Originally Posted by DaKCMan AP
Great season for MU.
Who is gone next year?
I know Franklin, Washington, and Sam are gone.
Is Josey expected to declare? Anyone else?
QB James Franklin
LT Justin Britt. Likely a middle-round NFL pick, from what I've seen (4th/5th)
LG Max Copeland. Former walk-on was the weak link on the OL but brought an attitude to the group that was crucial.
WR Marcus Lucas: Steady senior was a weapon in the slot.
WR LaDamian Washington. Led the team in receiving yards and feasted off of single coverage due to teams
TE Eric Waters. Was not used as a receiving target very often but had a good year as an in-line blocker.
DE Michael Sam
DE Kony Ealy. Rs. JR has already declared for the draft. Has come a long way from the raw basketball player who barely qualified for college out of HS. Lock to be a first-round pick, may go as high as Top 10.
MLB Andrew Wilson. Steady, hard-hitting defensive captain. Didn't have great sideline-to-sideline range, but generally made the right calls, got the team in position, and delivered a blow when he arrived.
OLB Donavan Bonner. Didn't play much - he was the odd LB out in the nickel package.
CB EJ Gaines. Missouri's best corner since the 60s. 2nd-4th round pick in the draft, depending on the scout.
CB Randy Ponder. Former walk-on who was a steady starter opposite Gaines. Undersized and not that fast, but solid in run support and had good instincts.
So quite a few losses. Josey is the only other potential early entry loss, probably depends on his draft grade. I'm not sure if he declares or not. Here's a guess at what next year's two deep looks like (returning starters in BOLD, players with experience in BOLD/ITAL)
QB Maty Mauk
/Russell Hansbrough/Marcus Murphy
WR Dorial Green-Beckham
WR Bud Sasser
/Nate Brown (incoming freshman)
WR Jimmy Hunt
TE Sean Culkin/Brandon Merrifield
LT Clay Rhodes/Taylor Chappell
LG Anthony Gatti
C Evan Boehm
RG Connor McGovern
RT Mitch Morse
Offense returns 3/5 OL, good, experienced talent at WR (though it will go 6-6/6-4/6-2 rather than 6-6/6-5/6-4), a very effective RB group and a potentially dynamic QB. Big question will be who plays LT. They could slide the experienced Mitch Morse over there, but redshirt freshman Clay Rhodes has drawn rave reviews from practice and might have the highest upside on this OL.
RDE Shane Ray
/Ricky Hatley or Marcus Loud
LDE Markus Golden
/Ricky Hatley or Charles Harris
DT Matt Hoch
DT Harold Brantley
OLB Donavin Newsome/Darvin Ruise
MLB Michael Scherer/Eric Biesel
OLB Kentrell Brothers
CB Aarion Penton
/Logan Cheadle or Anthony Sherrils
CB John Gibson
S Braylon Webb
/Greg Taylor (freshman)
S Ian Simon
The defense has a pair of strong DEs in Ray and Golden - who were nearly as effective as Sam/Ealy this year - but depth behind them is a real question. The middle of the line should be ascending, with standout young guys like Brantley and Augusta joining quality vets like Hoch and Vincent.
At LB, they need to replace the man in the middle but should remain strong in the nickel set, which is the primary set. I think they're a little more athletic at the OLB spot. Secondary is a big question. Both Penton and Gibson played a lot and played well this year, but Gaines is still a big loss. They lose Matt White at S, which is addition by subtraction.
I'd expect a step back defensively, though not a complete drop-off. Offense will need to rev up to compensate.