The Missouri Tigers took a hit to their 2013 recruiting class last week when running back Chase Abbington elected to go to junior college rather than join the Mizzou roster this season. Abbington, a four-star recruit from the state of Missouri, still plans to attend Missouri, but he will first attend a junior college.
Abbington was the highest-rated recruit in the 2013 class for Gary Pinkel and his staff. However, his loss will not immediately be felt in Columbia, because the Tigers appear to have a stable of good running backs for the upcoming season.
The return of Henry Josey will be key for Missouri in 2013. Josey, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, appeared to be healthy in Missouri’s spring game in April, and his return will bolster the rushing attack for Mizzou. In 2011, Josey rushed 145 times for 1,168 yards with nine touchdowns. The Tigers’ coaching staff will be counting on him to return to similar production this season.
The Tigers can also count on redshirt junior Marcus Murphy in the backfield. Murphy led all rushers in the Tigers’ spring game with 28 yards on the ground, as well as a touchdown. In 2012, Murphy was second on the team in rushing with 251 yards and one touchdown.
Also returning for Mizzou is Russell Hansbrough, who carried 37 times for 139 yards last season.
With all of these players returning at running back, the loss of Abbington is neutralized. In fact, it’s not a sure thing that Abbington would have seen the field in 2013 due to the depth that Mizzou already has at running back. While this seems like a big loss on the surface, it’s probably not as big of a deal as it has been made out to be.