Missouri seems to reload every year yet the program has never had enough talent to get over the hump and into a BCS game. For years they had to deal with title contenders from the Big 12 South. This year, like last season, the stumbling block will be Nebraska. Yet with that they have two burgeoning underclassmen stars.
Blaine Gabbert is everything former Tiger star Chase Daniels was not; big and strong armed with the ability to make all the throws. Gabbert has terrific pocket presence, powers the ball into targets and gets the pass into the tight spots. He easily dives the deep ball and does a terrific job commanding the offense. Gabbert also lacks polish and his poor accuracy is worrisome. He constantly has receivers leaving their feet to make the reception, does not display a sense of timing and makes poor throws under the rush. He offers an upside but needs a lot of work on his game.
Tackle Dan Hoch is a fundamentally sound blocker best in a small area. Terrific with his hands, he jolts opponents at the point of attack and easily controls them once engaged in a block. Hoch keeps his keeps his feet moving, stays square and blocks with leverage. He displays no skill sliding out to protect the edge from his right tackle spot yet is a solid strong side/right tackle prospect.
Derrick Washington is slightly underrated in our opinion. He runs with nice degree of quickness, shows resiliency carrying the ball and the ability to adjust off the initial hit, regain his balance then continue his run. He also consistently makes the reception away from his frame. Washington will also get out front and block if necessary.
Tim Barnes is a terrific position and seal blocker at center. He keeps his head on a swivel, blocks with a nasty attitude and always looks for someone to hit. Barnes possesses better-than-average footwork in space and flashes skill blocking in motion.
Aldon Smith is a rising star on defense. Smith possesses terrific first step quickness, a solid change of direction and the ability to makes plays in every direction of the field. Smith can drop off the line and effectively play in space, displays terrific edge speed as well as a lot of explosion in his game. He’s a tremendous prospect and reminds us of a number of very athletic and special college pass rushers who were selected early in the draft then made their mark on the NFL.
Jacquies Smith is another smallish defender who flashes explosion and the ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Not as athletic or sudden as his younger teammate, this Smith is also a legit NFL prospect.
Andrew Gachkar is a solid weakside prospect who makes plays sideline to sideline and displays ability in pursuit. He has adequate strength with the ability to get off blocks then slide to the inside and defend the run.
Kansas State returned to competitiveness with Bill Snyder back in charge and the team just missed out on a bowl bid last year. They return with one of the highest rated running backs in the senior class, and a prospect that promises to draw a lot of debate.
Daniel Thomas is highly rated by a number of scouting services yet in our opinion, he’s an upright interior, ball carrier with minimal upside. Thomas shows toughness in his game, keeps his feet moving up the field and possesses a decent amount of strength in his running. His game offers minimal quickness, he lacks the ability to turn the corner and his tall running style leads to a lot of heavy hits. We project Thomas as a second or third running back on an NFL roster.
Clyde Aufner is a solid young prospect who blocks with good fundamentals. Keeping his pads low, he gets leverage on opponents and is a solid position blocker. Aufner displays the ability to gets out to the second level then hit a moving target. He possesses above average strength and controls opponents once engaged in a block.
Raphael Guidry is a nice athlete on the defensive line and a one-gap tackle who plays with a good degree of quickness.
Kansas State Pro-Prospects
Its’ Jayhawks under new management as Turner Gill, one of the brightest young coaches in the country, looks to pick up the pieces from the Mark Mangino mess. There’s not a great amount of talent on the roster but Gill will get them to play over their heads. We are particularly fond of two junior offensive linemen.
Tackle Jeff Spikes is an impressive looking blocker with a large frame. He’s a strong lineman that shows terrific punch with his hands and makes good use of angles, which makes it a struggle for opponents to get around his wide body. He must improve the details of his game but has next level potential.
Jeremiah Hatch manned the left tackle spot as a freshman before moving to center last year. He moves well on his feet and displays the ability to redirect to linebackers on the second level. Hatch must improve his overall strength and learn to finish blocks but we like his upside.
Senior cornerback Chris Harris is a nice sized defensive back that physically beats down opponents to defend the throw. He displays a nice move to the ball and shows some toughness defending the run. He does not show great top-end speed and though he works to make plays, Harris possesses marginal ball skills.