The Missouri football team relied on the ground attack during Drinkwitz’s first year. Can Michael Maietti become an SEC standout?
In 2020, the Tigers offensive attack was nearly 50-50; 363 pass attempts and 351 rushing attempts. While leading rusher Larry Roundtree III is gone to the NFL, the rushing attack should still feature prominently in Missouri. It is often the case that a rushing attack is only as successful as its blocking. That is where graduate center Michael Maietti comes in.
Maietti, a native of West Orange, N.J., has been in college football for a long time. Maietti’s first start was in 2017 (!) with Rutgers. He has started every game since.
That is what consistency looks like.
After playing 2020 with Missouri as a graduate transfer, Maietti returned to the Tigers for one final year with the program. Despite playing in 2020, all players are granted one year of extra eligibility due to the struggles of 2020. Maietti, as well as receiver Keke Chism and punter Grant McKinniss, took advantage of this rule for one more season.
Maietti leads the offensive line as four offensive line starters return for the Tigers in 2021. His performance as the 14th best center in the nation, according to PFF, has earned him conference and national recognition. Maietti is a member of the preseason All-Southeastern Conference third team and is on the 2021 Rimington Trophy Watch List, an award presented annually to college’s best center.
This performance and consistency are very important to Drinkwitz since his arrival to the SEC. Drinkwitz said during a visit to The Paul Finebaum Show that the team is “only going to be as good as your offensive line and defensive line.”
While fans may not see or hear Maietti’s name often, his performance as the offensive line’s anchor and leader will be pivotal to the upcoming season. He is primed and motivated to have a break-out performance, possibly one that puts him on the NFL draft radar.