2014 Missouri Preview: What You Need To Know
Missouri RB Marcus Murphy
Missouri RB Marcus Murphy
Posted Jun 19, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Missouri (Getty Images)

2014 Missouri Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Missouri Preview 
2014 Depth Chart & Unit Rankings To Come This Summer

What You Need To Know About The Offense: There will be a big overhaul for the nation's 16th-ranked attack after losing QB James Franklin, RB Henry Josey, and the top three receivers including Dorial Green-Beckham, but there's a tremendous array of speedsters and talents ready to step in and fill the holes. The line should be fantastic with center Evan Boehm leading the way, and Maty Mauk appears ready to blow up the passing game now that he's the full-time starting quarterback. Offensive coordinator Josh Henson has good backs to use in a rotation and promise at receiver, but the one concern might be finding consistent deep threats who could change games like DGB and L'Damian Washington did. Even so, expect plenty of big plays and for the overall production to continue.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: There's speed and athleticism, but the defense that allowed 418 yards per game could have problems for a while finding the right combination and the right starting lineup. This could be a work in progress. The pass rush will be more than fine despite the loss of Michael Sam and Kony Ealy. Markus Golden is a rising superstar, and the interior of the front four should be terrific. The back seven is a big question mark after losing most of the secondary and with a revamped linebacking corps. LB Kentrell Brothers and SS Braylon Webb should solidify the middle, but the Tigers are relying on relatively untested players to rise up and produce at corner and on the outside.

Players You Need To Know
1. DE Markus Golden, Sr.
If you're looking for the SEC's breakout defensive star, here you go. It took a while before he finally became eligible in 2012, but he still showed promise. Last season he showed he could potentially become the team's newest devastating pass rusher making 55 tackles with 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in the rotation on the end. With Michael Sam and Kony Ealy gone, watch out for Golden to do a little of everything with his 6-3, 260-pound size and great burst off the ball. Athletic, he took an interception against Toledo 70 yards for a score and found ways to get behind the line whenever he got the chance.

2. QB Maty Mauk, Soph.
The 6-0, 200-pound dual-threat playmaker has the exact skill set Missouri quarterbacks need. He has a great arm, nice mobility, and a big-time attitude – mostly in a good way. The two-time Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year was a high school bomber, but he was also a track star with superior athleticism and speed. He's not as tall as the pro scouts would like, but height wasn't a problem for Chase Daniel or James Franklin. Corbin Berkstresser was a one-time top recruit for the Tigers and this was supposed to be his time to fight for the starting job. Instead, It's all Mauk, and he should be a statistical superstar after filling in for an injured Franklin midway through last year and completing 51% of his passes for 1,071 yards and 11 scores with two picks while running for 229 yards and a score.

3. C Evan Boehm, Jr.
The leader and top hitter on a strong line, the 6-3, 315-pound veteran is a blaster of a run blocker no matter where he plays. A guard early on, now he's the main man up front starring at center – a glamour position under Gary Pinkel. There's NFL potential with the right size, strength and leadership. He might not be the star of the offense, but he'll likely be the best player.

4. SS Braylon Webb, Sr.
Versatile, he emerged as a good free safety making 64 tackles as a sophomore, and then last year he became an even bigger factor in the secondary coming up with 89 tackles with three picks and seven broken up passes. The big knock was that he didn't do enough when the ball was in the air, but that changed last season with a key interception in the Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State and several other big plays on the year. At 6-0 and 205 pounds he has decent size and great hitting ability. Expect him to go from very good to all-star caliber this year.

5. RB/KR Marcus Murphy, Sr.
A devastating return man as well as a running back, the 5-9, 195-pounder averaged 13.9 yards per punt return with three touchdowns in 2012 and was okay last year averaging seven yards per try. However, he was terrific on kickoff returns averaging 22.2 yards per try while finishing third on the team with 601 rushing yards and nine touchdown averaging 6.5 yards per pop. He's only 5-9 and 195 pounds, but he's lightning fast, versatile and dangerous no matter how he gets the ball.

6. RB Russell Hansbrough, Jr.
Fitting the Mizzou running back mold, he's 5-9, 190 pounds and can flat-out fly. Last year he got his share of work in the rotation running 114 times for 685 yards and four scores with 104-yard days against Murray State and Indiana early in the year. Marcus Murphy might be a bit more dangerous and might be used more as a receiver, he'll be a bit more of a workhorse with 1,000-yard potential behind a great line to work behind.

7. LB Kentrell Brothers, Jr.
A strong reserve in his first year, he showed off his quickness and athleticism as a star in the linebacking corps making 70 tackles with sack and 6.5 tackles for loss along with three picks. A good, tough starter, he was one of the team's steadiest defenders highlighted by a ten-stop game against Georgia. While he was able to last through the season, he missed time in 2011 with a leg injury and missed time this offseason with a torn labrum. At 6-1 and 240 pounds he has size to go along with his speed, and this year he should be an all-star and the leader of the front seven.

8. WR Bud Sasser, Sr.
With 6-2, 210-pound size and amazing speed, all the tools are there. Now it's time to rise up and become the No. 1 target for a receiving corps that loses the top three targets. Mostly known for his all-timer of a stat catching one pass for 101 yards and a score two years ago against Vanderbilt, he caught 26 passes for 361 yards and a score last season making a few grabs per game. It's his spot at the Y, and he should put up huge numbers.

9. WR Jimmie Hunt, Sr.
Is he ready to shine? The 6-0, 215-pound veteran caught 22 passes for 253 yards and a score, but he was a part of a rotation more than a main man. That's about to change. Dangerous, he returned a kickoff for a score two years ago against Tennessee and averaged 18.1 yards per grab. Last season he didn't make as many big plays, but he has the speed and the experience to come up with at least 50 catches.

10. NG Lucas Vincent, Sr.
Tremendously strong, he has the strength and toughness, and he showed it off last year as he took over a starting job on the inside. At 6-2 and 305 pounds he's not massive for an SEC nose guard, but he's big enough to hold his own making 34 tackles with 1.5 sacks and five tackles for loss. He can play either tackle job and can occupy the nose as an anchor. While he might not be an all-star, he'll be a vital part of the strong line.

- 2014 Missouri Preview