All week, Rock M Nation will be celebrating the induction of its inaugural class to the Rock M Nation Wall of Excellence. Today, we welcome one of the three winners of our Tier I category, honoring contributions from players who finished their careers in the last five years.
Mizzou has been blessed with multiple great quarterbacks over the last decade and a half. There was Corby Jones running all over Nebraska and bringing Mizzou back to respectability. There was Brad Smith...well, running all over Nebraska and laying down Gary Pinkel's first major building block. But only one Mizzou QB was a Heisman finalist (in the last 60 years, anyway)...an SI cover boy (twice)...an ESPN the Magazine cover boy*. Only one QB won 30 games as a starter (in only three years). Only one QB ranks in the NCAA's top 10 for career receptions, yards, TD passes, total offense, and the awkwardly named "TDs responsible for." Only one QB won the North once, much less twice. And it was Chase Daniel--not Jones, not Smith--led Mizzou to its first #1 ranking since 1960.
* Okay, technically there were two Mizzou QBs on that cover. You get the point.
Jones and Smith set the bar high for what it means to be a Mizzou QB, but Daniel raised it much, much higher. He was the definition of a field general, a coach on the field. He knew the offense like the back of his hand the day he stepped onto campus, and he only improved. Before Brad Smith was able to send Mizzou on its ascent with a dramatic comeback win in the 2005 Independence Bowl, he needed Daniel's help to get there. And when Smith left and prognosticators decided Mizzou would inevitably fall back to the scrap heap, all Daniel did was take the reins and lead Mizzou to thirty wins in three seasons.
The one problem with Chase Daniel's career is that it happened out of order. Because of bad luck, a harder schedule, and (at some point) a hand injury, Mizzou only (only!) won 10 games in 2008 after a 12-win 2007 campaign. But methinks we'll get over that one over time, huh?
If The Boy is the big picture and numbers guy, allow me to be Mr. Stuck in the Moment when it comes to Daniel:
- Missouri fans get their first taste of the future, as Daniel helps salvage the 2005 season by leading Mizzou to a comeback victory over Iowa State in place of an injured Brad Smith
- In his first game back in the state of Texas, sophomore Chase Daniel scrambles for an hour on 3rd and 13 and eventually headbutts a Tech defender for a first down.
- Daniel puts up a then-career high of 356 yards (74 of them on a most excellent torching of Aqib Talib by Jared Perry) en route to ending Mizzou's three-game losing skid to Kansas in 2006.
- Daniel inadvertently creates the craziest formation in Mizzou history against Illinois in 2007, running on the field one play after being knocked out and standing in front of Chase Patton, who's already lined up in shotgun.
- Colorado players cry disrespect when Daniel says he's salivating at the chance to face the Buffs' Cover 1. Daniel laughs all the way to the tune of 421 yards and Missouri's first win in Boulder in 10 years.
- Daniel reels in several horrible snaps from Adam Spieker and takes a back seat to Tony Temple's record day in Dallas. Chase even lends a hand getting Temple back to the sideline (although, I think it's safe to say Tyler Luellen had it covered).
- Daniel helps bring Pinkel and Tigers everywhere to tears on a brutally cold senior night against Kansas State.
- Despite some questionable play that led to booing from Mizzou fans, Daniel rebounds to led the Tigers to an overtime Alamo Bowl victory. It wasn't a BCS bowl or anything, but Chase Daniel ends his the career the way he deserved to: as a winner.
Not a bad body of work, eh?