The positional breakdown series continues as we look at the wideouts that will line up for the Tigers this season. The wide receiver core isn’t deep, but they possess plenty of talent to make noise in the SEC.
Last season, Missouri had a very stagnant offense. Most of the inconsistency came from the quarterback position, as there were many playmakers lined up at wide receiver.
While this year’s wideout corp isn’t extremely deep, whoever is under center will have plenty of solid targets to throw to.
WR1: Damon Hazelton Jr. – 6’2″ 215 lbs (Sr.)
Hazelton joins Missouri as a grad transfer from Virginia Tech. The big receiver had a down year last season after only appearing in nine games. However, his junior season saw him put up over 800 yards to go with eight touchdowns.
Despite missing time last season, he once again recorded eight scores. Much like last year’s grad transfer Jonathan Nance, I expect Hazelton to be a great redzone target. At 6’2″ he has enough size to win jump balls over smaller cornerbacks. Without many other similar options on the offense, expect Hazelton to frequent the endzone.
WR2: Jalen Knox- 6’0″ 196 lbs (Jr.)
With Jonathon Johnson graduating, Knox will take over as the big play receiver for the Tigers. Last season, his 16.2 yards per catch were the second highest on the team. His production last year did dip after a very strong freshman year, but I expect new head coach Eli Drinkwitz to utilize Knox’s abilities.
As arguably the teams top deep threat, I expect Knox to easily put up the best numbers of his career. He has only scored four touchdowns in two years at Mizzou, but don’t be surprised if he scores more than that this season alone.
WR3: Barrett Banister- 6’0″ 200 lbs (RS Jr.)
This is where this list gets difficult to predict. Based off of last season, I’d expect Banister to be included in the offense. He caught 27 passes for over 200 yards last season and a score. He has plenty of competition with experienced guys like Dominic Gicento and Micah Wilson, and there’s a plethora of freshman on the roster as well.
Banister plays hard though, and I think Drinkwitz will use him plenty while the younger guys learn the ropes.
The incoming freshman class includes Jay Maclin, Chance Super, J.J. Hester, Kris Abrams-Draine, Jaylon Carlies, CJ Boone, and Maurice Massey. While Boone and Massey redshirted, that still leaves five freshman receivers behind seven other receivers.
If any receivers were to make an impact as a freshman, I’d expect it to be Hester, Luper, or Abrams-Draine. Hester has tons of skill, but with so many receivers on the roster, none of these guys will be pressured to produce immediately.
The fan favorite is of course Jay Maclin, cousin of Mizzou legend Jeremy Maclin. It may take longer for him to develop, but he may get some snaps throughout the year as Missouri fans are boiling over with excitement to have another Maclin on the team.