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Rock M Preview Review: Here’s What You’ve Missed— Tight End & Wide Receiver

Mizzou Football Links for Friday, August 11

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We’re another week into preseason football coverage, and covering two position groups a week. How bout them apples? Earlier on in the week, the site’s football minds continued our coverage with tight ends.

On Monday, Josh asked the group, “Who has the edge to start for Mizzou at tight end?” The group collectively seems to think it’s likely Tyler Stephens, but could someone take the reins? It’s necessary for someone to step up and establish themselves as the true no. 1. Josh’s take:

Brett Norfleet sure has the goods to tantalize us. He’s got the size, athleticism and pedigree no one in Columbia has had since Albert Okwuegbunam. You’d like to see him break into the rotation early, if only because it shouldn’t be too hard to do so. Whether it’s Norfleet or someone else, it would be nice to see some more stand out moments from the tight ends in 2023.

Meanwhile, Nate and BK previewed the group, calling them, unsurprisingly, the position group with the most question marks. But do they have the most question marks because they’re not really utilized fully in Drinkwitz’s system? Perhaps. Now, will that change? Ehhh.... From BK:

Regardless of how the playing time shakes out, the players are either older and lack production or younger and need development. The odds of anyone emerging as a legitimately productive pass-catcher are slim.

Missouri’s new play-caller is another reason I’m skeptical of a significant bump coming at the position. Kirby Moore’s tight ends finished with a total of 34 receptions last season. I’m sure some of that was a lack of options. But some of it was also a product of Moore’s willingness to spread things out and get the ball into his playmakers’ hands while they’re in space. That tends to lead to fewer opportunities for tight ends

Meanwhile, Josh asked the group, “Is Mizzou’s next star tight end currently on the roster?” Not likely, says the staff. Gone seem to be the days of Tight End U. But that doesn’t mean they can’t improve. Per Quentin:

However, I think there’s room for substantial improvement. Tyler Stephens still possesses a high ceiling as a pass-catcher. Ryan Hoerstkamp will hopefully build off of the flashes we saw from him as a blocker and a pass-catcher last season. Max Whisner is a year older, and Brett Norfleet is a promising freshman who showed off some gnarly blocking skills in high school.

On Thursday, we moved on to wide receivers where Nate and BK examined Mizzou’s vastly talented receiver room. No more mourning the loss of Dom Lovett around here, folks. Eli went and grabbed some great transfers in Theo Wiese, Jr. and Dannis Jackson, and the Tigers return plenty of other production as well. Per BK’s analysis:

The natural attrition of college football now allows for Missouri’s receivers to be in their best position to succeed. Burden and Cooper should get more opportunities in the slot, along with Houston. Incoming transfers Dannis Jackson and Theo Wease, Jr. are both comfortable winning against man coverage from an outside alignment. They both serve as “burners” who can open up space for the slot receivers, tight ends and running backs to win on shallow routes, especially across the middle.

Meanwhile, Josh asked the guys, “Is this the year that Luther Burden III becomes a star?” Survey says... YES, especially given that he’s moving to the slot position. From Parker:

What we did learn is that there are few defenders in the country that can contain Burden in the open field, and the slot position will give him plenty of opportunities to make some magic happen. As the clear-cut WR No. 1, Drinkwitz and Moore will likely get Burden at least 10 targets per game by design, and it’s safe to assume that he’ll still be a factor on sweeps as well. After a full season of learning the college game and a full offseason of applying what he learned, expect Burden to live up to his 5-star billing and then some in ‘23.

Quentin agreed, while working in some Mizzou Hoops metaphors (putting it in terms Karen understands!):

When Moore said he wanted to mold his offense around the strengths of Mizzou’s personnel during his introductory press conference, the first thing I thought of was letting Burden create more after the catch. Too often was Burden used like Aidan Shaw, as the expectation seemed to be for Burden to dunk on defensive backs downfield. Rather, Luther was the biggest burden to defenses when he was used like Isiaih Mosley: get the ball in his hands with space, and let him do something cool.

And since it was Luther Burden Day, Aaron also chimed in, taking a look at The Luther Burden Effect. In this well done piece, he discussed how Luther has shown high-level athletes the Missouri blueprint for how they can succeed both on the field and off.

To wrap up this week, let’s see what Dave Matter and his chatters had to say about the WR position in his STL Today chat.

On the receivers:

If I had to guess on the depth at the three receiver positions, it would look like this. At the X-position on the outside, you’ve got Oklahoma transfer Theo Wease as the starter. Behind him, Ja’Marion Wayne, a huge target, impressive athlete, and Peanut Houston, who I thought looked good late last season when he finally got healthy. At the other outside position (Z), you’ve got Mookie Cooper, who by all accounts had a strong offseason, then Ole Miss transfer Dannis Jackson, who’s really fast with the ball in his hands. Reminds me a little bit of Jared Perry. Freshman Josh Manning and Marquis Johnson have worked on the outside, too. In the slot, you’ve got Luther Burden as the starter but Mekhi Miller will get his share of touches. Daniel Blood is a freshman working in the slot. Drinkwitz has been pretty critical of the receivers but that also reflects the high expectations he has for the group.

A reminder: we’re wrapping up WR coverage today at the site, which is a piece on xxx, and you’ll see what the staff has to say about another WR-related question posted by Josh.

On to the Links!

WTG, Soph! What a cool honor for the former mayor of CoMo

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:


  • Ty’Ron Hopper has found himself on the Butkus Award watch list, given to the nation’s top linebacker.
  • Nicky Bolts! He has such great hair and a lovely smile.
  • Such fond memories of Chase’s Heisman campaign


  • Ashton Judd & Abbey Schreacke, out on campus
  • Ooooh, MPJ vs. D’Moi on Lakers opening night!

Other Mizzou Sports

  • I am counting the days til gymnastics season. This video is amazing.

  • If you’re looking to sign up for ESPN+, Rock M Nation now has an affiliate link: click Here for ESPN+ Now!
  • If you’re looking to sign up for a new streaming service, you can try FuboTV: click HERE for FuboTV access — FuboTV now has ESPN, CBS, FS1 and more sports channels.
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