The Missouri Tigers open camp on August 4th, which is now just 25 days away. Over the next 25 days, PowerMizzou.com is counting down the 25 players on the roster who will be most influential in determining just how good the Tigers are this season. To be clear, this is not a list of the 25 best players on the roster. It is not a list of the players that will have the biggest seasons or put up the best numbers. In reverse order, we are counting down the 25 players who we think could have the most influence on the outcome of the 12 games on Missouri's 2007 schedule.
20. Lorenzo Williams
The vitals: Lorenzo Williams opens camp as a starter at defensive tackle and the unquestioned leader of the Missouri defense. He enters his second season as a starter and will likely be a captain for the 2007 Tigers.
Career so far: Williams came to Mizzou as a linebacker, bulked up to a defensive end and then moved inside to tackle. He played very well in 2006, posting 53 tackles and six sacks, both very impressive numbers for an interior lineman. Williams has started 25 consecutive games and amassed 109 tackles over his three-year career. He has 22.5 tackles for a loss, 15 hurries, five fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles.
Why he's on the list: First of all, he should push for all-Big 12 honors if he has the season many, himself included, are expecting. More importantly, he plays the spot that could be most critical to Missouri's defensive success this season. We have harped again and again on Missouri's inability to stop opposing running games last season. That responsibility will start with Williams and Ziggy Hood. Williams made a number of big plays last season, but the rushing numbers against Mizzou indicate that he wasn't consistently good enough. The Tigers have to stop opposing ground games and to do that, they need a monster season out of Williams. If he is a first-team all-Big 12 performer, it may be one of the biggest forecasters that the Tigers are playing in the conference championship game. Finally, Zo is on the list because of what he brings outside of his ability to play football. There may not be a more likeable, or more respected, player on the entire team. He will be the leader of this defense in the locker room. He needs to get his troops ready to go.
The rest of the list so far: