Missouri Tigers Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Luther Burden III, Brady Cook

    After a surprising 11-2 finish last year, the top 10 returning players for the Missouri Tigers look to repeat that success in 2024.

    After a breakthrough season in 2023, the Missouri Tigers want to repeat that success this year. With a big chunk of returners back on the offensive side of the ball, fans can expect more fireworks in 2024.

    Eli Drinkwitz’s team is in store for a tougher challenge with the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns joining the SEC, but the Tigers have plenty of talent returning to navigate that path. We dive into the top returning players for the Tigers in 2024.

    Missouri Tigers’ Top 10 Returners 2024

    10) Mookie Cooper, WR

    One of the biggest shifts we saw in the SEC was Missouri’s passing attack, which went from 91st in the country to 38th. Much of that was about the quarterback, but the Tigers wide receivers also took steps forward to make that happen. Missouri averaged 262.3 yards per game through the air, and they could beat that number in 2024.

    Mookie Cooper put up new career highs in catches (36), yards (447), and yards per catch (12.4) in 2024. He’s not the biggest receiver at 5’9″, but he’s shown the ability to make contested catches against bigger defenders.

    9) Chuck Hicks, LB

    Missouri’s defense took some major hits thanks to the 2024 NFL Draft, but that was expected. A group that finished 34th in total defense and 25th in scoring defense saw multiple players leave for the NFL, but there’s still talent returning to continue that success.

    Linebacker Chuck Hicks wasn’t in the spotlight much last year, but he provided steady play at linebacker. Most teams keyed on former linebacker Ty’ron Hopper, which helped Hicks produce 53 tackles and 11.0 tackles for loss last year. He now takes over as one of the leaders of the defense, and could post even better numbers in 2024.

    8) Marquis Johnson, WR

    It’s hard to include someone in a list when they only caught 13 passes in 2023. Typically, that means they weren’t a primary target for their quarterback, and Marquis Johnson fits that description. So why is he eighth in our top returning players list?

    When you turn 13 catches into 383 yards and three touchdowns, people tend to notice. Johnson averaged 29.5 yards per catch for the Tigers last year, an incredible display of explosive efficiency despite limited targets. Players like this tend to see more touches the next year, so expect Johnson to see the ball more this year.

    7) Toriano Pride Jr., CB

    The former four-star Clemson cornerback hit the transfer portal this offseason and found a new school closer to home. He played in 26 games with the Tigers, producing 36 tackles, eight passes defended, and one interception.

    Pride’s looking for a more prominent role, and he’ll find that with the Tigers. With Kris Abrams-Draine and Ennis Rakestraw off to the NFL, the Tigers need help at corner. Pride is a fluid player who should step in and snag one of the starting spots.

    6) Marcus Carroll, RB

    Georgia State’s star running back used a career year to his advantage, turning it into a Power Five opportunity. Marcus Carroll ran for 1,350 yards and 13 touchdowns last year for the Panthers and joins Appalachian State running back Nate Noel as a potential replacement for Cody Schrader.

    MORE: 2024 Missouri Tigers Football Roster

    Carroll can be an explosive runner and brings multiple years of experience to the Missouri offense. He also took on a more prominent role as a pass catcher with the Panthers last season, which could help him get more touches in the Tigers offense.

    5) Daylan Carnell, DB

    The cornerback position is under the spotlight thanks to the departures of Abrams-Draine and Rakestraw, but the Tigers have options to replace them. Daylan Carnell has played all over the secondary for this defense and has produced 83 tackles, 13 passes defended, and four interceptions in his career.

    He gives the Tigers defense good size at 6’2″ and 211 pounds, so it’s just a matter of where the staff wants to put him. He can play corner, safety, and star for the Tigers, which will help if they find holes that need patching at certain positions.

    4) Theo Wease Jr., WR

    Everyone knew what the passing attack could do, but the staff knew they needed more weapons to emerge to create depth at receiver. Former Oklahoma transfer Theo Wease Jr. was identified as a potential key piece, and he proved to be exactly that in 2023.

    Wease brought over 1,000 yards receiving from his four years with the Sooners, and got right to work being a reliable target for the Tigers. He caught 49 passes for 682 yards and six touchdowns last year and should take on a bigger role in 2024.

    3) Johnny Walker Jr., DE

    Johnny Walker Jr. got off to a hot start through his first seven games with 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, but he cooled off towards the end of the year. He rediscovered that form in the Cotton Bowl versus Ohio State, giving fans hope that he’ll put a full year together of those numbers in 2024.

    2) Brady Cook, QB

    There weren’t many players that silenced the doubters more than Brady Cook last year. After a 2022 campaign where he threw for 2,739 yards and 14 touchdowns, there were concerns about his ability to repeat that success.

    He took a step forward in his development as a passer, proved to be a reliable runner still, and saw his receivers take huge strides in 2024. All that led to a year in which he threw for 3,317 yards and 21 touchdowns while running for 319 yards and eight more scores. If he can take another step, the Tigers are in great hands.

    1) Luther Burden III, WR

    It’s safe to say that everyone expected more from Luther Burden III in his freshman campaign. He caught 45 passes but only averaged 8.3 yards per catch, leaving the fanbase wanting more.

    They got what they wished for in his sophomore season, and now fans are hoping he can take another step this year.

    KEEP READING: 2024 SEC Power Rankings

    Eli Drinkwitz and his staff found the magic formula to let Burden break out in 2023, and they did so by lining him up all over the field. The result was a season in which he caught 86 passes for 1,212 yards (14.1 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns. If there’s more in the tank for 2024, the SEC’s in big trouble.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles