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The Wall of Excellence, Class of 2011: Vote No. 1

As we continue to try to switch gears from basketball season to football season (it's been difficult, considering all the recent basketball news), we now switch from our basketball hall of fame of sorts (The Rafters) to the second class of our Football hall, The Wall of Excellence.

Class of 2009

Paul Christman
Chase Coffman
Chase Daniel
Don Faurot
Justin Gage
Brad Smith
Kellen Winslow

Class of 2010

Dan Devine
Jeremy Maclin
Justin Smith
Bob Steuber
Roger Wehrli
James Wilder

We are once again re-defining the tiers this time around.  Per a reader suggestion, we are making sure to focus on three particular (and predictable) eras in Mizzou's football history: the Faurot era, the Devine era and the Pinkel era.  The idea is to get down to induction classes of five each year, but I just can't help myself. We're going to do one more year of six.

  • Tier I: Faurot era (mid-1930s to mid-1950s)
  • Tier II: Devine era (late-1950s to early-1970s)
  • Tier III: Pinkel era (2000s)
  • Tier IV: Pre-Faurot, 1970s
  • Tier V: 1980s-1990s
  • Tier VI: Administrators/Coaches/Personalities

One inductee will be selected from each tier.  Voting will take place exactly as it did for The Rafters -- you will be given a list of nominees, and in the form below, you will rank your top three selections.  Your #1 selection will receive five points, your #2 selection three points, and your #3 selection one point.  Whoever gets the most points gets on the wall.

We begin the proceedings today with the Faurot era, when halfbacks and beefy linemen led Mizzou to multiple conference titles.  All but one of the seven candidates below are now members of the Mizzou Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

Once again, all photos below are from the MU Archives' incredibly valuable Savitar archive.

Harold Burnine (1950s)

He was to football in the mid-1950s what Norm Stewart was to basketball.  They were both All-Americans, and while Mizzou wasn't great in his time (5-14-1 in 1954-55), he was.

Hall of Fame Bio: An all-America receiver for Coach Don Faurot in 1955, when he led the nation in receiving with 44 receptions for 594 yards. He led the conference in receiving in 1954 as well. The native of Richmond, Mo., was also all-Big Seven that year, and played in four all-star games - the Blue-Gray, North-South, Senior Bowl and College All-Star game. For his three-year MU career, Burnine caught 75 passes for 1,145 yards, figures that kept him in the Tiger top-ten until the recent passing accomplishments under Coach Bob Stull. He played professionally with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

Bill Dellastatious (1940s)

This weekend we will be celebrating Mizzou's ongoing success in the NFL draft.  But before Blaine Gabbert, Aldon Smith, Sean Weatherspoon, Ziggy Hood and Jeremy Maclin were becoming first-rounders, there were guys like Bill Dellastatious.  Dellastatious was Mizzou's second-ever first-round draft pick (in an era where there were single-digit teams) and their last one for 20 years.  His athleticism from the halfback position intrigued the Detroit Lions, who took him eighth overall.  Unfortunately, it appears that injuries nagged him in the pros just like they did at Mizzou (he missed a good portion of the 1945 season to injury before thriving late).  Instead of a long pro career, Dellastatious represented Mizzou in the coaching ranks.  He was Florida golf coach in the late-1940s, then head football coach at Missouri State in the mid-1950s. In a week where Mizzou's draft prospects take center stage, we celebrate one of Mizzou's first draft prospects.

Bus Entsminger (1940s)

Known as one of the best Split-T quarterbacks of the formation's first decade, Bus was a post-war star.

Hall of Fame Bio: A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Entsminger lettered as a star quarterback at Missouri on the 1942 Big Six championship team, and from 1946 to '48. A dazzling option quarterback, he is perhaps best known for engineering MU's 20-14 upset of the Doak Walker-led SMU Mustangs in 1948. That Missouri team went on post an 8-3 record, including a narrow 24-23 loss to Clemson in the Gator Bowl. An honorable mention choice on Mizzou's All-Century Football Team, Entsminger led the Tigers in rushing, passing and total offense in 1947, and in passing, total offense and scoring in 1948. He received all-Big Six honors in 1947, and was all-Big Seven in 1948.

Harry Ice (1940s)

Hall of Fame Bio: "Slippery" Ice came out of the Missouri intramural ranks to become one of the Tigers' top all-time running backs. A football and baseball letterman out of Kansas City, in 1940 and '41, Ice set Missouri records that still stand, as a member of Don Faurot's first Split-T team that led the nation in rushing in 1941. Ice's records include 240 yards rushing against Kansas in 1941, an average per carry of 30.8 yards in that same game, and a 95-yard touchdown run against Iowa State in 1941. He was an all-Big Six selection that year as Missouri won the conference championship and went on to the Sugar Bowl, where he was the game's MVP. Ice played in the College All-Star Game in the summer of 1942, and was chosen to MU's All-Century Football Team. Ice joined the MU athletic staff in 1952, and served in a variety of capacities, including interim athletic director and assistant athletic director, until his retirement in 1979.

Darold Jenkins (1940s)

A mean s.o.b. dominant enough to get his number retired, Jenkins was the X-factor in the Split-T's initial success.

Hall of Fame Bio: A center/linebacker from Higginsville, Mo., Jenkins starred on Missouri's football teams in 1940 and '41. He was all-Big Six both years, and as a senior, served as team captain and won all-America honors on Don Faurot's 1941 Sugar Bowl team. He was named to the State of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. During World War II, Jenkins served as a bomber pilot. He was shot down on his 27th mission and spent 17 months in a German POW camp.

Jim Kekeris (1940s)

A surprisingly nimble, diverse talent in a big body, Kekeris was the lynchpin of the teams Faurot left behind during the war.

Hall of Fame Bio: At 285 pounds, Jim Kekeris was used as a tackle, fullback and place-kicker by Coaches Don Faurot and Chauncey Simpson from 1943-46. A St Louisisn, Kekeris earned all-Big Six Conference honors three times, and was a second-team all-American as a senior. He played in the East-West Shrine game and College All-Star game, and spent time with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Was MU's "Most Valuable Player" in the 1946 Cotton Bowl, and later was voted to the all-time Cotton Bowl team.

Junior Wren (1950s)

Some on Rock M have stated preferences for old-school, multi-sport stars.  Well here's your guy.

Hall of Fame Bio: An accomplished two-sport star at Missouri in the early 1950s. He played halfback in football, lettering in 1950-51. He was team captain as a senior, when he earned all-Big Seven Conference honors and led the Tigers in rushing, total offense and punting. He also set a school record that season with nine pass receptions against Oklahoma, a record that stood for nearly 40 years. In baseball, he was an all-American outfielder in 1952, when the Tigers placed second at the College World Series. He led the club in hitting as a junior, and as a senior led the team in hitting, home runs and runs batted in. He signed with the Chicago White Sox in 1952, and later played professional football as well, with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1959-60. A native of Kansas City, Mo.