We are finally into fall camp and the kickoff to the 2022 college football season is near! So let’s take a second to review the roster, count the scholarships, and figure out where the Tigers stand.
Here is the roster as it currently stands:
I’m including the incoming commitments of the 2023 class but, obviously, they are not going to count towards the 2022 scholarship total. It’s mostly just a reminder of the cool new people we’ll get to meet in 12 months.
Let’s break down the numbers per position. As a reminder my tracker is not the official list of scholarship football players at the University of Missouri, rather an educated guess based off of what we’ve heard and seen released from various football outlets.
Current Scholarship Count: 3
Currently, Missouri boasts three scholarship quarterbacks with another blue-chip committed. As a reminder, Jack Abraham is not on scholarship; rather, he committed to Missouri as a walk-on with the possibility of earning a scholarship. That could be a tough road to hike for Mr. Abraham on two fronts: one, the main reason he was brought in - the possible departure of Sam Horn via MLB Draft - did not come to pass and second, as we’ll see, the Tigers are already in the red in scholarship allotment (to my count, anyway). Whether Jack gets his school paid for or not, he will be off the roster by February of next year, leaving the aforementioned three QBs plus the incoming Gabarri Johnson.
Current Scholarship Count: 6
What the running back room lacks in proven quality in more than makes up for in options. Nate Peat is the lone elder statesman as a fourth-year player but in his first year back in his hometown. Cox, Harris, and Young are at the beginning of their third years in college but only claim 77 rushes over their combined five years of experience. Redshirt freshman Taj Butts and true freshman Travorus Jones both start the 2022 season with plenty of potential but unproven results. Jamal Roberts, a class of 2023 athlete committed to Mizzou, is projected to play running back at the next level and is slotted with this group.
Current Scholarship Count: 9
Another position group, another collection of young, unproven talent with a sprinkling of talent-maxed, experienced hands. Banister for sure will be gone next year and Dove could be as well if he doesn’t exercise his COVID-granted bonus year. Cooper, Lovett, and Luper are joined by former Nebraska/JUCO receiver Demariyon “Peanut” Houston as the third-year weapons, and they are joined by one of the most highly-anticipated wide receiver classes in Missouri history containing Burden, Miller, and Wayne. The ceiling is high with this group - and the expectations are seemingly even higher - but they are all extremely young and mostly unproven at the level. The good news, as it were, is that all but two gentlemen in this position group have the opportunity to play at least two more years in the black and gold (unless they transfer). That rocks.
Current Scholarship Count: 4
The tight end position has not been a highly utilized position group in the passing game during Drinkwitz’s two-year tenure and I don’t anticipate that trend to change this year. Four tight ends litter the roster and zero have caught a pass as a Missouri Tiger. As the default old man of the group, former Buffalo transfer Tyler Stephens will most likely be looked to spearhead this position group’s efforts but expect Hoerstkamp and Whisner (codenamed “HorseWhiz”) to see the field as effective blockers first and foremost, and second-coming-of-Rucker-and-Coffman as a distant, secondary role. McKay is more of a “big receiver” tight end who could see the field in some pass-oriented sets.
Current Scholarship Count: 19
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the theme of the 2022 Missouri Tiger offense heading into the season is “nothing proven, tons of options”, most recently represented by the offensive line here. Foster is a stone-cold lock for the starting left tackle spot. Connor Wood is a stone-cold lock to start...uh...somewhere. Delgado and Griffin will play a guard position throughout the year. Tollison and Heismeyer are vying for the center slot. And Powell, Lee, and Lawrence will have a crack at the right tackle position. You could also probably see Spencer, Ndoma-Ogar, and maybe Membou see some action. And maybe Hyrin White comes back? So many questions! Nothing proven! While there aren’t any bad options, per se, for this group you’d prefer to have a more concrete idea of who will play where...but, hey, that’s what fall camp is for!
Current Scholarship Count: 8
Two graduate students, two seniors, two redshirt freshman, a redshirt sophomore and a true freshman make for an almost perfect class balance for the edge rushers. Playing time, however, is not anticipated to be perfectly balanced as - barring injury or a massive leap from the new faces - Trajan Jeffcoat and Isaiah McGuire will most likely occupy 75+% of the snaps at end. Hopper the Elder and FCS transfer D.J. Coleman were brought on as obvious insurance policies in case one of the two aforementioned starters goes down, and both Walker boys showed some interesting potential in G5/FCS competition. Ford and Wesolak are intriguing upside pieces: both came in highly regarded but either due to injury (Ford) or being 18-years old (Wesolak), they shouldn’t be looked to as a starter-level contributor immediately.
Current Scholarship Count: 10
Between on-field performance and roster losses, it’s obvious that defensive tackle was a clear pain point for the Missouri defensive staff as you can see the amount of experienced pieces they stocked up on in the offseason. They needed improvement so badly, in fact, that this position group is the most uneven of the team, boasting five players who could be gone next year if they don’t take the COVID bonus year, and four guys who have yet to play a down at the college level. The hope is that the incoming transfers can use their strength in numbers to zerg rush through the ‘22 season and give the youth time to develop for next year and beyond...but it would also be nice if a few play makers established themselves early, and even better if those play makers came from the crop of freshman on the roster.
Current Scholarship Count: 9
Unless new defensive coordinator Blake Baker completely overhauls the 4-2-5, the Tigers will only need 3-4 serviceable linebackers for the season. Chad Bailey and Devin Nicholson are the most experienced and could be gone at the conclusion of the season; Ty’Ron Hopper will absolutely factor into this situation and could also be gone at the end of the year if he lives up to the lofty, NFL-quality play that Missouri fans are hoping to see from him. That leaves five players with a year’s worth of college experience (or less) and last-second-Wyoming-transfer Chuck Hicks to man special teams and attempt to crack the rotation.
Current Scholarship Count: 7
Missouri has three corners that are projected to get starter-level snaps: Abrams-Draine, Rakestraw, and second-year player D.J. Jackson. Jackson wasn’t great but was the first guy called off the bench last year and was serviceable in his usage towards the end of the year. Whether they play him in the slot or outside, Abrams-Draine has obtained a reputation as a formidable corner, and the hope is that Rakestraw bounces back from his injury and can display the skills that made Nick Saban and Alabama want to bring him on campus. Unfortunately there isn’t much proven past that so the newcomers will have to use fall camp to get acclimated and hope to contribute positively. We all saw what happened last year when Missouri’s corner rotation went beyond the starters and...well, a team that hates passing the ball was able to complete five passes in less than 75 seconds to win a bowl game.
Current Scholarship Count: 8
Eight gentlemen occupy that safety room and there are, conceivably, four viable options to see the field. You can set Martez and Carlies as locks for starter-level snaps, while Charleston and Williams are viable backups/possible starters. That leaves former cornerback/new safety Daylan Carnell, the Tylers Hibbler and Jones, and incoming SLUH alum Isaac Thompson to round out the special teams roster and blowout-deployment snaps. As former blue-chip high school recruits, Carnell and Thompson will have the highest expectations but they’ll have time to develop as the safety roster is fairly deep at the moment.
Current Scholarship Count: 4
Four specialists are on scholarship, two of them are long snappers. Hoffman and Koetting will be gone after this year while Hawthorne and Mevis potentially have three more years of college (if they want it). Three more years of Thiccer? God yes.
It’s Math’n Time!
Ok, so let’s get to 85, shall we?
On offense: 3+6+9+4+19=41
On defense: 8+10+9+7+8=42
And the specialists have 4.
So...41+42+4=87. Uh oh.
Teams need to be at 85 scholarships before the season starts and 87 > 85.
Now, remember: there is a chance my list is wrong. Maybe Chance Luper isn’t on scholarship since his dad is the team’s running back coach. Maybe one of the specialists gets taken off. Or, maybe, there’s another situation where a guy decides to retire/move on from football in the next few weeks.
Regardless, fall camp tends to show a lot of guys where they actually stack up in the pecking order and, in our current college football world, that can lead to transfers. I would expect some roster movement as we head to September 1st and we’ll update this tracker as those events happen.