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July 9, 2010

Ten Tigers to watch: #7

Fall camp starts for Missouri on August 5th. There are plenty of storylines to follow. But PowerMizzou.com has identified ten players whose performances will be key to Missouri's success during the 2010 season.

No. 7: Will Ebner enters fall camp as the starter at middle linebacker. Ebner is a junior who took over for an injured Luke Lambert mid-season and was third on the team in tackles with 78. He was named honorable mention all-Big 12.

Why he's on the list: First, he may have more competition for his job than any player in the top ten. Lambert is healthy and will push to be the starter. Either way, Ebner will play a lot. The Tigers lose Sean Weatherspoon from a season ago and the job of filling his shoes will be a corps-wide task. Ebner is the biggest hitter in the group, but will have to be consistent from snap to snap, especially in pass coverage.

No. 8: Elvis Fisher is slated to enter his third season as Missouri's starting left tackle. Fisher missed all of spring with an injury, but was a freshman all-American in 2008 and an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection in 2009.

Why he's on the list: You could make the argument a left tackle should never be quite so low on such a list. But the fact is, Fisher is a fairly known commodity. He has been solid at the position for two years. Missouri needs him to be at least as good this year. It was seen how the Tigers struggled when Blaine Gabbert was hurt a season ago. They need him healthy this year.

No. 9: Austin Wuebbels enters fall camp as a projected starter at left guard. Wuebbels will be a redshirt junior. He started all 13 games a year ago at left guard. However, he was plagued by too-common penalty flags last season and missed much of spring ball with a back injury.

Why he's on the list: With three other starters returning on the offensive line, a good season from Wuebbels could really help a Tiger offense that has plenty of experience. However, Wuebbels figures to get a decent push from the likes of Jayson Palmgren and Justin Britt for the starting interior spots on the line.

No. 10: Starting our list is punter Matt Grabner. Grabner enters his second season with the Tigers, but his first as a projected starter. Last year, he had one punt of 38 yards, which landed inside the 20-yard line against Illinois.

Why he's on the list: Last season, Grabner backed up Jake Harry. Harry had the Tigers atop the Big 12 statistical rankings in net punting a season ago (thanks in large part to Mizzou allowing less than one yard per punt return). He averaged 42.8 yards on 61 punts and had only two touchbacks all season long. Punters often go unnoticed until they make an error, but Harry was solid for Missouri a season ago.

Nobody covers the Tigers year-round like PowerMizzou.com. Over the next 30 days, we will preview every angle of the 2010 football season. If you are not yet a member, just try out our free seven-day trial.


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