Replacing all-time great players is an impossible task. There is no internal replacement for someone like Nick Bolton. But the Tigers did their best last spring to find a player who could replace some of Bolton’s production by adding Blaze Alldredge via the transfer portal. Alldredge filled in admirably. He wasn’t Bolton, but nobody is. Alldredge’s season mirrored the defense as a whole: a slow start, but a really strong finish.
The Tigers are going back to the transfer well in hopes of replacing at least a portion of Tyler Badie’s record-breaking production. Missouri picked up a commitment this week from former Stanford running back and Columbia native Nathaniel Peat.
Peat, a former 3-star recruit from Rock Bridge committed to Stanford out of high school and spent the last three seasons with the Cardinal. He played sparingly as a freshman, but saw his reps increase over each of the past two seasons. He had a strong season in 2021, carrying the ball 79 times for more than 400 yards and three touchdowns. Peat has also served as a primary kick returner and did a darn good job of it, averaging 25 yards per return over the last two seasons.
Adding Peat couldn’t come at a better time. The Tigers are lacking proven players at the running back position. Elijah Young, Michael Cox and BJ Harris appear to be the top three backs going into spring ball, and the trio has combined for fewer than 90 carries in their respective careers. Tavorus Jones figures to enter the mix quickly, but it’s always a projection with true freshmen.
Where he fits: Peat will immediately fit into the mix at running back and he should at least split reps returning kicks alongside Kris Abrams-Draine. After a quick re-watch of Peat’s performance against UCLA, USC and Oregon, it’s hard to understand why he didn’t see more action at Stanford. He shows patience, the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and he has more than enough speed to be able to come up with some explosive plays.
New #Mizzou transfer RB Nathaniel Peat didn't get the ball as much as he deserved at Stanford. He had a number of explosive plays, kinda like this. pic.twitter.com/lc9q29Em6m— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) January 19, 2022
He also “looks” like a Drinkwitz running back. Peat is listed at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds but he runs with more power than you would expect for his frame. It’s not one-for-one, but he actually has a similar running style to Tyler Badie.
When he’ll play: Right away. You don’t add a transfer at running back - especially one with just two years of eligibility remaining - to sit the bench.
Nathaniel Peat isn't a "big" back, but he runs with some serious physicality. Doesn't often go down on first contact. #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/Ginh2UHUkU— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) January 19, 2022
Drinkwitz is known to use one primary running back, but I think that could change in 2022. The Tigers have multiple players who should figure into the rotation. If I were setting the betting odds today, I would have Peat as the “starter” with Young serving as the change-of-pace back. Harris and Jones should both get reps here and there, as well.
What it all means: It was always reasonable to expect Missouri to add a running back in the portal, but the question was who it would be and how much impact said running back would have on the 2022 season. Well, now we know.
One thing I'm excited to see is how Eli Drinkwitz gets Nathaniel Peat involved in the passing game. He didn't have a ton of receptions at Oregon, but he was a great kick returner and clearly wins in space. #Mizzou pic.twitter.com/KCrAWwLVNH— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) January 19, 2022
Peat’s return to Columbia couldn’t come at a better time. The Tigers were lacking proven commodities at the position and Peat is exactly that. There are certainly instances in which a transfer catches everyone off guard. This certainly isn’t such a situation. There has been buzz for a while that Peat could be on the move, and landing at Mizzou seems like it should be a great fit for all parties involved.