Campus Corner

MU practice report: Boehm making a push for early playing time

Only two true freshmen on the offensive line have ever earned a letter during

Gary Pinkel

’s 11-year tenure as Missouri’s head coach, but it appears Lee’s Summit West graduate

Evan Boehm

has a good chance to be the third.





Boehm, who was listed as a four-star recruit by Rivals, was the only true freshman to earn extensive playing time with the first team during today's practice, Missouri’s first

in full pads

.

Now, a big part of that certainly had to do with the injury to projected starter Travis Ruth, a senior who left practice with his arm in a sling due to a triceps injury.

But make no mistake about it, Pinkel appears to be plenty high on the 6-foot-3, 290-pound true freshman, who chose Missouri over a host of programs, including Arkansas, Auburn, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

“He’s a big, strong athlete, a very bright guy who is very competitive and fits right in well,” Pinkel said. “One guy’s frustration and disappointment is another guy’s opportunity, and that’s good because football teams have to (have) that"

The last true freshman offensive lineman to earn a letter for Missouri was current senior

Jack Meiners

, who played as a freshman in 2009. The first was

Dan Hoch

, currently a rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Offensive line is probably the most difficult position to play as a true freshman, just because of the physical size and strength that you have to have…and there’s so few players that have that right then and there,” Pinkel said. “The good news is physically, he’s ready to play.”

Pinkel said the staff had an inkling Boehm could play early while they were recruiting him during his outstanding prep career at Lee’s Summit West, where he played for his father, head coach

Royce Boehm

, and led the Titans to the Missouri Class 5 state championship as a junior. He won the Simone Award as a senior, which is handed out annually to the top football player in the Kansas City area.

Missouri has already secured a commitment from another Lee’s Summit West player, four-star senior linebacker

Nick Ramirez

, and is currently recruiting three-star senior defensive lineman

Jamone Boyd

.

Day 5 observations

Freshman cornerback

John Gibson

made a standout play this morning when he leaped high to pick off freshman quarterback

Maty Mauk

in the corner of the end zone. Mauk was attempting to throw a fade to freshman receiver

Dorial Green-Beckham

, who is at least seven inches taller than Gibson…freshman tight end

Sean Culkin

also got some work with the first team at this morning’s practice, while freshman tight end

Brandon Holifield

did some work with the second team and also made a highlight-reel catch at one point, catching a ball over the middle from Mauk and outracing a few players to the end zone...Pinkel yelled at his team during conditioning, and later told the media that he “was a little concerned about his players' focus today.

Injury report

Defensive end

Brad Madison

donned a red non-contact jersey today after suffering a rib injury. Running back

Russell Hansbrough

(ankle), receiver

T.J. Moe

(hamstring), defensive tackle

Lucas Vincent

(pectoral), running back

Henry Josey

(knee) and offensive tackle

Justin Britt

(foot) were also held out of contact drills.

Worth noting

Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle

Chris Freeman

has decided to leave the program, team spokesman Chad Moller said. Freeman, who is listed at 6-foot-8, 320 pounds on the roster, was working as a backup right tackle in camp, behind redshirt freshman

Taylor Chappell

.

Freeman, a Trotwood, Ohio, native who joined the Tigers in 2010 after sitting out a year due to an NCAA clearinghouse issue, was listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals out of high school in 2009. He selected Missouri over Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee and UCLA, and played in three games last season.

*Former safety

Kenji Jackson

is now on staff as a video graduate assistant, Moller said.

*Pinkel said he is still waiting on freshman linebacker

Torey Boozer

and junior college linebacker

Markus Golden

to be cleared by the NCAA. He offered no timetable on when a decision will be made.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send e-mail to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.
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