August 7, 2006

Four newcomers eye early playing time

Very few Division One recruits go into their first year on campus expecting to redshirt. Sure, a few know it is a possibility, but deep down, every single one of them expects they will play from day one.

Obviously, that is not a realistic goal for every recruit. The majority, in fact, don't see the field in their first season. However, for a variety of reasons, there are a handful of first-year players at Missouri camp who have a very good shot to play this season. One thing none of them lack is confidence.

"They're expecting me out there," Cornelius Brown said of his chance to play.

Brown and Castine Bridges are both junior college transfers, which gives them an immediate leg up. In addition, they play a position where Missouri lost three players to graduation after last season. So it is probably to be expected that both could see the field. But a couple of more unlikely candidates for early playing time have emerged as well. Sean Weatherspoon and Danario Alexander were mentioned repeatedly by the veterans as young players who had standout summers.

"I think the way I worked in the weight room kind of spoke for itself. I was on the weights real strong back at home so when I got out here it was pretty impressive," said Weatherspoon, a linebacker from Jasper, Texas. "I'm glad the older guys are talking about me, that makes me feel kind of good."

The players took somewhat of a different route to being thought of as possible play early guys after just one practice. A few months back, Alexander had no inkling this was even possible.

"Six months ago, I wasn't as big as I am," he said. "I put a little bit more weight on. I thought I was going to red shirt really, but I got up here and had a little bit more weight on me."

Having excelled in their trials by fire, redshirt seasons are now the furthest thing from the minds of these four newcomers.

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