- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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Missouri Tigers lost its two pass-rushing stars from last season -- Shane Ray and Markus Golden -- but the Tigers’ production doesn’t seem likely to fall off substantially. If Mizzou remains among the SEC’s best edge-rushing teams, today’s sleeper candidate will probably play a key role.
Sleeper: Marcus Loud, DE, RSo.
Why: Harold Brantley looks like Missouri’s next dominant interior lineman and Charles Harris seems ready to take over Ray’s role as an explosive end. Those are the guys who receive most of the attention among potential breakout stars along the Tigers’ line. The “sleeper” label seems more appropriate for Loud, although he had a solid spring and seems prepared to take over a starting spot opposite Harris. Loud struggled to stay in Gary Pinkel’s good graces last year as Golden’s backup, but says he has matured now and wants to be great. If he keeps his act together, Loud certainly looks the part. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, holding up physically should not be a problem. Now it’s a matter of gaining on-field experience -- he played in all 14 games last season, but totaled just 14 tackles and one tackle for loss -- and proving he is emotionally ready to become a consistent SEC performer.
Missouri Tigers lost its two pass-rushing stars from last season -- Shane Ray and Markus Golden -- but the Tigers’ production doesn’t seem likely to fall off substantially.