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July 11, 2007

25 Tigers to watch: No. 24 Tommy Saunders

The Missouri Tigers open camp on August 4th, which is now just 25 days away. Over the next 25 days, PowerMizzou.com is counting down the 25 players on the roster who will be most influential in determining just how good the Tigers are this season. To be clear, this is not a list of the 25 best players on the roster. It is not a list of the players that will have the biggest seasons or put up the best numbers. In reverse order, we are counting down the 25 players who we think could have the most influence on the outcome of the 12 games on Missouri's 2007 schedule.

24. Tommy Saunders

The vitals: Tommy Saunders opens camp as a starter at wide receiver and in the mix as a punt returner for the Tigers as well. He started all 13 games last year and made 25 catches for 271 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned 11 punts for 118 yards.

Career so far: Saunders came to Mizzou as a preferred walk-on from Kearney, but very quickly earned himself a full scholarship. He has 37 catches for 370 yards and three TD's in his career. He has also returned both punts and kickoffs in his two seasons. Saunders has played in all 25 games and started 16 of them.

Why he's on the list: Saunders seems to be the guy that just keeps getting the job done, despite everyone doubting that he can. He was forced to walk on out of high school and proved he should have gotten plenty of offers. He was expected simply to be a nice backup who provided depth and he was a starter by the end of his first year of eligibility. Many fans are assuming he will get bumped from the starting lineup by one of Missouri's younger, faster, flashier wideouts. Might not want to assume that just yet. Saunders simply does everything that he is asked. He catches any ball near him. Of all the wideouts on the roster, he is probably the most reliable target on third down. In addition, Mizzou suffered in the return games last year, but Saunders was solid, including a season-long 41 yard punt return against Colorado. Our money says Saunders starts every game this season and makes a handful of huge catches.

The rest of the list so far:

25. Chase Patton

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