August 9, 2006

Harrington heads a deeper group

Missouri sophomore linebacker Brock Christopher remembers walking into position meetings last season and feeling lonely. It wasn't that Christopher was homesick or anything like that. It was just that he was almost literally alone.

"I got in there the first day we got back and there were like 12 guys behind me or 11 guys behind me," Christopher said. "I was like, 'Wow.' Last year we only had eight guys in the room sometimes."

The Tigers lost captain Derrick Ming off of last year's team, but they added three linebackers in the 2006 recruiting class. In addition, John Ruth and Chad Washington have moved to backer from other positions since the end of last season.

"It's exciting. We've got a lot of linebackers in there, which I've never really seen since I've been around here so that was a good thing," said senior Dedrick Harrington. "They don't just play one position, they're athletes so it's a very good thing. Now we just have to learn what we're doing and go out there and dominate is what we've got to do."

The third linebacker spot features one of the more intriguing position battles in a camp that has very few question marks for Mizzou. Christopher and Van Alexander should go head to head most of camp to see who earns the starting nod against Murray State.

Alexander was listed as the starter coming into camp. But he has been noticeably hobbled by a hip injury. Alexander had a doctor's appointment to check things out on Tuesday afternoon and his status is somewhat in question. After battling back from surgery on his foot last summer, the injury was aggravating for the former four-star prospect.

The youngster generating the most buzz is probably a true freshman. Sean Weatherspoon was named the player of the year in his district as a senior in high school. He started turning heads as soon as he set foot on campus this summer.

"That's my little brother. We talk about football all night," said Harrington, who is rooming with Weatherspoon. "This kid has so much knowledge of the game and he's so hungry, so willing to learn and so willing to get out there right now. I expect very, very good things out of him because of his hunger not only to play, but just to be part of the team and just the way he approaches the game."

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