ShowMeMizzou.com continues to review the 2014 season position-by-position with a look at Missouri’s receivers.
First of all, I don’t think enough can be said about how good Bud Sasser was this past season!
Sasser finished the 2014 season with 77 receptions for 1,003 yards and 12 TDs. There are exactly two other receivers in Missouri history with a 1,000-yard, 12 TD season. That would be Danario Alexander (2009 - 1,781 yards, 14 TDs) and Jeremy Maclin (2008 – 1,260 yards, 13 TDs).
That lends some statistical evidence to support what my eyes were telling me throughout the season; that Sasser was having the best year of any Missouri receiver since Danario Alexander. In my opinion, he is Missouri’s best receiver since Alexander. And his historical senior season lends credence to that claim. He was excellent all around, a complete player at his position. And, he was Mr. Reliable. He caught pretty much everything. And, he brought outstanding leadership to the field and to the locker room. And, his leadership will be felt going forward, as he mentored a talented group of young receivers who will be taking over next season.
At season’s end, Sasser received some recognition, including Honorable Mention All-American (SI.com), First-Team All-SEC (AP), and Second-Team All-SEC (SEC Coaches). Recognition well-deserved by one of the best wide-receivers in Missouri history.
Jimmie Hunt had a terrific season, as well, at least until it was cut short by a shoulder injury. The only knock on Hunt was too many drops. Otherwise, he was real good, and he was the one Maty Mauk usually looked for when the sophomore QB scrambled out of the pocket. Mauk and Hunt developed an uncanny chemistry that produced big results on the scramble drill.
Hunt played in just 12 games, and he finished with 40 receptions for 698 yards and 7 TDs. He came up with some big plays at some critical times. And like Sasser, Hunt was a terrific perimeter blocker who made a huge contribution in the Missouri running game.
Missouri’s third starting WR was Darius White. He played in 11 games, and finished with 30 receptions for 372 yards and 4 TDs.
Marcus Murphy played receiver as well as tailback, and he finished the season with 28 receptions for 212 yards and 1 TD, although not all of his receptions came from the WR position.
True freshman Nate Brown played in 9 games, and came away with 5 receptions for 45 yards. He looked much-improved late in the season. I thought that late in the season, his performance warranted more playing time in place of White. Brown’s a pretty good blocker, too, and he showed the ability to catch the ball in traffic, as well as to run after the catch.
Red-shirt junior Wesley Leftwich saw action in 10 games, and finished with 3 receptions for 36 yards.
Red-shirt freshman J’Mon Moore played in 12 games and had 2 catches for 33 yards.
Senior Gavin Otte lost 3 yards on his only catch of the season.
And, freshman Lawrence Lee had 2 receptions for 7 yards before he was dismissed from the team.
Three guys saw action for the Tigers at the tight end position, although only 2 of them caught a pass during the 2014 season.
Sophomore Sean Culkin was listed as the starter all season. He played in all 14 games, and he had 20 receptions for 174 yards and 1 TD.
Jason Reese really improved throughout the season, and by season’s end, I thought he was playing at least as well as Culkin. Late in the season, the Tigers often lined up with Reese and Culkin on the field together. Reese made just 1 catch for 12 yards, but he was really good as a run-blocker on the edge.
Here’s kind of what the Depth Chart looked like for the Missouri receivers at the end of the 2014 season:
H WR 84 Gavin Otte 5’10” 200 (S) 2 Nate Brown 6’3” 205 (F) 85 Thomas Richard 6’0” 190 (F) 41 Aaron Bailey 5’9” 165 (So ) 88 Jimmie Hunt 6’0” 206 (S) (injured)
Z WR 8 Darius White 6’3” 205 (S) 18 Wesley Leftwich 6’1” 200 (J) 26 Jake Brents 6’3” 205 (So) 19 Keyon Dilosa 6’3” 194 (F) 43 Cameron Chancey 6’0” 180 (J) 38 Nicalus Rhone 5’10 170 (RSF)