They’re still around and are playing a larger role than any of us expected
Despite the herculean recruiting efforts of Eli Drinkwitz’s staff and a hyper-active transfer portal, there are still players on the Missouri roster that were offered a scholarship under the Odom regime. And not only are they still around but a good chunk of them are projected to be major contributors on the 2022 team.
Now, yes, each player had to weigh his options and choose to stay on the team after the regime change, and, yes, the Drinkwitz staff had to choose to keep them on the team and blah blah blah…point is, I’m classifying any player who committed to Mizzou and earned their scholarship before November 30th, 2019 as an Odom guy and anyone who earned their scholarship after that date as a Drinkwitz guy. Cool?
With that bifurcation of the roster established, we’re going to review the offensive and special teams players left on the roster this week and then follow up with the defensive players next week. Without further ado, here are the offensive players and special teamers recruited by Odom:
Barrett Banister – Wide Receiver – Graduate Student
Missouri’s most experienced receiver on the roster is the former walk-on from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Banister has played in 35 games and caught 93 passes on 123 targets and is a steady 3rd-down conversion machine. He’s not a burner or a game-breaking talent but he is reliable and knows exactly how to maximize his skillset and role.
Brady Cook – Quarterback – Redshirt Sophomore
Cook is certainly Rock M Nation’s pick to be the starting quarterback for the 2022 season and we have Barry Odom to thank for getting him to commit. Cook hasn’t played much but, over seven games, he has shown a skill set that is certainly an intriguing improvement over last year’s QB1.
Xavier Delgado – Offensive Guard – Redshirt Senior
Delgado has been a consistent establishment at the left guard slot, starting 16 games in the 33 games of action he’s seen and logging over 1,000 snaps. He alternated with Luke Griffin last year as he dealt with an injury but is a needed piece on the line; it would be nice if someone younger overtook him but he is serviceable enough to be a worthy starter in his own right.
Tauskie Dove – Wide Receiver – Redshirt Senior
Dove was Missouri’s leading receiver in terms of yardage last year and returns for his fifth year in Columbia. As the ‘21 campaign rolled on Dove slowly became one of three receivers that the offensive staff relied on, and despite all the snaps he’s seen over his two years as a starter he’s only managed 924 yards and two touchdowns (with 0 TDs last year). He’s ditched the clunky number 86 for the smooth number 1 and, hopefully, his experience and excellent blocking ability gives him more opportunities for targets and scores.
Javon Foster – Offensive Tackle – Redshirt Senior
Missouri’s highest-rated offensive lineman (according to PFF), Foster started all 13 games last year and played all 890 snaps at left tackle. Foster is a classic college success story that we got used to in the Pinkel years: a lower-rated, overlooked recruit who is given time and develops into the position and becomes an anchor for two years.
Luke Griffin – Offensive Guard – Redshirt Junior
One of my favorite linemen, Griffin finally got extended playing time (and actual starts) last year while spelling Xavier Delgado. He’s a slightly bigger version of Delgado that has a quick burst and is particularly nasty on pulls, two things that I love to see in an interior lineman.
Drake Heismeyer – Center – Redshirt Sophomore
At this point, Heismeyer has more snaps at defensive tackle than he does at center and, with the addition of Bence Polgar, seems destined to be the third option at center. He’s finally cracked 300 pounds and has two years’ experience with a possible four more to go; he might not see playing time this year but patience could lead him to a starting role eventually.
Bobby Lawrence – Offensive Tackle – Redshirt Senior
Lawrence is a curious case to me. On the one hand, he has a mere 282 snaps over his four year career. On the other, when Hyrin White was out with an injury, it was Bobby Lawrence who was called up to replace him. Now, he went down with an injury as well so we only saw 12 snaps from him last year. But is he actually the #2 swing tackle? Or is the addition of Ma’Kyi Lee an admission that there isn’t a good option behind White?
Harrison Mevis – Kicker – Junior
Is Thiccer the best player Odom recruited to Mizzou? Maybe? And obvious kudos to Drinkwitz in recognizing one of the greatest kickers of all time and keeping the scholarship offer out there. It’s wild to me that Mevis will be entering his third year as the Tiger’s kicker and could play another two years after that. If he maxed out his eligibility, he could easily be Mizzou’s total points leader by quite a bit.
Mitchell Walters – Offensive Tackle – Redshirt Sophomore
The third-year sophomore saw a few snaps last year at tackle but has yet to break into the rotation and, barring a massive leap or an unfortunate series of injuries, probably won’t be seeing significant snaps in 2022 either.
Hyrin White – Offensive Tackle – Graduate Student
“Is Hyrin White going to play this season?” has been one of the more important questions of the offseason which shows how important of a player he is! He had two starts in 2019 before sitting out the 2020 COVID campaign but came back as the go-to right tackle for the ‘21 season. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go for this fall.
While there are only 11 Odom recruits left on the 41-man offensive roster, you could reasonably talk yourself into seeing those guys taking up 7 positions worth of starter-level snaps. As a reminder, the offense plus kicker is 12 players so those 11 guys that make up 27% of the offensive roster could represent 58% of the offensive starter spots.
Obviously, “starting” doesn’t mean much but starter-level snaps is what we’d be looking at. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the highly-rated blue-chip recruits finally unseat the Odom holdovers or if Drink continues to go to the well of the older/more experienced players to get the job done.
Next week we’ll take a look at the defense!