Nate Latsch-Scout.com

Position Primer: Missouri Offensive Line

Taking a look at Missouri’s position groups heading into fall camp…

Position Primer: Quarterbacks

Position Primer: Running Backs

Position Primer: Wide Receivers

Position Primer: Tight Ends

MISSOURI OFFENSIVE LINE

RETURNING STARTERS

http://www.scout.com/player/166138-nate-crawford?s=19

Year: Redshirt junior

Stats: Played 11 games in 2015.

Analysis: Crawford appeared in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2014 before emerging as a starter last season. He played in 11 games last season, with eight starts between right tackle and left guard. Crawford has dealt with back issues this offseason, so his availability throughout preseason practices will be one of the keys to the offensive line’s potential success. His versatility, with the ability to play multiple positions, could also help if some of the younger players struggle. 

http://www.scout.com/player/166560-alec-abeln?s=19

Year: Redshirt junior

Stats: Played in nine games in 2015.

Analysis: Abeln moved from the backup center spot to left guard for the 2015 season, when he started three games, but is now expected to move back to center for this season. His versatility, like Crawford’s, could allow the Tigers to move him back to guard if they need to. 

Nate Latsch-Scout.com

CONTENDERS

http://www.scout.com/player/167491-paul-adams?s=19

Year: Redshirt sophomore

Stats: Played in three games in 2015.

Analysis: Adams, who gained some experience a year ago, was lining up as the Tigers’ starting right tackle in the spring and would appear to be the guy at that spot going into fall practice. 

http://www.scout.com/player/191766-tyler-howell?s=19

Year: Junior

Stats: NA

Analysis: Howell was supposed to be part of earlier Missouri recruiting classes, but wasn’t able to make it to campus because of academics until January when he was officially part of Barry Odom’s first recruiting class. The 6-foot-8, 305-pounder played left tackle this spring and likely goes into the preseason as the starter at that spot. 

http://www.scout.com/player/172662-kevin-pendleton?s=19

Year: Redshirt sophomore

Stats: Played in three games in 2015. 

Analysis: Pendleton saw his game action as a redshirt freshman a year ago and could earn one of the starting guard spots going into the season. He lined up at right guard throughout the spring and will likely be there when practice begins on Thursday. 

http://www.scout.com/player/179152-sam-bailey?s=19

Year: Redshirt sophomore

Stats: Played in four games in 2015.

Analysis: Bailey was the backup at center behind Evan Boehm a year ago after Abeln was moved to guard. It’s possible that Bailey could end up starting at center this season if the Tigers feel like they need to move Abeln back to guard because of Crawford’s availability. 

http://www.scout.com/player/175307-a-j-harris?s=19

http://www.scout.com/player/188209-tanner-owen?s=19

Year: Redshirt freshmen

Stats: NA

Analysis: Harris was a highly-regarded recruit out of Kansas who redshirted his first season in Columbia. Harris and Owen both got plenty of reps this spring with the depleted offensive line depth and could contend for playing time up front this fall. 

NEWCOMERS

http://www.scout.com/player/208530-kyle-mitchell?s=19

Year: Sophomore

Stats: NA

Analysis: Mitchell, a JUCO transfer who arrived on campus this summer, will be one of the key guys to watch during fall camp. The 6-5, 310-pounder played left tackle at American River College but is projected to play guard at the Division I level. He’s a little older than typical college sophomores because he didn’t enroll in college for a few years after high school and should be more physically mature than some of Missouri’s youngsters. Can he make a quick transition to D-1 football and make an early impact? If he can, that would be great news for the Tigers. 

http://www.scout.com/player/188640-tre-vour-simms?s=19

Year: True freshman

Stats: NA

Analysis: Simms is listed at 6-5 and 300 pounds, but he’s considerably heavier than that. He may be the Tigers’ largest big man up front, which could possibly bring something different to the mix as Missouri attempts to be more of a power-running offense. The Tigers’ lack of depth up front should give Simms a chance to earn some early playing time, though how much is obviously yet to be determined. 

http://www.scout.com/player/196056-trystan-castillo?s=19

Year: True freshman

Stats: NA

Analysis: Castillo, the other high school offensive lineman the Tigers signed in February along with Simms, will also have a chance to earn some PT this season because of the lack of depth. Throwing true freshmen into action early isn’t the best-case scenario normally but if they are up to the task it’s not out of the question.

http://www.scout.com/player/209779-darvis-holmes?s=19

Year: True freshman

Stats: NA

Analysis: Holmes was a late addition to the recruiting class but it’s possible the 6-5, 315-pounder could work his way into the mix this fall. 

OVERVIEW

The Missouri offensive line lost four starters, including two NFL Draft picks in Boehm and Connor McGovern, to graduation and then lost a few more bodies for various reasons in the offseason. 

The Tigers did a good job of reloading at the position with additions like Mitchell and Holmes and are off to a strong start with recruiting more with four early verbal commitments from offensive linemen. 

How well the new-look offensive line comes together could largely determine how successful the Tigers are in 2016. The offensive line struggled a year ago with an experienced group but now several new faces will be counted on for consistent contributions. 

Nate Latsch-Scout.com

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com

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