Marcus Murphy wasn’t sure what to make of his friend Henry Josey’s subtle mentions of the NFL draft. The tailbacks from Texas had both come to Missouri in 2010, both had missed a full season with an injury, both starred in the backfield during Mizzou’s 12-win breakthrough season in the Southeastern Conference. And now Josey, the Tigers’ leading rusher last season, was thinking about walking away?

“We had been talking about it,” Murphy said this week. “Henry’s a guy who plays around a lot, so I never know when to take him seriously. But I kind of had the idea once he had the breakaway game in the Cotton Bowl that he was leaving.”

Sure enough, on Jan. 7, four days after scoring three touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State, Josey announced he was skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

He’s one of several high-profile offensive playmakers from the most prolific offense in Mizzou history who could trade their Saturday work clothes for Sunday versions this fall.

The quarterback position will command the spotlight during the final three weeks of spring practices and again when preseason camp kicks off in August as Maty Mauk moves into the full-time job after making four starts last fall in relief of injured senior James Franklin. But it’s the supporting cast around Mauk that’s getting a makeover this spring.

And no one at Mizzou seems the least concerned. From a 2013 offense that averaged a school-record 490.7 yards per game, the Tigers have to replace Josey, MU’s leading rusher with 1,166 yards, plus receivers L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas, who combined for 108 receptions for 1,585 yards and 13 touchdowns. All three could be selected in next month’s NFL draft.

Overall, Missouri replaces players who accounted for 51.4 percent of last year’s rushing yards, 51.1 percent of its receptions and 50.9 percent of its receiving yards.

What’s been the collective reaction around the team this spring?

So what?

“That’s the crazy part about it,” wideout Darius White said. “Everyone thinks L’Damian left, Marcus left. A lot of threats have left. But they just don’t know that there were a lot of people sitting back last year ready to go. We’re going to shock a lot of people.”

Anyone who follows college football recruiting wouldn’t be shocked if White becomes a valuable replacement part. The 6-foot-3 senior was rated the nation’s No. 6 wide receiver by when he signed with Texas in 2010 — ahead of current NFL wideouts Justin Hunter and Kenny Stills, plus all three receivers Mizzou signed that year: Lucas, Bud Sasser and Jimmie Hunt.

White caught six passes in 21 games with the Longhorns in 2010 and 2011 but wasn’t happy in Austin and found a fresh start at Mizzou, a team with more established talent at his position when he arrived. As Washington’s backup at the Z-receiver position, he caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown last season but believes he’s barely scratched the surface of his potential.

“I just had to be patient, man,” he said. “It takes a lot and a lot of learning to be patient as a person, because everyone wants everything right then and there.”