Nate Latsch-Scout.com

Position Primer: Missouri Special Teams

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

Position Primer: Offensive Line

Position Primer: Defensive Line

Position Primer: Linebackers

Position Primer: Defensive backs

MISSOURI SPECIAL TEAMS

RETURNING STARTERS

http://www.scout.com/player/192051-corey-fatony?s=19

Year: Sophomore

Stats: Averaged 42.9 yards per punt over 81 punts and had 23 kicks inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. 

Analysis: Fatony led all freshmen nationally in punting a year ago, was named to the All-SEC freshmen team and was selected as a freshman All-American by USA Today and The Sporting News. He’s also good on kickoffs, where he averaged 62.8 yards per kick. Fatony’s strong leg is an impressive weapon for the Tigers, but the challenge for them will be to not have to use him as much as they did a year ago. 

http://www.scout.com/player/165905-aarion-penton?s=19

Year: Senior 

Stats: Averaged 7.7 yards per punt return over his 15 attempts in 2015. Returned one punt for a touchdown. 

Analysis: Penton returns as the most experienced punt returner as he had more than twice as many as the next player, Cam Hilton, had a year ago (six). Will Penton be the guy most of the time in 2015? There are plenty of candidates, but he very well could be. 

NEWCOMERS

http://www.scout.com/player/197368-tucker-mccann?s=19

Year: True freshman

Stats: NA

Analysis: McCann was recruited to be the next kicker and arrived on campus this spring with an impressive resume from his career at O’Fallon (Ill.) High School as well as the camp circuit. He was rated as the top kicker in the Class of 2016 by Kohl’s Kicking as well as the No. 5 punter. McCann gained some experience in the spring that should help him make the transition as a freshman in 2016. He’ll have big shoes to fill with the graduation of four-year starter Andrew Baggett.

Nate Latsch-Scout.com

http://www.scout.com/player/150526-alex-ross?s=19

Year: Redshirt senior (graduate transfer) 

Stats: Averaged 25.7 yards per kick return over 53 attempts the past two seasons at Oklahoma. Returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2014. 

Analysis: Ross was a very good kick returner during his time with the Sooners and could assume that role with the Tigers, unless the coaching staff wants to save him for a bigger role in the running game. Either way, the coaches should know they have Ross as a weapon as a kick returner whenever they want to put him back there.

http://www.scout.com/player/137203-chris-black?s=19

Year: Redshirt senior (graduate transfer) 

Stats: NA

Analysis: Black, the transfer from Alabama, is expected to the Tigers’ starting slot receiver but it’s possible they could use him in the return game also. He’s got the speed and quickness that could make him a threat returning punts or kicks. 

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OTHERS TO WATCH

http://www.scout.com/player/187186-cam-hilton?s=19

Year: Sophomore

Stats: Averaged 3.5 yards per punt return over six attempts in 2015. Had one kickoff return for 13 yards. 

Analysis: Hilton didn’t have a lot of success in the return game a year ago but it’s worth noting the old coaching staff trusted him enough to give him those opportunities as a true freshman. He could have a bigger role in this department in 2016.

OVERVIEW

The Tigers are set at punter, but will rely on a true freshman kicker in McCann unless that job is taken by one of the older walk-on kickers. 

The return game was a big issue a year ago and Missouri needs to be better in 2016. The Tigers averaged just 15.1 yards per kickoff return and 5.9 yards per punt return.  

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

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