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April 21, 2011

What we learned: Receivers



Missouri just finished up spring football on Saturday. Over the previous few weeks, PowerMizzou.com was at every Tiger practice. Over the next few days, we will outline what we learned at every position on the field. Today, we continue with the receivers.

Coming into spring ball, all the talk was about a bumper crop of young receivers led by Marcus Lucas, Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser. But at the end of the Black and Gold game, the starters remain the same as they did coming into spring.

T.J. Moe is a lock to start. Some thought Jerrell Jackson and Wes Kemp would be pushed by the young guys. The Tiger staff has shown that they will not hesitate to unseat an incumbent if a younger player earns the nod, but so far, that hasn't happened.

Of the trio mentioned above, Sasser probably had the strongest spring. He seemed to be the youngster who most consistently made plays. Hunt and Lucas showed flashes, but not as often as Sasser.

But a couple other receivers made their names known throughout spring ball as well. Perhaps the best spring among the wideouts went to Gahn McGaffie, who made a name for himself on special teams against Oklahoma last season. McGaffie won the award for the team's most improved wide receiver and consistently made plays in practice. L'Damian Washington also made a number of grabs throughout March and April. Both players took advantage of opportunity created when Rolandis Woodland missed the last couple of weeks with a sprained ankle and both ought to be in the mix along with all those mentioned as well as Brandon Gerau.

Similar to the situation at tailback, Missouri does not lack for experience or potential at wide receiver. But we have already mentioned ten names. There simply aren't enough passes for ten wideouts to make significant contributions. Moe, Jackson and Kemp will play a lot. McGaffie has put himself in the near-lock position to make a contribution. Two to three of the others will be in that role as well, but we will have to wait until August to figure out which ones.

At tight end, Michael Egnew was probably the Tiger most secure in his starting spot, after coming off an all-American season. But the true eye-opener of the spring was sophomore Eric Waters, who brings a combination of size and speed that no other tight end on the roster possesses. Waters has passed Andrew Jones, who seems more likely to contribute as a blocker and on special teams than a pass-catcher going forward.

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