As Missouri heads into fall camp 2013, ShowMeMizzou.com continues to preview the Tigers with a look at the TB position.
Twenty months removed from a devastating knee injury that cut short his magnificent 2011 season, Henry Josey is back atop the Depth Chart. This spring, the junior TB demonstrated his return to health by carrying the load during practice, as he reclaimed his starting job.
Sophomore Russell Hansbrough combines with Josey to provide Missouri with a formidable duo at the TB position. Hansbrough was one of just three true freshmen to play last year, and his play this spring earned him recognition as Missouri’s most improved TB. Hansbrough is both quick and fast (4.34 forty), and he’s effective running both inside and outside. He’s hard to catch in space, and he likes to spin away from contact. He’s also an excellent receiver, and he’s improved significantly in blitz pick-up.
The duo of Josey and Hansbrough provides Missouri with a formidable one-two punch at the TB position, which at present appears to be a position of strength for the Tigers.
It’s likely that All-American return man Marcus Murphy will get some work at TB, as well, although maybe not as much as the top two TBs. Last season, Murphy averaged 5.5 yards on 46 carries as the Tigers’ number two TB. Of course, it’s in the return game where the junior excels. Last season, he set a school record with 4 TD returns.
In addition to those three very talented TBs, Missouri has two other very capable scholarship backs who will be looking to earn their place in the Missouri backfield. Greg White is coming to camp off of an impressive spring running the football. White is not as fast as the rest of Missouri’s scholarship TBs, but the junior displayed tremendous vision as he led all of Missouri’s TBs this spring with more than 7 yards/carry.
Morgan Steward has yet to see the field at Mizzou. Like Hansbrough, Steward posted a 4.34 forty time this spring, which is very impressive speed for a 215-pound back. The first two or three weeks of competition in fall camp will be telling for the talented red-shirt freshman, as his place on the depth chart and his role for this season become more defined.
Although they probably won’t be counted on for many carries this season, Missouri brings a trio of talented walk-on TBs to camp, including Tyler Hunt, Miles Drummond, and Andrew Stevens.
20 Henry Josey 5’10” 190 (J)
32 Russell Hansbrough 5’9” 185 (So)
6 Marcus Murphy 5’9” 185 (J) 24 Greg White 6’1” 215 (J) 36 Morgan Steward 6’0” 215 (RSF)
35 Tyler Hunt 5’11” 210 (J)
39 Miles Drummond 5’11” 215 (RSF) 41 Andrew Stevens 5’9” 195 (RSF)
I’m looking for a big season on the ground from Josey and Hansbrough. And, I think Steward could be heard from in a big way by season’s end.
Final Analysis: The Missouri Tigers will have a nice stable of at least four capable backs to hand off and throw to that can make plays. While Henry Josey may not be the player he was as a sophomore, he showed in the spring that he is still talented enough to be the lead player at tailback. Hansbrough and Murphy are also talented playmakers that can pick up big chunks of yardage with their speed and quickness. Morgan Steward should be poised for a break out year, and is clearly the biggest back, and someone who can push the pile.