When the Missouri Tigers take to the field in 2014, they’ll be doing it with a pretty big spotlight shining on them.
Not only is quarteback Maty Mauk a favorite to be player of the year in the Southeastern Conference– and maybe a sleeper Heisman pick– but now, four star players from the team have been named to one of college football’s biggest watch lists.
It was announced last week that Mizzou will be represented by four players on the 2014 Preseason All-SEC Team, picked by media annually at the conference’s media days.
Senior Defensive End Markus Golden was voted to the second team on the defensive line to lead the Tigers.
Golden’s performance last season was scary good, leading the defensive end unit in tackles (55) even though he only played in 40 percent of the snaps.
The St. Louis native was a Juggernaught in the defensive trenches for the Tigers in 2013, tallying 13.0 tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks and eight quarterback pressures.
The Tigers also had Center Evan Boehm, place kicker Andrew Bagget, and senior tail back Marcus Murphy picked to the third team.
Boehm has been a rock for Mizzou on the offensive line, starting all 14 games at center last season, playing a huge role in helping Mizzou’s rushing offense rank second in the SEC and 16th nationally, averaging 237.9 yards per game.
That’s good news for the Tigers’ running back, Marcus Murphy, who many expect to be a breakout performer in 2014.
Also making the third team, Murphy has 17 career touchdowns and his 3,191 career all-purpose yards ranks eighth all-time in program history, all of which have been accomplished as a backup in just three seasons on the roster.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Baggett, who is often left out when considering the Tigers’ most essential offensive players, but his numbers prove he should be in the discussion for All-SEC.
One of the conference’s most prolific kickers last season, Baggett led Mizzou with 120 points last season, which is the fourth-highest single-season total in school history. He was very accurate in 2013, hitting 18-of-25 field goal attempts and 66-of-69 on extra points.
Many unjustly blame Baggett for the Tigers homecoming loss to South Carolina, ruining the dreams of an undefeated season and ultimately forcing Mizzou out of National Championship contention.
Baggett missed a chip-shot field goal (thanks to a poorly held ball) to tie the game in double overtime. But Mizzou missed a multitude of chances to win the game earlier, blew a 17-0 lead and were dealt a really bad hand by a coaching staff that made poor decisions throughout the game.
Baggett deserves the honors of All-SEC, he’s a very talented kicker. More importantly, he’s viable for the offense. Such is the case for all four of these players that were selected.
The Tigers kick off the 2014 season at Faurot Field against South Dakota State at 2:30 p.m. on August 30.