Missouri quarterback James Franklin is ready to return from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him since he helped lead an Oct. 12 road upset of Georgia. But although Franklin is 6-0 as a starter and sparked Missouri's undefeated first half of the season, he won't yet command every snap.
Freshman Maty Mauk has been effective as well, winning three of four SEC games since Franklin's exit from the lineup. And Tigers coach Gary Pinkel has set up a time-share of sorts.
"Maty will definitely play," Pinkel said, according to columbiamissourian.com. "There's no question about that. He's certainly earned the right to do that."
Mauk earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors three times in his four weeks as a starter. Pinkel said the decision on how much Mauk will play wouldn't be determined until next Thursday. The Tigers don't play again until Nov. 23 at Ole Miss.
"I think our players have great respect for Maty and certainly trust him ... but I think James obviously with his experience level has been around for a while and has a great relationship with his teammates," Pinkel said.
The senior Franklin's draft status is difficult to project. A junior year beset by injuries and ineffectiveness left Franklin out of the preseason conversation about the nation's draftable quarterbacks. However, his size (6-foot-2, 235 pounds), athleticism and pre-injury production this year won't go entirely unnoticed. He completed 132 of 195 passes (68 percent) for 1,577 yards, 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions through the first half of the Georgia game, and hasn't thrown a pass since.
If he were to lead Mizzou to the SEC title game in Atlanta, he would get a center-stage opportunity to be scouted, likely against one of the nation's top-ranked defenses in Alabama.