2010 Tiger Position Preview: Receivers

The Tigers will be looking for play-makers this fall. We preview the contenders.

Likely 2010 Pre-Season Depth Chart

X WR
5   Rolandis Woodland  6'3" 200 (So)
2   L'Damian Washington  6'4" 180 (RSF)
16 Brandon Gerau  6'0" 175 (J)
85 Marcus Lucas  6'5" 205 (F)
80 Terry Dennis  6'3" 205 (J)
22 Joe Plevel  6'0" 200 (So)

H WR
29 Jerrell Jackson  6'1" 190 (J)
28 T.J. Moe  6'0" 190 (So)
9   Kerwin Stricker  6'2" 195 (RSF)
88 Jimmie Hunt  6'1" 195 (F)

Z WR
8   Wes Kemp  6'4" 225 (J)
14 Jaleel Clark  6'5" 215 (RSF)
3   Gahn McGaffie  5'10" 185 (So)
21 Bud Sasser  6'3" 200 (F)
33 Drew O'Connell  6'0" 190 (F)

TE  
82 Michael Egnew  6'6" 225 (J)
87 Andrew Jones  6'5" 235 (J)
86 Beau Brinkley  6'5" 220 (J)
81 Eric Waters  6'4"  220  (F)
84 Alex Sanders  6'5" 225 (RSF)
89 Matt Hoch  6'5" 245 (F)

While the QB is the focal point of Missouri's spread offense, it's the guys catching the ball who are the play-makers. The Tigers' QB/Receiver interaction has often been described by Coach Pinkel as "playing catch", since that's the most fundamental aspect of Missouri's passing game. Let's take a look at the play-makers with whom Blaine Gabbert will be playing catch this season.

Missouri returns two starting WRs from last season in juniors Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp. Entering fall camp, those two will likely be joined in the starting line-up by TE Michael Egnew, who made the conversion from WR this spring. Egnew and Kemp are both excellent blockers on the perimeter, and have shown glimpses of their play-making ability. Kemp has the size speed combo that portends an NFL career, but needs to display consistency catching the football. Egnew's becoming one of Blaine Gabbert's more reliable receivers, and has shown real toughness in run after catch. Jackson's been a star in waiting, and now is the time for him to shine.

We may see sophomore Rolandis Woodland open camp as the third starting WR. He took over and held onto that spot during the spring. He's the Tigers' best deep threat, but like Kemp, will need to improve his consistency catching the football. Other prime candidates for a starting receiver's role include sophomore T.J. Moe, red-shirt freshman L'Damian Washington, and returning starting TE Andrew Jones. Jones sat out spring ball as he rehabbed from off-season shoulder surgery, and will re-enter the mix for a starting job this fall. Moe played sparingly last season, but made tremendous strides as a play-making receiver over the winter and spring. Look for T.J. to catch a lot of balls this year. And, that's just the beginning of the play. Washington is another star in waiting. He possesses enormous play-making ability, and is one of Missouri's fastest and most sure-handed receivers.

There's room in the playing rotation for a couple of more WRs and another TE. Does freshman TE Eric Waters build on his impressive spring showing, and enter the playing rotation? Other TE candidates include junior Beau Brinkley, red-shirt freshman Alex Sanders, and freshman Matt Hoch.

Filling out the playing rotation at WR is going to provide for some very interesting competition throughout fall camp. In recent years, the Tigers have usually played six or seven WRs, with five or six doing most of the receiving. Among the leading competitors to break into the playing rotation are red-shirt freshmen Jaleel Clark and Kerwin Stricker, and freshmen Marcus Lucas, Bud Sasser, and Jimmie Hunt. This will be an interesting and fun group to watch.

Among the other candidates competing at the WR position for Missouri are sophomore Gahn McGaffie, and walk-on juniors Brandon Gerau and Terry Dennis, walk-on sophomore Joe Plevel, and walk-on freshman Drew O'Connell.

This is an exciting time of transition at the receiver position for Missouri, after three straight years with All-Americans catching passes for the Tigers. Now, it's time for the next group of play-makers to emerge.

Analysis: While the Tigers may not return a lot of experience at the receiver position, they will have a good deal of talent to try and give experience to for 2010.

Jerrell Jackson has the first opportunity to become the go-to replacement receiver vacated by Danario Alexander. He has seen the field the most and has shown flashes that have had people expecting big things from him since his arrival.

Wes Kemp and Rolandis Woodland both came in with a good amount of fan fair and now will be the time for them to showcase their abilities.Both had good springs ,and Woodland showed some very nice big play ability including the option of throwing the ball more downfield and utilizing Gabbert's big arm.

Second year players Moe, Washington and Stricker all have the tools to contribute this year. Of that group T.J. Moe has set himself apart and had the look of a clutch receiver who could become someone you throw to when you need a first down. Very good hands and makes yards after the catch.

What is intriguing is that they will be adding three very talented and athletic freshman wide receivers to the mix as well. Marcus Lucas has the physical tools to be a factor as a true freshman, and Bud Sasser and Jimmie Hunt do not appear to be too far behind.

 

There also appears to be competition at the TE position. Andrew Jones returns and is expected to be healthy after missing the spring due to injury. In his absence Michael Egnew made the most of his opportunity and regularly wowed us in attendance with his ability to catch the ball and then make a play with it afterwards. He looked bigger, strong and more physical in providing a challenge for defenders to bring him down.

Beau Brinkley and true freshman Eric Waters also provide options for 2010. Brinkley has good hands and Waters looks to have the makings of a future star at the position. Physically he appears ready to play now.

Alex Sanders and freshman Matt Hoch round out the position. Hoch is a physical,tough blocker who provides defenders a battle as they try to tackle him.

Overall it appears that the Tigers will have a nice collection of playmakers who only need to prove their talents in game situations.


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