfer addition in 2021 from Montana State where he was a force in his initial two seasons, earning Freshman All-American honors and an All-American honorable mention as a sophomore. Coming into Missouri, he was a nice addition to a position group that needed more guys who has played collegiate snaps.

He began as a depth piece, but as time went on he slid into a starting role along the offensive line making eight starts for Missouri. The results as a whole were largely strong from Wood. He held up okay in pass protection showing enough agility and athleticism to move around and contain interior stunts from ruining the passing game. The transition from the FCS level to the SEC is probably most stark in the trenches, and in pass protection in particular. While he wasn’t perfect, he played at an acceptable level.

Where Wood really impresses though, is in the running game. He’s an absolute road grater.

He plays with good pad level, and works his way to the second level of the defense in a really efficient manner. In addition, Wood flashed more of his athletic ability when asked to pull and kick out defensive ends. That’s an area that I thought he truly shined.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 South Carolina at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In 2022, Wood is going to be a front runner at one of the guard positions and Missouri needs him to not just maintain his level of play, but to exceed what it was last season. There will be a new quarterback, and some stability up-front would go a long way in keeping the offense functional. That starts with your most experienced players. The losses of Mike Maietti and Case Cook hurt from not just an on-field perspective, but from a leadership standpoint too. Wood is an excellent candidate to slide into that role because of his wealth of experience.

Newcomer: OL Tristan Wilson

I went to check out Tristan Wilson when Lebanon made the trip to Springfield to play Kickapoo, and I walked away from the game really impressed with some of the things he did in person. Playing at offensive guard, Wilson was asked to do a lot of lateral movement as he was pulling an awful lot. He did it very well too. Wilson moves exceptionally well for a player of his size. As well as his lateral quickness, his first step and get off were lightning quick and it allowed him to punish kids on the first level in addition to moving up to linebackers on the second level as well.

Wilson’s highlights show the exact traits I’m highlighting. Some really impressive lateral quickness, a great first step and some exceptional power and finishing ability.

Will Wilson crack the rotation in 2022? That will probably be a tough ask, but isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I’m more focused on what Wilson looks like in 2023, and 2024 as his skillset matures and his body develops. The skills he has though are tailor made for Missouri’s zone blocking scheme, and he’s a guy we’ll have to keep our eye on in the future.

Follow me on Twitter @iAirDry!