In the past 5 years, Missouri has produced 3 All-American TEs, including this year's returning starter, in senior Michael Egnew, a 2010 Mackey Award Finalist. Spring ball has produced a healthy competition for Egnew's back-up, and following the latest scrimmage, sophomore TE Eric Waters 6'4" 223 has moved up onto the second unit. Waters is an athletic pass-catching talent, with very good run-after-catch ability, who came in early a year ago, and made a good impression last fall. He saw action mostly on special teams a year ago.
This spring, Waters is turning into a play maker at the TE position for Missouri. ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Waters shortly after he was promoted to the second string.
"Hopefully, (the promotion) will be permanent," said Waters. "I'll keep working the way that I have been working. Everybody works as hard as they can. That's the whole purpose of the spring, the work, and the competition. It's a non-stop routine. Everybody's working hard. It's all about competition."
Waters has improved his strength, and is working on getting bigger, stronger, and faster. His most recent forty time is a respectable 4.64 seconds.
Waters is a former basketball player, and has become much more consistent catching the football. He's also working on improving his route running this spring, and he said that he's trying to play faster. The recent promotion is a testimony to improvement in both of those areas.
Waters also talked about how his experience playing basketball helps him to position himself to make the catches when he's closely covered. Where Waters really shines is once he has the ball in his hands. He's very good in the open field.
I asked Waters about the ongoing QB competition. He praised both of the leading candidates, Tyler Gabbert and James Franklin.
"Both of them are playing really good right now," said Waters. "Both of them are tremendous QBs. They're both great QBs! No disrespect to anyone, but I'll take my QBs over anybody."
Eric Waters is an exciting young TE, who appears to be on the same track to success as some of his predecessors.