Missouri Tigers Top Prospects for 2012 and Beyond


Missouri had a heart-breaking finish to the 2010 season when they lost the Insight Bowl to the Iowa Hawkeyes in dramatic fashion, as now Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw an interception to Micah Hyde who returned it for six. Iowa’s defense stopped them again late in the game, but if not for a couple of clutch defensive plays, the Hawkeyes might have lost that game and Missouri would have a bowl win to its name. Certainly they didn’t lose for lack of an aerial attack, as Gabbert virtually carved the Hawkeye defense up during that game.

One of his favorite targets all season was the Tigers’ top prospect overall, a player who considered leaving school early, but returns as arguably the top player in the nation at his position…

82 Michael Egnew (Senior), TE, 6’6″ 240

Egnew will likely remind a lot of scouts of Jermaine Gresham, the former Oklahoma Sooners tight end and first round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals. Egnew was an absolute beast in the passing game last season, earning consensus first team All American honors after a season where he caught 90 of his 97 career passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns. Three times in 2010 Egnew had 10 or more receptions, including a game where he caught 13 passes for 145 yards. Outstanding student-athlete who will graduate in December, and follows in the footsteps of some big time pass receiving tight ends to come through Missouri in recent years. Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman really paved the way as some of the top targets of Chase Daniel, and now Egnew will do the same, but he is probably the best overall prospect of them all. Tall, lanky receiver with speed in the open field and great body control. Excellent red zone target with big hands, knows how to make the big play. Works the seam really well coming from a spread style offense, and can split out wide in the NFL and create mismatches on nickel defensive backs. Simply dwarfs defensive backs, especially around the red zone, where he will be a nightmare to cover. Will need to work on more sophisticated route running and run blocking skills to make it as a tight end in the league, but in an offense like Indianapolis that utilizes two tight ends all the time, he could be the ideal “Dallas Clark” type of player. Very long arms and a great vertical leap that will make him a fantastic asset in the passing game, and he has the frame to absolutely add 10-15 pounds of muscle and not lose any quickness or agility. Could be a first round pick in next year’s draft, but premiums are typically not placed on tight ends. He will not last past the 2nd round barring injury.

72 Elvis Fisher (Senior), OL, 6’5″ 295

Voted the team Freshman of the year in 2008, and was named first team Freshman All American. Has started 40 consecutive games for the Tigers blocking the quarterback’s blind side at the left tackle position, and will miss much of the offseason because of shoulder surgery (according to the official team site, he is not expected to miss any time in the fall). Honorable mention All Big 12 in 2009 and as a junior in 2010 voted as the team’s interior lineman of the year. Honorable mention All Big 12 in 2010 as well, and just a really solid player. Not a flashy athlete or a dominant player, but consistency is the name of his game and he should be a third round pick or better depending how deep the class of offensive linemen becomes. Could play guard or tackle in the NFL.

32 Will Ebner (Senior), LB, 6’1″ 230

Definitely not a flashy linebacker prospect, but a guy who has played for a long time and has a good head on his shoulders. Twice second team all-academic Big 12 performer. Not a tackling machine by any means, but makes smart plays and always improving as a player. Likely will be a special teams guy in the NFL, and missed quite a bit of time last year due to injury. If he can show some serious improvement and durability this year, he could sneak into the 4th-5th round range.

3 Jacquies Smith (Senior), DE, 6’4″ 255

Slightly undersized defensive end who could be a candidate to switch to outside linebacker in the NFL, not unlike former teammate and top ten pick Aldon Smith (49ers). Smith had a very solid junior campaign with 35 tackles, 10 for a loss, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, one for a touchdown. Given the team’s outstanding leadership award for an underclassman, and was named to the 2010 2nd Team All Big 12. This is a guy who could really make waves in 201o. If he really steps up his game, he could vault himself into the top 96 picks, maybe even better.

25 Zaviar Gooden (RS Junior), LB, 6’2″ 225

Watch for Gooden to really break out in 2011, if it’s even possible to top what he did as a redshirt sophomore. In 2010, he broke out wit h 84 tackles, three sacks, and two interceptions to  go along with 7.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Wears the #25 in honor of former Tiger Aaron O’Neal who passed away. He has the honor of passing the jersey down to the next linebacker who will wear it for the Tigers. Academic All Big 12 and an honorable mention All Big 12 performer. Not the best linebacker in the conference (Travis Lewis, Oklahoma) but also not too far behind. One of the most athletic players in the conference who can make plays anywhere on the field. Great speed for a linebacker, and while he is slightly undersized, he is a playmaker in every sense of the word.

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