COLUMBIA — In May, Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson told the Kansas City Tiger Club that freshman offensive tackle Clay Rhodes, a graduate of Blue Valley High School, might find his way onto the field this fall.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
On Tuesday, offensive line coach Bruce Walker provided an update on the freshman's progress after the Tigers' sixth practice of the preseason.
"Clay is going to be a really good player," Walker said. "He’s athletic, he’s big, he’s long, he’s got pretty good feet. He’s got to learn that he can use his hands to stop people and not lean on people with his face. That’s the number one thing...all high school linemen do that.”
Walker, however, said it's still too early to say whether Rhodes, a three-star prospect according to Rivals, will actually redshirt or not, though Missouri coach Gary Pinkel recently said every freshman offensive lineman will likely need a redshirt year to get stronger.
Since tackle Harneet Gill quit the team over the weekend, Rhodes and center Alec Abeln are the lone freshman offensive linemen on the roster.
“I think they’re gonna be two really good players,” Walker said. “You’ve got to get some of those bad high school habits out of them."
Rhodes, who is listed at 6 feet 5 and 290 pounds, is currently third on the depth chart at left tackle behind senior Justin Britt and junior Anthony Gatti.
Abeln, a three-star prospect from St. Louis University High School, is listed at 6 feet 3 and 290 pounds. He is currently fourth on the depth chart at center behind sophomore Evan Boehm, sophomore Brad McNulty and junior Robert Luce.
News and notes from Tuesday's practice
• Walker said sophomore offensive tackle Taylor Chappell is still trying to knock off some of the rust after missing all of last season with a torn ACL in his left knee.
“I think he’s healthy, he just hasn’t practiced in a year,” Walker said. “He got hurt in two-a-days last year and he hasn’t been able to practice, really. So I think he’s working his way back in there.”
Chappell, who is practicing, is currently the second-team right tackle behind junior Mitch Morse.
• Freshman Charles Harris, a graduate of Lincoln Prep, worked with the defensive linemen Tuesday after spending the previous five practices with the linebackers. Harris is listed at 6 feet 3 inches and 235 pounds.
• Receivers coach Pat Washington sees plenty of potential in freshman receiver J'Mon Moore, who is listed at 6 feet 3 and 180 pounds and is currently third team on the "X" receiver depth chart behind sophomore Dorial Green-Beckham and sophomore Wes Leftwich.
"As he continues to grow and progress, (you can see) he’s a very talented guy," Washington said. "I just hope he stays the course.”
Junior cornerback Xavier Smith, who suffered a foot bruise, was out of his red non-contact jersey and walking boot after only one day. However, freshman cornerback John Gibson was wearing a red jersey and a walking boot after spraining his ankle Monday, according to team spokesman Chad Moller.
Sophomore receiver Wesley Leftwich, who has a strained hamstring, and freshman defensive tackle A.J. Logan, who is recovering from meniscus surgery on his knee, also wore non-contact jerseys.
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