In less than a month, most of the remainder of the Missouri 2015 recruiting class will be on campus to begin their college careers.
In February, Missouri signed a 23-man class, two of whom have been on campus since January and who participated in Spring Football with the Tigers.
ShowMeMizzou.com takes an updated look at some of the other newcomers who will be arriving this summer.
There are three more junior college transfers expected to arrive on campus this summer, including OT Tyler Howell, DE Marcell Frazier, and TB Chase Abbington. All three JUCOs are expected to immediately compete for playing time.
Frazier and Abbington have already used a red-shirt season, so like the recently graduated Marcus Golden did when he arrived from Hutchinson Community College three seasons ago, they’ll each have three years to play three. That provides almost a certainty that we’ll see Abbington and Frazier on the field in some capacity this year.
Missouri Offensive Line Coach A.J. Ricker said that Howell is expected to begin competing at right tackle. He’s already played two seasons in junior college, so he has just two seasons left to play at Missouri. But he has yet to utilize a red-shirt, so that’s still an option for this year.
DT Terry Beckner is the one true freshman who appears to be the most assured of early playing time. Once he’s on campus, and barring injury, it seems almost a certainty that Beckner will earn his way onto the two-deep for the season opener.
There’s another freshmen defensive tackle, 6’5” 280-pound Tyler Jacobs, who will be here next month, and who is serious about developing into an early contributor.
“I can’t wait to get up to Missouri and compete,” said Jacobs. “I’m excited to get started, to finally chase that dream of championships.”
“I’m a team player,” explained Jacobs, who as a junior made the winning shot in the state championship game for his high school basketball team. “The main thing is just winning the game.”
The quality and depth of Missouri’s defensive talent may keep the rest of the freshmen on the defensive side of the football sidelined during their initial campaign as Tigers. But a very impressive summer and fall camp could catapult an individual or two into some early playing time, most likely on special teams.
And, it’s on special teams where one of the freshmen, punter Corey Fatony, is probably most likely to win a starting job.
One incoming defensive player, 6’0” 195-pound freshman cornerback T.J. Warren, told ShowMeMizzou.com that he’s looking forward to getting started at Mizzou next month.
“I’m more than excited,” said Warren. “I can’t wait to get there.”
Warren will start out at corner this year, although he thinks he could eventually end up at safety.
But besides Beckner and Fatony, it appears that it’ll be on the offensive side of the football that some of the incoming freshmen will have the best opportunity to break in to the rotation and see the field this year.
Among those who could earn their way onto the field this fall, based primarily on team needs, are all of the tailbacks and wide receivers. Interior offensive lineman A.J. Harris is a superior talent who will have to be considered, but he has a number of veterans ahead of him for what may end up being a single starting job up front.
But the Tigers usually like to have a three or four-man rotation at tailback, and heading into the summer, it’s pretty much wide open behind senior Russell Hansbrough. In addition to Abbington, freshmen TBs Marquise Doherty and Ryan Williams are expected to immediately compete for playing time. Doherty will be on campus the first week of June, and it is his intention to play football and baseball at Missouri. But within his first week on campus it appears that Doherty is likely to be selected in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft. Recently, Doherty told ShowMeMizzou.com that once he’s drafted, he will sit down with his family and look at his options.
“If the money’s right,” explained Doherty, referring to the professional baseball option. “If it does become a serious possibility, then we’ll sit down as a family and talk about it.”
Doherty said that he’s ready to get started at Mizzou.
“I’ve been ready for a couple of months,” said the 6’1” 204-pound Doherty. “It’s exciting!”
The other group of freshmen for whom the path to the field is relatively wide open is the wide receivers. Missouri may not necessarily need a true freshman receiver to play significantly this season, but heading into the summer, the Tigers don’t really have any truly established wide receivers, and return just three wide receivers with any game experience. In addition to those three, there are also four red-shirt freshmen who will be competing at the wide receiver position this fall. But at a position where the Tigers usually employ a six-to-eight-man rotation, there are multiple jobs up for grabs.
Enter what is very likely the most-talented wide-receiver class that Missouri’s signed during the Gary Pinkel era. They’re certainly the fastest group of wide receivers coming in out of high school that Coach Pinkel has signed.
Last fall, Missouri wide receiver coach Pat Washington said that he wanted to add some speed to the wide receiver position. Well, he did.
I don’t yet know if 6’2” 190-pound Ronnell Perkins will line up at wide receiver this fall, or if he’ll take his talents to the defensive side of the football, but for now, I’ll include him as a possibility among this incoming group of wide receivers. Like the others, he’s a sprinter on his high school track team. This spring, Perkins has posted personal bests of 10.64 seconds in the 100 meters, and 22.54 seconds in the 200 meters.
Last summer, 6’3” 196-pound Emanuel Hall posted an electronically timed 4.51-second 40-yard dash, along with a 41” standing vertical jump. This spring, Hall has posted a personal best of 6’9” in the high jump, as well as an 11.06-second 100 meters.
Another big wide-receiver who is expected to arrive this summer is 6’8” 200-pound Justin Smith, who this spring has posted a personal best in the high jump of 6’4”, and a personal best of 23.04 seconds in the 200 meters.
Slot receiver and return man Johnathan Johnson recently established a personal best of 10.57 seconds in the 100 meters. The 5’9” 175-pound Johnson’s personal best in the 200 meters is 21.72 seconds. He’s better known for his quickness and change of direction than his straight-line speed, but he’s plenty fast! And he has tremendous acceleration.
And speaking of tremendous acceleration, 5’11” 172-pound multi-sport athlete Richaud Floyd last spring posted a personal best of 10.35 seconds in the 100 meters. He hasn’t improved on that near-state-record time this spring, but he has posted a personal best this spring of 21.46 seconds in the 200 meters.
Floyd told ShowMeMizzou.com that he’s excited about coming to Missouri next month.
“I can’t wait to get there,” said Floyd, talking about getting started at Mizzou. “I can’t wait! I’m ready to get started.”
Floyd and Johnson were recruited to come in and play in the slot, and to help in the return game, maybe to give the Tigers some of what Marcus Murphy did. But lining up in the backfield is not out of the question for either of them, particularly Floyd, who it seems might possibly be the better fit of the two if Missouri decided they wanted to put one of those speedsters at tailback.
The incoming players are all excited to get to Missouri and get started. But they’re not the only ones who are looking forward to their arrival. The Missouri staff is looking forward to getting these guys on campus, and to beginning to develop and challenge them, and to learn more about what each of them will bring to the Tigers.