If you go by 247’s Transfer Tally, Mizzou is about squared away as far as incomings and outgoings go.
Mizzou has seen 12 players test their luck in the wild west of the portal, while they’ve brought in 11 players via that same process. With the outgoing graduating class and incoming freshman class, you could call things about square.
Of course, things are never that simple. And, no, this isn’t a Roster Math piece a la Nate Edwards. We’ll have one of those coming here before spring ball. Merely this is an attempt to examine Mizzou’s priorities over the last month and figure out where they could be looking to improve or where they should be looking to improve based on the current state of things.
Eli Drinkwitz has obviously spent a large chunk of the offseason working to rebuild his defensive line, efforts that were no doubt aided by now-former coaches Blake Baker and Kevin Peoples. Still, the Tigers have added a wealth of experience and a smattering of high-end talent in their attempt to fortify the depth of a position group that was so vital to their success last season.
However, there’s still work to be done. One of the Tigers’ biggest gets out of the portal has already decommitted — Isaiah Hastings, we barely knew thee — after Peoples left for LSU, bringing the total number of incoming transfers down to four. With only two starting spots locked down thus far (Johnny Walker, Jr. and Kristian Williams), the staff should be making every effort to continue adding impact pieces as they see fit.
Yeah, yeah. Trenches and all that.
It’s pretty easy to look at the linemen on next year’s roster and say, “You know, I think I’m OK with that.” And I’d be hard-pressed to disagree. While it’ll be tough to replace Javon Foster and Xavier Delgado, the Tigers have already won half the battle with the addition of Cayden Green, who has a strong chance to be better than both of them by the end of his career. With Connor Tollison, Cam’Ron Johnson and Armand Membou all returning, Mizzou’s line is one strong man away from being fearsome again in 2024.
But how do you feel about Mizzou getting the same injury luck again next year? All five of Mizzou’s best linemen started (and finished) all 13 games for the Tigers, a miracle in today’s sport. The chances of the Tigers having that sort of luck next year are minuscule, meaning they’ll need some serious depth in the trenches. Logan Reichert should be ready for serious snaps in 2024 and there are a host of other wily veterans ready to step up. But for Mizzou’s offense to take another step up from the top 25 unit it was this season, they’ll need more than guys that can hold the line. They’ll need extra maulers in waiting.
Hang on a second. Doesn’t Mizzou still have Brady Cook? One of the best quarterbacks in the SEC? You’d be correct. And yes, I’ve learned my lesson. No one needs to worry about replacing Cook. No chance in hell.
But let me ask you this... how do you feel about any of the options behind Cook at this point? With Jake Garcia, Gabarri Johnson and Dylan Laible moving on, the Tigers have the following in their QB room:
- Redshirt sophomore Sam Horn, who continues to draw MLB Draft interest on the baseball side and has yet to prove himself in meaningful snaps
- True Freshman Aidan Glover, part of the 2024 recruiting class
- Incoming transfer (and apparent preferred walk-on) Harold Blood
- PWOs Tommy Lock and Brett Brown
Do any of those players fill you with confidence?
The chances of Mizzou going out and adding a QB in the portal (especially after Blood’s arrival) are slim to none. Chances are that the staff uses this season to train up Aidan Glover to take over for Cook in 2025 and, if he doesn’t fit the bill, they’ll go out and find someone else in the portal next year. But should Cook need to miss any time next season, Mizzou will be in big, big trouble unless Glover lights the world on fire right away. Depending on what happens with Horn in the early part of baseball season, I’d like to see the staff monitor veteran QBs who may be looking for a soft landing spot out of spring ball.