3 reasons why Missouri Football will be better in 2024

Mizzou football is on the rise
Tennessee defensive back Gabe Jeudy-Lally (1) tackled Missouri wide receiver Luther Burden III (3) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 11, 2023 in Columbia, MO.
Tennessee defensive back Gabe Jeudy-Lally (1) tackled Missouri wide receiver Luther Burden III (3) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 11, 2023 in Columbia, MO. / Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY

As we approach the heart of summer, training camps have begun ramping up with football season right around the corner. And for the University of Missouri, their 2024 campaign will be the most anticipated in over a decade. Missouri will be riding an all time high after defeating Ohio State 14-to-3 in the Cotton Bowl Classic last year. This capped an 11 win season for just the fifth time in school history.

Despite losing six players to the draft, and a handful of others to the portal, Missouri was able to replace all of their talent. With new NIL regulations changing the landscape of the sport, the Tigers have taken full advantage of the system. Coach Drinkwitz has done a fantastic job of managing St. Louis, and Kansas City recruits, keeping the top high-school talents from Missouri in the state.

It will be fun to watch as Missouri's expectations are through the roof. With the new college football playoff format implemented, it feels like now is the time for Mizzou. Here are three reasons why Missouri will be improved from last season to this.

1. Missouri retained talent at their skill positions

Brady Cook
Dec 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) pretends to take a photo of running back Cody Schrader (7) after he scored a touchdown during the third quarter of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against the Ohio State Buckeyes at AT&T Stadium. Ohio State lost 14-3. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

When you look at the 2024 roster, outside of Cody Schrader, Missouri will be returning a majority of their skill position players from last season. Brady Cook will still be under center with the likes of Luther Burden, Theo Wease, and Brett Norfleet all returning as well. Burden is a pre-season all american, while Wease will look to play a similar role to last season as a solid second option. Brett Norfleet is a name to invest in, as the tight end snagged three touchdowns in his freshman season last year. He is expected to be an elite talent heading into his sophomore campaign. The importance of returning players in the new era of college football may go overlooked, but it is something that Missouri will look to capitalize on in 2024. 

In order to replace Schrader, Missouri gave themselves multiple talented options. The first move they made was adding Marcus Carroll from Georgia State, who was 10th across all of college football in rushing yards in 2023. Carroll will be competing with Kewan Lacy, a four-star running back from Dallas, Texas. Lacy and Carroll should compliment each other well, and it will be fun to watch the development of both throughout the season.

2. Missouri filled their defense with elite talent

Darius Robinson
Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson greets NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and shows off his Arizona Cardinals jersey after he was picked in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft at the NFL draft theater in Detroit on Thursday, April 25, 2024. / Eric Seals / USA TODAY NETWORK

Missouri’s defense went out with a bang last season, holding Ohio State to just 3 points in the Cotton Bowl. Though they were dominant all year, and saw five players selected in the NFL Draft. The losses of Darius Robinson, Ennis Rakestraw, Ty’ron Hopper, Kris Abrams-Draine, and Jaylon Carlies surely should hurt Missouri in 2024, unless they don’t. Missouri has done a spectacular job recruiting talent through the transfer portal in order to replace all of those stars. The Tigers brought in LB Khalil Jacobs (South Alabama), LB Jeremiah Beasley (Michigan), DL Zion Young (Michigan State), LB Corey Flagg Jr. (Miami-Florida), DL Chris McClellan (Florida), and DB Toriano Pride (Clemson), all of who are expected to come in and make an instant impact on the defense. It might sound crazy, but the defense could be even better in 2024, even despite all the losses including their Defensive Coordinator, Blake Baker. Following the departure of Baker, Missouri went out and hired Corey Batoon, who has been a coordinator for 32 years, most recently at South Alabama. His aggressive defensive style should bode well for the young and hungry defensive backs.

3. Missouri plays a favorable schedule in 2024

Apr 4, 2024; Cleveland, OH, USA; A SEC logo billboard prior to the NCAA Women's Final Four. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes a little bit of luck is greatly appreciated in college football, and that is certainly the case for Missouri in 2024. The Tigers play a light non-conference schedule this season, featuring Murray State, Buffalo, and Boston College. According to Vegas, the Tigers will be a touchdown favorite in all but three games in this upcoming season. The three games will be at Texas A&M (Oct. 5th), at Alabama (Oct. 26th), and vs Oklahoma (Nov. 9th). Missouri is very fortunate to have dodged the likes of Georgia, Ole Miss, Texas, Tennessee, and LSU. This scheduling break for Missouri comes at a perfect time for the program. This sets them up to build the foundation of a sustainable football program for years to come. 

Missouri will come into 2024 with a boat load of confidence, and after a productive off-season, it is tough to say they shouldn't feel this way. With key additions on defense, a returning offensive core, and a favorable schedule this season, the Missouri Tigers are expecting to compete for a national championship. Elijah Drinkwitz has done something special in Columbia, and the fan’s have fully bought into this team. Not to mention, the players can sense something special happening as well. Vibes are high at the University of Missouri going into the 2024 football season.