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Roster Math: Pre-Portal Edition

Get off your ath it’s time for math!

LSU v Missouri Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh yeah, it’s the time of year again, baby.

Say it with me! It’s time to...

COUNT!

TO!

85!

This time we’re doing it as the transfer portal officially opens, despite the fact that there has been a cavalcade of players from all over the country already declaring their intent to be the first names on the spreadsheet on December 4th.

For our purposes, I’ll post the scholarship chart as far as I know it right now. Unlike in most iterations of this chart - while we’re in the limbo of graduated players not off the team yet and commitments not officially signed yet - I’ll italicize the players still on the team but out of eligibility, while the incoming signees are in standard font on the column on the far right.

I promise it’ll make sense as you see it.

See?

Pre-Portal Roster 2023 Missouri Football Scholarship Roster

Let’s get to it! We’ll break it out by position.

Quarterbacks

Quaterbacks

Departing Scholarships: 0

Current Scholarship Count: 4

Incoming: 1

At this moment there will be five scholarship quarterbacks on the 2024 team. No, I don’t think that will be true even a week from today. No, I don’t know who would leave. But I can guarantee that, as long as Brady Cook is here and healthy, this is his team and there’s no way Mizzou will be looking for a proven, starting-caliber quarterback to be added via the portal. So if you see any rumors on social media about multi-year starters coming here...go ahead and just ignore it.

Running Backs

Running Backs

Departing Scholarships: 2 (Peat, Schrader)

Current Scholarship Count: 2

Incoming: 0

Once Peat and Schrader leave Columbia Mizzou, will have two scholarship running backs on the team...plus whatever Michael Cox counts as. Now, as we have learned with Eli Drinkwitz, he only really plays one guy and then occasionally sprinkles in a second so, really, Mizzou is good here!

...jk Drink needs to get at least one, probably two dudes through the portal. Badly. That’s not a shot at Tavorus Jones or Jamal Roberts, it's just that you need at least four guys to find a solid starter plus have some dudes in case of emergency.

Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers

Departing Scholarships: 1 (Jackson)

Current Scholarship Count: 9

Incoming: 1

Dannis Jackson is no longer with the team but, other than that, Mizzou could potentially return every receiver PLUS add James “The President” Madison II. There’s really not a ton of opportunities in the receiver room next year, and that would be true even if Wease and Cooper are done. MAYBE Jacob Peeler adds another guy through the portal but it’s certainly not a position of need.

Tight Ends

Tight Ends

Departing Scholarships: 1 (Whisner, maybe Stephens?)

Current Scholarship Count: 4 (5 if Stephens stays)

Incoming: 1

Tyler Stephens participated in Senior Day but has an extra year left if he wants it. At this moment Whisner is the only confirmed portal loss so, with the addition of White Hafer and establishment of Norfleet and Harris as the 1-2 of the tight ends, this group should be good.

Offensive Line

Offensive Line

Departing Scholarships: 5 (Delgado, Foster, M. Johnson, Erickson, and Ndoma-Ogar)

Current Scholarship Count: 10 (11 if Polgar is on scholarship)

Incoming: 3

Losing the left side of your line isn’t great. It’s also not great to lose two guys who (I thought, anyway) made sense to replace those two starters. But Mizzou still has its center and right side of the line for another year and some capable second and third-year guys to step up. “P5-level starting-caliber offensive lineman” is, perhaps, even more valuable than a quarterback and even harder to obtain, so it’s not likely Brandon Jones is able to just shop through the portal and find exactly what he wants with zero competition. But I do see one, maybe two additions here.

Defensive Ends

Defensive Ends

Departing Scholarships: 2 (Robinson, Wesolak)

Current Scholarship Count: 7

Incoming: 3

I was pleased to be wrong when I found out Nyles Gaddy was actually in the recruiting class of 2019 and had an extra year of eligibility left. Mizzou doesn't lack for options here but only has three guys with multiple years of starting experience and then six guys behind them with either little or no college playing experience. My first thought is that they’re good to stay at this group, but I also realize adding a fourth experienced guy to rotate in at the edge would be nice to have.

Defensive Tackles

Defensive Tackles

Departing Scholarships: 3 (George, Jernigan, Landry)

Current Scholarship Count: 5

Incoming: 1

So here’s a fun position group to pontificate on. I’m 99% certain Jernigan has another year left if he wants it but it sounds like he’s done, meaning the Tiger defense loses three of its four interior defensive linemen. That leaves Kristian Williams as your lone returning starter. Ky Montgomery is the second-oldest dude in this group but has never been on the field due to injury. Gracial and Marshall are tantalizing youngsters and Sam Williams is a total unknown. The question, then, is: are we good with this? I’m assuming the staff’s answer is “no” and will be looking for at least one more piece to add to this group.

Linebackers

Linebackers

Departing Scholarships: 5 (Bailey, Hopper, Wilson, Simmons, Glass)

Current Scholarship Count: 4

Incoming: 2

Hopper accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl so he’s done with his Mizzou career after the bowl game. Bailey has exhausted his eligibility while Wilson, Simmons and Glass have already declared for the portal. That leaves a very clean narrative roster, where Hicks and Newson steward the two starting linebacker positions for a year while blue-chip phenoms Brian Huff and Nicolas Rodriguez acclimate in the first year, only to have them rotate in/takeover the year after that. Obviously, college football roster management doesn’t always work on narrative standards but this was an overweight position group that seems to be trimming the fat and (probably) isn’t looking for further additions.

Cornerbacks

Cornerbacks

Departing Scholarships: 2 (Abrams-Draine, Rakestraw)

Current Scholarship Count: 5

Incoming: 1

Kris Abrams-Draine and Ennis Rakesetraw accepted invitations to the senior bowl so we know they’re gone. That means you have two guys with playing experience, two guys who redshirted, and an incoming freshman. To me, that makes it pretty clear that the staff needs to add an experienced corner (or two) for depth via portal, especially if the freshmen aren’t ready to go by next year.

Safeties

Safeties

Departing Scholarships: 0 (somehow?)

Current Scholarship Count: 9

Incoming: 3

This is a very bloated position group and I can’t imagine it stays at 12 dudes once we get to spring. Carlies is built for the NFL but has yet to have the type of season to vault his draft stock, so it’s unclear if he’ll declare. Charleston has another year if he wants it. Johnson, Williams, Carnell, Burks, and Roche all played this year which makes it very clogged for extended snaps. Thompson has been hurt his entire Mizzou career and Hibbler has been a special teamer in his time here...and three more guys are getting added. Expect portal losses here and don’t worry too much about it.

Specialists

Specialists

Departing Scholarships: 0

Current Scholarship Count: 4

Incoming: 1

With the addition of long snapper Brett Le Blanc to the scholarship roster a few days ago, Mizzou now has four specialists on scholarship. Mevis and Williams can come back, and Craig is just a wee baby freshman who is here for at least another two years. Luke Bauer is still on the team without a scholarship (although I could see that changing) and Will Safris is a punter-type person who will be added in the spring. Any potential movement here revolves around Mevis potentially going to the NFL early...which is just an awesome sentence to type out.

It’s Math’n Time!

Ok, so let’s get to 85, shall we?

Without counting the guys who are either already graduated or declared for the portal, Missouri has 63 scholarship players currently on the team.

They plan to sign 16 high schoolers and one JUCO player in the winter which would bring them to 80 scholarship players.

85 - 80 = 5 scholarships left over.

Now, the portal defections aren’t done. And the portal additions haven’t even begun yet. So this number is very malleable during the windows of time where the portal is open.

Also, keep in mind, “official scholarship player” in the NIL era is a dubious terms and the way these guys are getting their education paid for is not always in an official scholarship offered by the school.

But, as of right now, that’s where we stand.

And I’m confident that, by the time this posts, it will be antiquated and wrong. Especially since I’ve had to update it four times since originally submitting it!

All hail portal season!