With the expected continued development of junior QB Blaine Gabbert 6'5" 240, the Tigers find themselves entering 2010 in fairly exclusive company within the Big 12 conference. They return an established, successful, starting QB. If you examine Gabbert's 2009 performance under a microscope, you can find plenty of rough edges. You can also find 3593 passing yards, the third most in school history, more than Chase Daniel's sophomore season. You'll also find an 8-5 record, identical to Daniel's first season as Mizzou's starting QB. That's about where the comparisons to Daniel end, primarily because Gabbert is just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential. Talent and potential that will most assuredly land Gabbert in the NFL, maybe sooner than later.
The depth and competition at the QB position in 2010 will make for an interesting spring at Missouri. The arrival in January of a pair of highly regarded freshmen QBs, James Franklin 6'2" 218 and Tyler Gabbert 6'0" 190, adds exciting ingredients to a tasty competition for the coveted back-up QB position, which includes a leg up in the battle to become Blaine Gabbert's successor.
Returning second-string QB, junior Jimmy Costello 6'3" 225, and returning third-string QB, RSF Ashton Glaser 6'1" 208, will likely enter spring ball listed 2nd and 3rd respectively, on the depth chart. Look for this competition to spill over into fall camp, as Mizzou's QB deck is re-shuffled.
Senior RB Derrick Washington 6'0" 220 returns in 2010 for his final campaign. Washington is coming off of a year in which he rushed for 865 yards and 10 TDs on 190 attempts, an average of 4.6 yds./carry. He also caught 26 passes for 156 yards. Heading into his senior year, Washington is tied with Devin West for 4th on Missouri's career rushing TDs list. His career rushing total of 2085 yards ranks 10th in school history, and he is likely to finish his career among the top 5 in career rushing yards in Mizzou history. He will undoubtedly be one of the team's leaders in 2010.
Junior RB De'Vion Moore 5'9" 195 returns after a 2009 season in which he rushed for 258 yards and 1 TD on 63 carries (4.1 yds./carry) as Washington's back-up. Moore also caught 3 passes for 13 yards.
Sophomore Kendial Lawrence 5'9" 185 rushed for 219 yards on 52 carries (4.2 yds./carry) and had 3 receptions for 49 yards as last season's number 3 RB. He also returned 12 kickoffs for 218 yards (18.2 yds./return). Lawrence and Moore will be involved in a closely contested competition heading into spring ball. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to see Lawrence begin spring practices listed ahead of Moore. I'm sure that neither of them are conceding the starting job to Washington, either. As Coach Pinkel often says, the competition will make all of them better.
Entering spring ball, junior RB Gilbert Moye 6'2" 220 will likely be listed number 4 on the depth chart, after a 2009 season in which Moye rushed for 35 yards on 6 carries, and caught 1 pass for 5 yards, in limited duty. This spring will be critical for Moye, if he's going to force his way into the mix for playing time next season. It appears that the Tigers will bring in as many as 3 freshmen in June who will start off at the RB position.