Missouri has a long line of players who have excelled at their respective positions and have individual traits that help make them stand out. You know, like Drew Lock’s arm strength or the athletic ability and quick twitch of a guy like Sheldon Richardson.
Which is a good starting point for this question: How would you build your ideal player? We’ll start this week with the wide outs.
The makings of the best offensive lineman are broken down to these categories:
Athleticism: Howard Richards; 1977-1980
One of the most recognizable voices in Mizzou athletics, Richards was also one of the best offensive lineman in school history. He wasn’t quite a mauler that you may have remembered from that era, but actually more of a modern type of offensive lineman. A bit smaller, but athletic, smart and able to move well.
That kind of skill set would make him a great find in today’s era of space and speed and considering the pedigree, I chose Richards.
Agility: Mitch Morse; 2010-2014
Morse was a jack-of-all trades and held his own in the trenches. He’s my pick for the agility section as he was fantastic at doing things that tackles in a spread offense need to do. He had great feet which allowed him to pass block against some of the best pass rushers in the country. He also was a plus in the run game as his ability to get to the second level and make difficult reach blocks was up there with almost anyone in somewhat recent memory.
People don’t look at offensive lineman and think about the agility needed to do certain things that are essential to how those offenses, particularly spread offenses, work. You have to be able to get up to the second level of a defense, you have to be able to pass protect against absolute monsters, and you have to be able to make difficult blocks in space and Morse was exceptional in all three facets.
Power: John Clay; 1983-1986
John “Big John” Clay was the epitome of power. Standing at 6’6 and listed at 300 pounds,(this is a very conservative listing) Clay was one of the biggest players in the Big Eight at the time. He thrived in an era where they pounded the rock and wore on teams as the game went on and that he did. Clay was also selected as a three time All-Big 8 selection and he’s one of four players in Missouri history to ever accomplish that feat. He is also one of five Missouri offensive lineman who were drafted in the first round.
I don’t know how the totality of Clay’s game would translate to today, however I’m of the opinion his power would translate quite easily. Adding this kind of power makes this hypothetical lineman very, very scary.