One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the Missouri football program never really seemed to get his due from the fanbase.
I think it’s time for that to change.
Drew Lock was one of the most highly anticipated freshmen in program history. He was a legacy, he shattered passing records for his high school football program in Lee’s Summit, and he chose Missouri over blue blood programs such as Michigan, Texas and Tennessee.
This kid was can’t miss. He was going to be the second coming at Mizzou. There was no possible way this doesn’t end with something special.
The expectations were so high it would have been nearly impossible for Lock to reach them barring some sort of Chase Daniel-esque rise.
That obviously didn’t happen. So, naturally, his career will be remembered by some as a disappointment. Sure Lock put up flashy numbers, but what did he really win? That’s a pretty common complaint you hear from Mizzou fans.
I think we’re starting to see the faulty logic behind those sentiments.
Last season, with similar personnel and the same offensive coaching staff, Missouri finished the year 8-4 with the 18th highest scoring offense in the country.
Let’s really dive into what they accomplished. Because I think sometimes we forget. The losses were by 14 points against #2 Georgia, by two points on the road in a monsoon against South Carolina (WHY WERE YOU THROWING, DEREK DOOLEY?!?!), by 29 points on the road against #1 Alabama and by one point at home in a, umm, controversial finish against #12 Kentucky.
Oh, Lock and Mizzou also went on the road and shredded a top 15 team in Florida.
And it was considered a meh season.
No, seriously. That was a meh season. It was more about “what could’ve been” than what actually happened.
Imagine if that team had this season’s schedule. I truly believe they would finish the season 10-2 at worst and 12-0 at best.
Why? Because Drew Lock was so much better than any of us believed at the time.
Think about the issues plaguing this team right now. The passing offense is stagnant. The running game can’t get going. You know what could help both issues? An absolutely dominant downfield passing game. And you won’t find many better downfield throwers of the football than Drew Lock when he was at Missouri.
Imagine how much a throw like that would open up the defense for Larry Rountree and Tyler Badie. Think maybe the run game would suddenly look a little bit better? I sure do.
Remember how excited we all were about what Kam Scott could become in his second year in the offense? I think he’s a better player today than he was last year. But his strengths can’t be on full display in this version of the offense.
Imagine if in the red zone this team had a quarterback who could extend plays to take advantage of every inch of the field because of his bazooka of a right arm.
I want to be clear here. I don’t mean for any of this to be a criticism of Kelly Bryant. He’s done an admirable job given the circumstances. He was never supposed to be Drew Lock. Nobody should have expected that. But his limitations have certainly been a reminder of Lock’s strengths.
They’ve also been a reminder of how much we overlooked just how special Lock was while he was here.
Lock was always going to be compared to Chase Daniel, no matter how unfair the comparison was. Daniel was the perfect quarterback in the perfect system at the perfect time. Holding anyone to that standard was always going to be a lofty expectation.
So of course Lock fell short of those expectations. But, what’s that saying, if you shoot for the moon, you just might hit the stars? Lock’s legacy should certainly be that of stardom in Columbia.
This season has been disappointing for a million different reasons, but I hope at least one good thing comes from it: I hope Mizzou fans now have a greater appreciation of what Lock accomplished in his time at Missouri. He kept the program afloat in some difficult times, then found a way to bring it back to respectability by the time he was leaving. He’s a true son. He was fun as hell to watch in a Mizzou uniform. And he was a heck of a lot better than fans gave him credit for.
This season we’ve seen just how important he was in his time at Mizzou. He masked some of the deficiencies elsewhere by elevating those around him.
It’s time one of the most hyped players in the history of Mizzou’s football program gets his due.