If you remember, Mauk stepped in nicely last year when James Franklin was limited due to injuries. He started in 4 games, throwing for 1,071 yards, 11 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and provided a spark the Tigers needed down that final stretch. (stats via CFB Sports reference)
Mauk showed signs of becoming the next great Missouri quarterback, and with that is now high expectations from the fans. Some say that Mauk has the potential to be the best quarterback in the SEC this season.
That’s not really a bold statement in the grand scheme of things considering Alabama’s, A.J. McCaron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s, Aaron Murray, and Texas A&M’s, Johnny Manziel, were all drafted into the NFL.
With those four out of the picture, Mauk is easily the quarterback with the most potential to become the best in the conference. Stewart Mandell of SI.com, believes it to be Auburn’s, Nick Marshal, who’s the best in the conference right now, but Mauk has serious potential to take that title quickly.
It’s not going to be easy for Maty though, as he’s going to have to over come several obstacles from his own team. He’ll have to overcome an unproven receiving corps that no longer features Dorial Green-Beckham, who was dismissed from the team for violating team rules, or, he just couldn’t stop smoking the ganja.
Other than those two, Missouri will be relying on under class-men to step up and make an impact. So while yes, he does have to over come the receivers, one thing he does have good going for him is his very solid offensive line.
The Tigers return Left tackle Mitch Morse, center Evan Boehm, and right tackle Connor McGovern. All three of them were together last year in a very solid 2013 campaign. Anthony Gatti, who started two games last season, will get the nod at left guard.
For what it’s worth, Mauk was also very impressive in his spring game, (depends on how much you look into spring games), where he completed 64% of his passes for 446 yards and a rushing touchdown, only adding more excitement and expectation.
It’s a big part of the reason why the Tigers are favorites, along with South Carolina, to win the East and get back to the SEC championship. Perhaps the best trait about Maty Mauk is his confidence, not only in himself, but from his coaches and teammates which is why the expectations will be high for him in 2014.