Thursday, February 21, 2013
Offseason spotlight: Missouri
By Edward Aschoff
We're talking about the Missouri Tigers, as we continue to look at players around the league who need to have big offseasons in 2013:
Spotlight: Quarterback James Franklin, 6-2, 230 pounds, rising senior
2012 summary: After enjoying a breakout sophomore season in 2011, Franklin battled injuries during Missouri's first year in the SEC and played in just nine games (eight starts). Franklin passed for 1,562 yards and 10 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He also carried the ball 88 times for 122 yards (1.4 yards per carry).
The skinny: Franklin's SEC debut -- like Missouri's in general -- wasn't exactly a successful one. He entered the season with hopes of being one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the conference, but after suffering his second shoulder injury of the year in Week 2 against Georgia, Franklin was never the same. He lost some confidence in his throwing ability and later suffered a knee injury and a concussion. It was a very rough year for Franklin, but this might be most important spring of his Missouri career. It's his last go-round with the Tigers and he'll have some heavy competition to battle heading into the fall. Corbin Berkstresser, who will be a junior this fall, is back after playing in 10 games and starting four of them. But keep an eye on Maty Mauk, who redshirted last season. He's perfect for Mizzou's offense and was a highly-touted recruit in the Tigers' class last year. He'll certainly get his shot this spring and could really challenge for the starting job. Franklin has a ton of experience, and when he's healthy, he's shown that he can be a heck of a player, but he has to have a big spring and offseason in order for the Tigers' offense to get going under him. If he lags, so will the offense, as long as he's in charge. He'll be pushed, which is a good thing, but for Franklin to make a big jump in his second year in the SEC, he has to get healthy and regain some of the confidence he lost last fall. That all begins with a successful spring.