Missouri 2022 spring game recap & video highlights

Spring has come and gone in Columbia as the SEC’s first camp to open in 2022 came to a close as Mizzou held its annual spring game Saturday at Faurot Field.

Following the conclusion of spring, some questions appear to have been answered in CoMo, while others loom large looking ahead to the third season of the Eli Drinkwitz era.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Saturday’s events in Columbia.

QB competition remains the biggest question mark

Sophomore Brady Cook and redshirt freshman Tyler Macon continue to battle for the right to start under center next season while awaiting the arrival of touted true freshman Sam Horn this summer.

Neither inexperienced signal-caller (Macon started on the road last season at Georgia, but split time with Cook in that game, while Cook started in Mizzou’s bowl loss to Army) managed to create separation this spring and it’s not hard to see why Drinkwitz went after former Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels (he’s already enrolled at LSU) and has openly campaigned for a transfer to join the competition in Columbia this offseason.

Georgia transfer QB JT Daniels was in attendance for the spring game a week after visiting Oregon State for a visit.

If you were unaware, Mizzou held a player draft prior to the spring game. Interestingly, Cook was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which would indicate his peers see him as the front-runner to earn the job exiting spring.

Based on Macon’s first pass attempt in the spring game, that would be a safe assumption.

Macon threw a pick six on his first attempt but did manage to respond following the rough start.

While Macon got off to a terrible start, Cook also had his disappointing moments, which included a bad interception on a pass thrown into double coverage in the red zone (silver lining: Clemson transfer Joseph Charleston was the defender that made the play).

Drinkwitz was clearly not happy with his QB’s decision on that one.

Both QBs showcased their ability to push the ball down the field and displayed their ability to take off and run when necessary.

Each quarterback was given an opportunity to score late in the game — here, Cook showcased why he’s the current leader in the clubhouse.

Macon converted a red zone trip into a touchdown, although his receiver may not have actually come up with the catch (the play was not reviewed).

But during the drive that decided the outcome of the game, the redshirt freshman threw an interception while driving for the game-winning score.

Those types of mistakes in critical situations is what will keep a talented player like Macon on the bench if he fails to progress this offseason.

Luther Burden is the real deal 

While the QBs left much to be desired, the player every Mizzou fan was dying to see lived up to the hype as true freshman Luther Burden appeared to be a cut above every player on the field.

That fact is even more impressive considering this was Burden’s first camp after enrolling early this offseason in Columbia.

During the broadcast, Burden was being compared to former Gamecock standout and current 49ers star Deebo Samuel and former NFL star, Dez Bryant.

Those comparisons may seem a bit over the top, but when you see Burden in action, it’s easy to see what all the hype is about.

“Man, he shows up every day and goes to work,” Drinkwitz said of Burden. “He knows he can get a lot better by coming in here every day. No matter how good he was coming in here, he knows he has to continue to improve in order to play at a high level in the SEC – and that’s what’s really impressive about him.”

Burden caught the first pass of the game. The play wasn’t spectacular, by any means, but it goes to show how integral the freshman will be to Mizzou’s offense this fall.

It didn’t take long for Burden to start making big plays, which included this fantastic sideline grab:

The freshman showed off his slick moves on this run and catch:

He follow up the drive by the first offensive touchdown of the game for his team:

Nathaniel Peat has potential to be RB1

Asking any newcomer to fill the shoes of All-American Tyler Badie would simply be asking too much but the Stanford transfer Nathaniel Peat did showcase explosiveness that’s giving Mizzou coaches hope that they have another breakout star in the backfield.

Here was Peat’s first run of the day:

That will work.

Peat has the combination of speed and explosiveness that led his predecessors Badie and Larry Rountree to post huge numbers in this offense.

If you could buy stock in a potential breakout running back in CoMo, Peat would be the perfect candidate. He possesses great speed, potential to be the next breakout running back for Mizzou.

Not to be outdone, the veteran Elijah Young showed that even at his slender frame — listed at 5’9″ 186-pounds — he has the toughness to run in between the tackles and on the goal line.

Dominic Lovett ready to emerge

If Burden and Peat both prove to be worthy of all the hype next fall, those players prove to be good enough for Mizzou to improve on the offensive side of the ball.

Potentially taking the offense from good to great, however, will require more weapons for Mizzou’s starting QB.

Based on the spring game, Dominic Lovett is ready to live up to his massive potential entering his second season with the Tigers.

A former high school teammate of Burden’s, Lovett was the game’s second most explosive player and that was despite the fact he was teamed up with the more inconsistent passer (Macon; Burden was on Cook’s team).

Lovett was used in the run game as well as the passing game early and often during the spring game.

His skillset plays well off of the more physically impressive Burden, which should prove to be invaluable for an offense that struggled to find explosive plays in the passing game last fall.

The main takeaway from Saturday’s game? If Mizzou has a capable QB this fall — whether that’s from Cook, Macon, Horn or an unknown transfer — the offense should be much improved given all the emerging talent in Columbia.

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