With the 2022 season officially over, it’s time to break down the performance of the team position by position. We’ll look at the stats for the year, the departing players, new additions, and some predictions for what we’ll see in 2023.
We start, as always, with quarterbacks.
It doesn’t matter the year. It doesn’t matter the performance. The position of quarterback will be heavily scrutinized until the game ceases to be played...and even then there will be debates about greatness, limitations, and all other stuff lumped in with the most important position in American sports.
This year had one single narrative that had a surprise twist at the end of the season. The narrative for 98% of the 2022 Missouri football season was that Brady Cook was clearly limited and someone else needed to wrestle the helm of “QB1” away from him. Then, right as the year was ending, it was revealed that Cook had a torn labrum - suffered in the blowout loss to Kansas State early in the season- and had been playing through that debilitating injury the rest of the year. Suddenly, those weak/floaty throws to the sideline made much more sense. Suddenly, the notable lack of accuracy on deep balls was understandable. What didn’t make sense, however, was why - FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR - an injured and clearly limited starting quarterback was the best option to win games over the backups currently on the roster.
Now, to be fair, we did see what Jack Abraham could do and that was to throw two interceptions in three pass attempts. Ok, yeah, that’s not going to cut it. And whichever rumor you want to cling on to about Sam Horn explains a lot about why he was not ready to come in and play (let alone practice).
We can look back on the Gary Pinkel era with fondness now, especially in regard to how he managed the quarterback position. He had Chase Daniel ready to replace Brad Smith, Blaine Gabbert ready to replace Chase, James Franklin ready to replace Blaine, and Maty Mauk ready to replace James. All true, all fair. What he didn’t have, however, was a guy ready to replace the starter if said starter was injured. And that’s how we got Darius Outlaw and Corbin Berkstresser taking significant snaps in their respective doomed campaigns. It’s why Drew Lock stunk it up in ‘15 when Mauk was suspended. And it’s also why Blaine Gabbert - with an ankle exploded by Ndamukong Suh - continued to be the starter for the rest of the ‘09 season despite being severely limited in mobility and saddled with hyper anxiety in the pocket.
The truth of the matter is, few college teams have a backup quarterback of the same caliber as the starter. Even mighty Alabama struggled when Bryce Young went down and they’re one of the top three recruiting teams in the country! And yet - even with all the logical understandings of this sport and this position - it’s still bothersome to see Eli Drinkwitz stick with a clearly hobbled Connor Bazelak and an obviously limited Brady Cook for two consecutive years and you can’t help but have your mind wander and pontificate on why the 4-star freshman phenom QBs on the bench aren’t ready.
Jack Abraham was a prolific G5 quarterback who had two opportunities to start for an SEC team and couldn’t quite get there. But he was clearly Mizzou’s QB2 for the 2022 season and demonstrated as such by the lackluster K-State performance and a few passes tossed through the rest of the year, amounting to a 37% completion rate and a mere 44 passing yards. He was always a placeholder backup, though; a “break glass in case of emergency” option that wasn’t much of an option after the two series that he played at the beginning of the year. His career ends with 10,000+ yards thrown for as well as 64 touchdowns but it’ll be those two interceptions (of his career total of 39) that Missouri fans will remember the most.
Tyler Macon had a rough start to his college career. The East St. Louis product got a ratings bump after a solid performance in the Manning Passing Academy but missed his entire senior season in high school because of COVID and struggled to beat out Connor Bazelak, despite showing up on campus in the spring. Certain circles of the team would admit off record that Tyler struggled to grasp the playbook and relied too much on his legs in practice, which wasn’t nearly as effective in college as it was in high school. Regardless of if that is true or not, the fact remains he is no longer with the team and transferred to Alcorn State, hopefully to have a long, healthy career as the starting quarterback for the Braves.
Despite his damn shoulder being in shambles, Brady Cook finished the year with a 64.5% completion rate with a 6.3 adjusted net yards per attempt (which is very close to the national average). He ended up with over 2,700 yards through the air, 547 on the ground, and threw 14 touchdowns to 7 interceptions, but zero interceptions over the last six games. Knowing the pain and limitations he was going through it’s a wonder he managed to do any of that. Cook loves this school and was a warrior through it all, but that doesn’t mean he should be able to maintain the starting quarterback role. It is, however, certainly a credit to his ability as a leader and #TrueSon material.
Sam Horn got a single series against New Mexico State and damn near killed Barrett Banister on an ill-advised slant route. He had a pretty pass called back and a nifty run, but truthfully, we still have no idea what the hell he can do. With Cook sidelined for spring practices as he recovers from surgery - and the only quarterbacks currently on the team being walk-ons - Horn should have every opportunity in the world to prove he’s ready to be a bona fide starting college quarterback.
...and before anyone brings this up: NO, HE IS NOT GOING TO LET BASEBALL INTERFERE WITH SPRING PRACTICES. Sam Horn is a Missouri football quarterback first and foremost. His scholarship is with the football team. What he does with Missouri Baseball is inconsequential to that.
2022 stats: 115-168 (68.5%), 2,050 yards, 24 TDs, 4 INTs/150 rushes, 1,458 yards, 19 TDs
Gabarri Johnson, the 4-star signal caller from Tacoma, WA, won’t be on campus until summer but that won’t stop the inevitable hype train from rolling for the full nine months until the season starts (and then some). Johnson was the best quarterback prospect from the state of Washington and turned down offers from west coast institutions to come live in the Midwest and play in the SEC. He’s not as prolific a passer as Sam Horn was in college but he also more than doubled up Horn’s rushing numbers in their respective senior seasons in high school. Sam and Gabarri are two very different types of quarterbacks but both will have an uphill climb to unseat the guy who’s been on the team for three full years and has an entire SEC season under his belt. Regardless, it would be asinine to assume Johnson gets the starting quarterback job in Year One, but he is certainly a very intriguing prospect to look at long term.
- Prediction: Brady Cook begins the season as QB1.
- Bold Prediction: Sam Horn begins the season as QB1.
- HOT TAKE: Tommy Lock gains 40 pounds, channels the essence of his older cousin, and becomes QB1, wins the Heisman, and becomes the 1st overall pick of the 2026 NFL Draft.