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Player of the Week: Michael Scherer

Missouri is flying comfortably under the radar three games into the season, which is fine. The team's leading tackler is following suit though, and that's a damn shame.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Good things going unappreciated is nothing new for the Missouri football program. Ask a Tiger fan to recount for you an instance of #DISRESPECT, and they'll respond to your query with a question of their own:

"How much time do you have?"

Yes, these fans are probably whining just a bit, but the root of the argument does hold merit. It's not that anyone outside of the Missouri fanbase has an inherent need to look down their nose at the Tigers, it's that Mizzou doesn't attract the level of attention that high-profile programs like Alabama, Florida State, or Ohio State do. Most of the time, this really isn't that big of a deal. This specific case of the overlooks however, is particularly egregious. I'm talking of course, about Michael Scherer.

Mizzou's leading tackler is off to one of the best starts a Tiger linebacker has had in recent history. Through three games, he's accumulated enough tackles to fill up a medium-sized swimming pool. He is responsible for the second most total tackles in the SEC and the 13th most in the nation, but his name only gets called when the stadium's PA announcer introduces the starters. Admittedly, much of the spotlight cast upon Mizzou's defense is justifiably focused on the Markus Golden and Shane Ray. I don't want to take away from the performance of those two. They are monsters who opposing quarterbacks check for under their bed every night. What I'm asking for is that one or two of the spotlight operators aim that illuminating beam at Scherer, because he's on pace for a season that would rank among the best in Missouri history.

In support of my request, I'll provide a set of tackling statistics with the names of the responsible parties redacted. They will each be the total number of tackles that player had racked up through the first three games Mizzou played that year. Gaze now upon these numbers.

Player Total Tackles through three games
Player A 21
Player B 15
Player C 28
Player D 29
Player E 9
Player F 29

So, which one of those players is Michael Scherer? If you picked C like you're supposed to when answering a multiple-choice question that you don't know the answer to, you chose wisely. Here's what that table looks like with the rest of the names filled in.

Player Year Total Tackles through three games
Andrew Wilson 2011 21
Brock Christopher 2008 15
Michael Scherer 2014 28
Sean Weatherspoon 2009 29
Andrew Wilson 2013 9
Sean Weatherspoon 2008 29

That's rarified air that Scherer's breathing. If he keeps up his current pace, he'll put together a performance that will rival some of the best we've seen recently. To whit: here's those total tackle numbers expanded to account for the entire season.

Player Year Total Tackles Tackles/Game
Andrew Wilson 2011 98 (seventh in the Big 12) 7.54
Brock Christopher 2008 105 (fifth in the Big 12) 7.5
Michael Scherer 2014 121 (playing 13 games at current pace) 9.33
Sean Weatherspoon 2009 111 (T-20th in the nation, second in the Big 12) 8.54
Andrew Wilson 2013 113 (T-20th in the nation, second in the SEC) 8.07
Sean Weatherspoon 2008 155 (led the nation) (!!!) 11.07

Will Scherer keep up his 9.33 tackles per game pace? Probably not, but if he's anywhere close he'll likely post one of the top five most prolific tackling seasons in the Gary Pinkel era. If that isn't enough of a reason to pay more attention to Michael Scherer, I don't know what is. Keep your eyes on this tackling machine, dear readers, or you'll miss out on what could end up being a record-breaking year.