One of the biggest questions facing Missouri as the Tigers began Spring Football was centered around the relative lack of experience and returning production at the wide-receiver position. So far this spring, sophomore Nate Brown has missed all but the very first practice. The veteran of the position group is fifth-year senior Wesley Leftwich. Thus far during his Missouri career, the former track athlete has 3 receptions for 36 yards, and he has twice been named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. This spring, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Wes and he talked about preparing for his final season at Mizzou.
“It’s the last hurrah,” admitted Leftwich, who recently has enjoyed what is for him an unprecedented stretch of good health. “I’m trying to make it a great one.”
At around 210 pounds, Leftwich is bigger and stronger than he has ever been. In recent testing, he ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash and posted a 43” vertical jump, top go along with 25 reps at 225 pounds and a maximum of 390 pounds in the bench press.
Leftwich began the spring number one at the Z WR position, which is always on the right side.
“I was X earlier in my career,” explained Leftwich. “But that was when we switched sides anyways. I mean, now since I’m so conditioned to running routes on the right side, it just kind of feels awkward on the left………………………………………. I’m always on the right side of the field at the Z, and the X is always on the left.”
The current grad student is not only the old man among Missouri’s young wide receiver corps, he admits that for the first time, he’s the leader in the room.
“We’re obviously young at receiver right now,” explained Leftwich. “But I think we’re all capable of doing just like what Bud (Sasser) and them had to do last year, and step up and make plays. I mean, we’re (developing) chemistry right now with Maty (Mauk), so that’s the best part about spring, is just building that chemistry…………………………………………… There’s no set leader in the room. Anybody can step up. But right now, being a senior. I mean, they’re so young, you need somebody up there to lead. And I know what it takes…………………………………………… We’re young, but we’re extremely talented.”
That last sentence concurs with opinions expressed by several within the program regarding Missouri’s young wide receiver corps. From what I’ve seen, not only is this group of youngsters very talented, there are even more talented ones due to arrive in a couple of months.
Leftwich said that for the wide receivers, the spring is mostly about developing that chemistry and timing with the quarterback, to get on the same page with Maty Mauk. Then, they’ll have all summer to continue to build that chemistry.
“It’s all about timing to get that ball in there,” explained Leftwich. “So, the more chemistry we build in the spring, the better we’ll be in the fall.”
Leftwich is working to have a break-out type senior season. He’s gotten better at catching the football, and physically, he’s as formidable as any of Missouri’s receivers. He’s become one of the more reliable receivers.
“I love the competition,” said Leftwich. “It just pushes me harder to maintain my spot, and to bring my A game every day.”