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The 2024 Missouri Tigers Might Look Like a Contender

Missouri Tigers; Oct 21, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers wide receiver Luther Burden III (3) catches a touchdown pass against South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Jalon Kilgore (24) and defensive back DQ Smith (1) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium.
Missouri Tigers WR Luther Burden III/© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

High-octane is defined as “powerful or dynamic.” That definition can certainly describe the offense of the Missouri Tigers in 2024. After holding the mighty Buckeyes of Ohio State to just three points in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl a season ago, Mizzou returns 14 starters and could easily contend for a Southeastern Conference title this season. On the offensive side of the ball, coach Eliah Drinkwitz and the Tigers will have arguably the best quarterback/receiver duo in the SEC.

Missouri's Offense

The Tigers will be led on the field by QB Brady Cook. Going into his third season as the starter, Cook passed for a career-best 3,317 yards, with 21 touchdowns and 6 INTs, and completed 66 percent of his passes. In addition, he rushed for 319 yards and 8 TDs.

Cook posted five games of over 300 yards passing, including 411 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 INTs in a 10-point loss to LSU. Also, Cook completed 70 percent of his passes five times last season. Cook threw 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first five weeks of last season, setting an SEC record of 365 pass attempts without an INT.

Cook will have all five of his top receivers from last season back on the perimeter. They combined for 202 catches, 2,922 yards and 21 touchdowns, led by All-SEC WR Luther Burden III. Burden hauled in 86 of Cook’s passes for 1,212 yards and 9 touchdowns, tops on the team. Burden recorded six games of more than 100 yards receiving, including five straight.

You do not replace 1,600-yard rusher and All-American RB Cody Schrader—you try to fill the massive void left behind. So, Drinkwitz raided the transfer portal and picked up RB Marcus Carroll (1,350 yards, 13 TDs at Georgia State) and Nate Noel (834 yards, 5 TDs at Appalachian State).

Both will run behind an experienced and talented offensive line that returns three starters from last year’s team, plus two additions from the portal. Missouri native Caden Green comes home from Oklahoma and can play guard or tackle, and former SMU and All-American Athletic Conference tackle Marcus Bryant will be a huge help in replacing All-SEC tackle Javon Foster and guard Xavier Delgado.

Missouri's Defense

The Mizzou defense returns five starters but loses defensive coordinator Blake Baker to LSU. Those five starters are spread out over all three levels of the defense and include:

  • DB Joseph Charleston: 61 tackles, 4 PBUs, 1 forced fumble

  • LB Chuck Hicks: 53 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

  • STAR Daylan Carnell: 1 INT (1 TD), 51 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 7 PBUs

  • DE Johnny Walker: 43 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles

  • DL Kristian Williams: 25 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles

In addition, the Tigers plucked LB Corey Flagg from the transfer portal. In 2023, Flagg recorded 48 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble for the Miami Hurricanes. Flagg will battle for playing time and help take the sting out of losing All-SEC LB Ty’Ron Hopper.

Missouri lost Ennis Rakestraw Jr. to the NFL, so Dreyden Norwood, Marvin Burks Jr., and Clemson transfer Toriano Pride will help Charleston lock down the Tigers' secondary.

The Schedule

According to Phil Steele, Missouri’s schedule ranks No. 62 among the toughest schedules in the FBS.

With the luck of the draw, Missouri avoids Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss and Texas, and will match up against Auburn, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Arkansas. The nonconference opponents are Murray State, Buffalo and Boston College.

The Tigers have road trips to Texas A&M and Alabama, and host Oklahoma. Those three are not exactly cupcake opponents. Missouri can win against Oklahoma and finish no worst than 10-2 or 11-1, splitting games with the Aggies and the Crimson Tide. With no divisional play in the SEC, battling for a conference title and earning a spot in the 12-team College Football Playoff is not outside the realm of possibility.





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