close
close

Ranking the opposing quarterbacks in the 2024 Missouri football schedule

Missouri’s football defense is entering a new era in 2024.

Corey Batoon takes over as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator. Five MU starters heard their names called in the 2024 NFL Draft. Several others found homes via undrafted free agent deals or lost their collegiate eligibility.

Mizzou filled in well in the portal, bringing in nine players on the defensive end, several of whom are proving to be instant plug starters.

Who will they face next?

For starters, not a single quarterback they faced in the 2023 season.

Here are the 12 QBs Missouri will likely face next season, ranked by the Tribune in descending order based on past production and their 2024 potential:

More: Missouri Football learns kickoff times for Buffalo, Boston College games in September

More: ‘Not normal’: Darris Smith brings size and speed to Missouri’s defensive end room

12: Murray State, Jayden Johannsen

Faces Missouri: August 29 in Columbia

Murray State turned to D-II South Dakota Mines transfer Jayden Johannsen and Miami-Ohio freshman Joe Humphreys in the portal to fill a hole at quarterback. Whoever it is, Batoon’s group should have an FCS celebration on Thursday, August 29, the opener featuring sparing high-level reps between the pair.

More: What’s different for Missouri football so far under the new defensive coordinator?

11: Buffalo, CJ Ogbonna

Faces Missouri: September 7 in Colombia

Missouri has seen Ogbonna before: in 2021, when he played for Southeast Missouri State in a 59-28 Tigers win at Faurot Field. JUCO transfer Gunnar Gray is Buffalo’s other option under center next season. Ogbonna is a threat on the run, but this is a chance for MU to improve some early season stats in Week 2.

10: UMass, Taisun Phommachanh

Faces Missouri: October 12 in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Phommachanh, a sixth-year senior, played nine games for UMass last season, averaging 167.4 passing yards per game and throwing for six touchdowns and six interceptions. Missouri should be able to take advantage of his inconsistency.

9: Boston College, Thomas Castellanos

Faces Missouri: September 14 in Colombia

Castellanos is more of a threat with his legs than his arm, which has been the Tigers’ Achilles heel at times in recent seasons. The QB averaged more than 85 yards per game on the ground for 13 touchdowns last season, while throwing for 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

It will be intriguing to see what new Eagles coach Bill O’Brien does with the incumbent starter. If the first few games go as planned, Batoon’s Mizzou team should answer an early question in Week 3.

8: Arkansas, Taylen Green

Faces Missouri: Nov. 30 in Columbia

Green, a transfer from Boise State, takes over for UCF-bound KJ Jefferson. The Razorbacks were a bit short at QB and lost their starter and their backup, Jacolby Criswell. Green should bring some stability, if not explosiveness.

For the Broncos, the quarterback averaged 134.8 passing yards and 33.5 rushing yards per game last season. He ran for 436 yards and nine touchdowns. The Razorbacks have all their pass catchers back, but that was a unit that struggled in 2023 with just two receivers in the SEC’s top 60 in receiving yards.

7: Vanderbilt, Nate Johnson

Faces Missouri: September 21 in Colombia

Vanderbilt lost a potential star in AJ Swann to LSU. The Commodores have also lost both of Swann’s backups, meaning they don’t have a single returning pass attempt. Johnson, a transfer from Utah, is a capable reliever but lacks in-game experience – and he will face QB competition in fall camp.

As a Ute, Johnson saw the field in twelve games over two seasons as Cameron Rising’s backup. Johnson’s challenge in Nashville, Tennessee, will be finding weapons to work with as Vandy lost more than half of its returning pass-catching production to the portal.

Also vying for the job is New Mexico State transfer and C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Diego Pavia, who was on Faurot Field for the Aggies in a 45-14 MU victory in November 2022.

6: South Carolina, LaNorris Sellers

Faces Missouri: November 16 in Columbia, SC

Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer named Sellers as Spencer Rattler’s replacement as QB1 after the spring game at South Carolina in April. Sellers, a former four-star prospect, has a big arm. You won’t find many QBs with a better rating than Sellers’ 445.6, which comes off a 4-for-4 relief performance against Furman last season that accounted for 86 yards and two touchdowns. He combines that with a substantial running threat, rushing five times for 51 yards and a trip into the end zone last season.

The seller’s upside is high, but his inexperience is a hurdle. South Carolina has a lot to prove offensively, especially without top receiver and NFL first-rounder Xavier Legette.

5: Auburn, Peyton Thorne

Faces Missouri: Oct. 19 in Columbia

Thorne’s first 16-touchdown, 10-interception season as a starter on the Plains was inconsistent, but second-year Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze now appears to have put some serious weapons around him. Penn State transfer KeAndre Lambert-Smith and five-star freshman Cam Coleman could make Thorne’s life a lot easier in Year 2.

The quarterback competition hasn’t been completely decided yet, but Thorne appears to be the big favorite.

4: Mississippi State, Blake Shapen

Faces Missouri: Nov. 23 in Starkville, Miss.

The quarterback competition in Starkville, Mississippi, isn’t quite settled yet, but Baylor transfer Blake Shapen is the frontrunner to line up under new head coach Jeff Lebby, ahead of four-star freshman Michael Van Buren. Shapen is coming off consecutive +2,000-yard seasons at Baylor, completing 62.6% of his passes overall and throwing 31 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

The Bulldogs were among the SEC’s least productive offenses in 2023, but with the offensive-minded Lebby in charge and some experience at QB, that could mean an uptick.

3: Oklahoma, Jackson Arnold

Faces Missouri: Nov. 9 in Columbia

Arnold made his first college start in the Alamo Bowl, and that was enough to seal his spot as the Sooners’ next starter when he went 26 of 45 for 361 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in a loss to Arizona.

The former five-star player replaces Dillon Gabriel, who transferred to Oregon this offseason and has big shoes to fill. Arnold was the 2022-2023 Gatorade National Player of the Year and will now get his chance as a starting quarterback in college.

2: Texas A&M, Conner Weigman

Faces Missouri: October 5 in College Station, Texas

The Texas A&M starter could very well be the best quarterback Missouri faces next season, but after a season on the sidelines, the former four-star player will have to prove that on the field. Before suffering an injury after four games as a sophomore last season, Weigman averaged 244.8 yards per game with a 69% completion percentage, throwing eight touchdowns and two picks.

Weigman has plenty of potential, and the early October game at Kyle Field could be pivotal in Mizzou’s run at a College Football Playoff berth. How the Tigers defense handles the QB could be a big indicator for the rest of the year.

1: Alabama, Jalen Milroe

Faces Missouri: Oct. 26 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The second half of Jalen Milroe’s debut season as an Alabama – from 4th and 31st in the Iron Bowl to a four-rushing touchdown performance against LSU – showcased his potential as a dual-threat star. Under new head coach Kalen DeBoer, there is a real chance that he can take another step in his progression.

If DeBoer is already one of the best QBs in the country with his legs, Milroe could be in for a great year if DeBoer can unlock some of the explosiveness he did with Michael Penix Jr. in Washington. The Tide lost some of their best pass-catching options, but the addition of Washington wideout Germie Bernard and freshman five-star Ryan Williams should help that.

More: Who will be Missouri Football’s toughest opponent in 2024? All 12 ranked