Offense — A new face, with some familiar players
This year’s Missouri Tigers have a new face at quarterback, but a returning group of offensive players will help ease the transition from losing a four-year starter.
Plus, the new QB they have isn’t going to be too bad.
The Tigers went out and picked up one-year rental Kelly Bryant, a former quarterback at Clemson who went 16-2 as a starter but chose to transfer last year and keep a year of eligibility. He’s using his last year to come to the Black and Gold Tigers in hopes of improving his shot at making it to the NFL. And win some games of course.
Mizzou brings back several weapons for Bryant to use. The Tigers’ arsenal consists of top tight end prospect Albert Okwuegbunam. The third-year TE chose to remain at Mizzou instead of entering the 2019 draft, and if he brings one more year of consistency, he’ll be a first-round pick in 2020.
For his career, Okwuegbunam has 72 receptions for 881 yards and 17 touchdowns. Bryant will use him as much as he can to help the Tigers move the offense.
And if teams want to focus on the tight end, Bryant can go outside or to the slot. The Tigers have options there.
At receiver, Mizzou brought in fellow graduate transfer Jonathan Nance out of Arkansas to play with Bryant. He likely will be the No. 1 WR. On the other side, Mizzou has improving sophomore Jalen Knox along with co-starter Kam Scott. The two played well their freshman season and hope to take another leap this year.
In the slot is senior Johnathon Johnson. He could end his career as the all-time leader in yards at Mizzou if he racks up 883 yards this season.
But it’s the running game that could separate this Mizzou offense from the past.
The Tigers bring back the SEC’s fourth-leading rusher in Larry Rountree III. He has 1,919 yards in his first two seasons, the most by a Mizzou Tiger ever in his first two years on campus. He’ll pair with running mate Tyler Badie, who showed splashes of talent his freshman season. They’ll join Bryant as running threats that give Missouri plenty of options to have one of the best ground games in the conference.
Another reason the running game could be exceptional is the offensive line.
Missouri is expected to have one of the best offensive lines in the SEC, with future NFL’ers Yasir Durant, Tre’Vour Williams-Simms and Trystan Castillo-Colon up front. They also have new starters Hyrin White and Larry Borom, and they are high on both.