Spring Football got underway at Missouri with the Tigers starting receiving unit intact. Each of T.J. Moe, L'Damian Washington, Marcus Lucas, and Eric Waters got off to a good start this spring. Then, Washington suffered a hamstring injury early that kept him sidelined until after the break, and in his stead, Jimmie Hunt moved out to the Z WR spot and took over the first team reps.
Bud Sasser began the spring on the sideline, but he got back in after the break as well. Sasser was lining up behind Waters, at the Y WR/TE spot, and it didn't take him long to regain the form that has had him on my A list for the past year.
"He did some good things," said Coach Pinkel, speaking of Sasser. "I think he's got some good quickness. He's explosive. You know, he just needs to play. And, he was injured most of the time. We saw a little bit of that in his winter conditioning, and his testing, and in the improvement in his strength, speed, and quickness. So, it'll be great competition out there (this fall)."
Waters suffered a knee injury that will sideline him until July, and Gahn McGaffie moved over from behind Moe to take over the starting spot at the Y. McGaffie had a very solid spring, and has developed into a very reliable receiver.
"Gahn McGaffie is a team player," said Coach Pinkel. "He's a really good player. He catches the ball consistently. He gets open. He knows the offense. And, he's always got a remarkable attitude, whether he catches six balls, or he catches none, that's who he is. He was a quarterback in high school. And for a guy to come out here and play at the level that he did all spring certainly says a lot about him."
During the spring, I asked Coach Hill about the playing rotation for this fall. He said that the top eight receivers, including the tight ends, would play.
At the conclusion of the spring, the two-deep included Moe and Hunt at the H, and McGaffie and Sasser at the Y, with Waters on the sideline. Lucas and Rolandis Woodland manned the top two spots at the X during the Spring Game, and Washington and Jaleel Clark were one and two at the Z.
Lucas and Moe both finished the spring strong, as did Hunt and Woodland. In fact, I'm not sure that any of the receivers helped themselves more in the eyes of the coaching staff this spring than did Woodland.
Looking forward, Waters will be back in there by fall camp, and Dorial Green-Beckham is due to arrive in June. Along with the continued development of current third-teamers Kerwin Stricker and Wesley Leftwich, those additions will provide for plenty of competition this fall.
Based on what I saw this spring, I expect to see the same four that began the spring as the starters line up with the number one offense on the first day of fall camp. McGaffie and Hunt came out of the spring as the number five and six receiver respectively.
The next two are Woodland and Sasser, or Sasser and Woodland. Those two will likely begin fall camp listed with the second-team offense.