With Kellen Winslow in attendance, Albert Okwuegbunam showed why he’s the next great Missouri tight end.
Okwuegbunam, the redshirt sophomore from Springfield, Ill., caught six passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns in Missouri’s 65-33 win over Memphis on Saturday. Winslow, the NFL Hall of Famer who revolutionized the position, attended the game as Warren Powers’ 1978 Liberty Bowl team was during a break in the action.
During game week, Okwuegbunam said that Missouri saw areas on film in which he could find one-on-one matchups againt the Memphis secondary.
He didn’t know, however, that a legend at the position would be watching him.
“I just found that out from you,” Okwuegbunam said. “I had no idea he was at the game.”
He didn’t need any further explanation of why Winslow matters.
“With him pretty much starting the tight end legacy here, being a huge figure, that definitely makes me really proud,” Okwuegbunam said. “I was able to come out and have a good performance, that he could see, just let him know that we’re keeping the tradition going here that he started.”
Okwuegbunam will be draft-eligible after this season, and despite a slower start to the season, he showed why he should get serious consideration whenever his NFL future begins. His first touchdown came off a play-action pass in which he leaked behind the linebackers, and with no safety help, caught a short lofted pass from Drew Lock.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end out-ran Memphis’ secondary for a 58-yard touchdown.
His second touchdown was an over-the-shoulder catch-and-run for 47 yards in which he had to wait for a wind-deadened pass from Lock.
His third touchdown might have been the best of all of them, as not only did he make an over-the-shoulder catch, he also tiptoed down the sideline to end a 23-yard score by wrapping his body inside the pylon.
Drew Lock just simply flicks his wrist to hit Albert Okwuegbunam perfectly for Albert O's 3rd TD of the day. pic.twitter.com/fUuDseXL6c— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) October 20, 2018
He now has 37 catches for 408 yards and five touchdowns on the season; he’ll soon pass his yardage total (415) from his redshirt freshman season. While he had 11 touchdowns in 2017, he also only had five after seven games.