The Replacements: Danario Alexander

In what will become a continuing series of articles on InsideMizzou.com, see how the Tigers will attempt to replace 9 key players lost from the 2008 team going into 2009. This time we look at how senior receiver Danario Alexander will attempt to replace the dynamic playmaker that was Jeremy Maclin.

Danario Alexander probably has the toughest job on the Missouri football team in 2009. Alexander is the one that has to step into the giant shoes that Jeremy Maclin left when he bolted to the NFL after his sophomore season. Maclin was one of the most (if not THE most) dynamic receivers in Missouri football history. Let's look at his numbers in the 2 years he played at Mizzou.

Maclin in 2007: 80 receptions, 1055 yards, 9 touchdowns

Maclin in 2008: 102 receptions, 1,260 yards, 13 touchdowns

Maclin was a one-of-a-kind talent Mizzou probably wont see again for a long time, so I am fairly certain that no receiver on the current Missouri team will come even close to these numbers this season. There will no doubt be a drop off in production from the #1 receiver slot because Maclin was so great. The projected #1 target for the Tigers this season is Danario Alexander, who will be entering his senior year in 2009, so he isn't necessarily a new face, but he will be counted on to be the #1 threat for Blaine Gabbert this season.

The new number one option for the Missouri offense has had his fair share of injury trouble over the past 2 years, which has probably hindered his development. Alexander tore his ACL in 2007 Big XII Championship Game, reinjured it in the summer of 2008 and sat out spring practices this season to let the knee fully heal. Through the course of the 3 years he has played with the Tigers, he has shown flashes of being a legitimate scoring and receiving threat. With that said, he needs to be healthy and consistent to be dangerous in 2009, two things he hasn't accomplished in his time at Missouri.

It was a good move by the Missouri coaching staff to let him sit throughout spring practices to avoid reinjuring his knee, so hopefully that cautiousness will pay off in 2009. The reason Alexander is still being considered the number 1 receiver even though his health has been such a question mark is because of his great measurables and good production when he has been healthy. Alexander is tall (6-5), has good speed (4.5 40 time) and has great jumping ability (46.5 inch vertical). Obviously the talent is there for Alexander to be a #1 threat on a contending team in the Big XII, but the big question is can he stay healthy in 2009?

It's hard to predict what Alexander will do because in 2009 I don't know how he will react to being "the guy" and I don't know how healthy he can stay. If Alexander can stay healthy all throughout the season, I predict he will get 50-60 catches for 700-800 yards and 7 TD's, pretty acceptable numbers for Maclin's replacement. Even though he could get these numbers, I think he might battle some nagging injuries throughout the season, which could lessen his numbers.


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