Entering Missouri's first spring as an SEC program, the Tigers' quarterback situation seemed cut-and-dry: James Franklin as the starter, Corbin Berkstresser as the backup. Just a few weeks later, it's anything but for Gary Pinkel.
Franklin, of course, tore his labrum in spring practice, underwent shoulder surgery, and isn't guaranteed to return by the start of the season. And though Berkstresser enjoyed a positive spring in his absence, those positive vibes came to a screeching halt Tuesday morning with the news that Berkstresser had been arrested after allegedly leaving the scene of an early morning accident in Columbia.
The Columbia Daily-Tribune reported that Berkstresser was taken into custody at 3:34 a.m. and released after posting a $4,500 bond. Though leaving the scene of an accident is typically a class A misdemeanor, the reported damage to the car allegedly struck by Berkstresser totaled more than $1,000 -- meaning Berkstresser could face Class D felony charges.
No injuries were reported in the accident. According to statements made by the owner of the damaged vehicle to police, Berkstresser and a second male walked down the street after the accident claiming to look for a lost dog. A roommate of the owner's also spotted a damaged vehicle matching fragments found at the accident scene down the street and relayed its license plate information to police, helping lead to the arrest.
Missouri officials have yet to make any statement regarding the incident or Berkstresser's status with the team.
If Berkstresser is suspended for any length of time, it would leave the Tigers with only two scholarship quarterbacks on their summer roster: junior third-stringer Ashton Glaser (also arrested this spring) and well-regarded true freshman signee Maty Mauk, due to report to campus this summer.
But even with Glaser's experience and Mauk's potential, the combination of an injured and/or rusty Franklin and a suspended Berkstresser could seriously hamstring both Pinkel's preparations for this critical season and the team's efforts in the first few games -- including the Tigers' SEC debut at home to Georgia in Week 2. If we had to guess, we wouldn't expect Berkstresser to miss that game even if Franklin does ... but if any forthcoming details from Tuesday's arrest make it appear any worse than it already does, the Tigers could have a very anxious summer under center.
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