Missouri concludes offseason practice Saturday in their spring game. The Tigers are coming off an electrifying turnaround second to only Auburn, and Mizzou looks like they are a true future contender. The Tigers are hauling in commitments left and right, and with their proven development program, that’s cause for concern for every team in the SEC East.
The two primary focuses Saturday will be the receivers and linebackers, and here’s what we’ll be tuning in to watch:
Missouri had 31 receiving touchdowns in 2013. Twenty-seven of those are now gone with departing players, including Dorial Green-Beckham, who had a breakout season last year. The first player who comes to mind to replace DGB is Bud Sasser, who caught 26 passes for 361 yards and one touchdown last season. But who else will step up? After DGB’s dismissal, Mizzou still has 15 rostered receivers. J’Mon Moore, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White, among others, will play much bigger roles this season. Saturday we’ll get an idea of which players to hone in on heading into fall camp.
Mizzou’s most experienced linebacker in Kentrell Brothers won’t play Saturday due to offseason surgery, but he is expected back by fall camp. So, we’ll get a look at Michael Scherer, Eric Beisel, Darvin Ruise and Clarence Green on Saturday. This group is talented but young, and a solid performance Saturday, as well as fall camp, could result in a starting gig this season.
Although the linebackers are young, the secondary is my biggest concern. Safety Braylon Webb is the only returning starter, and the Tigers lose All-SEC corner EJ Gaines. Safety Ian Simon has had a solid spring and has emerged as the favorite opposite Webb. As things stand right now, it looks as if Aarion Penton and John Gibson will open the season as the starting cornerbacks. Another player to watch Saturday is Duron Singleton. Regardless of which players end up starting, this could be a fluid position unit during the season, with several players in the rotation to find the best four.
You’re going to know his name
You don’t know him yet, but you will come fall. Charles Harris could be Missouri’s next big thing along the defensive line. Just a two-star exiting high school, Harris should blow into a future NFL player. He’s one of the most interesting players to watch Saturday.
Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports