Workhorse. Leader. Under-appreciated.
These are all adjectives that apply for Larry Rountree III. The former 3-star recruit was an immediate impact player. He split carries with Ish Witter as a freshman, formed a formidable duo with Damarea Crockett as a sophomore, and served as the thunder to Tyler Badie’s lightning as a junior.
That “split” isn’t much of a split in 2020. Eli Drinkwitz knows what he has in Rountree, and he’s riding his workhorse early in the year.
Missouri’s running backs have 65 carries on the season. Rountree has taken 50 of them. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to Mizzou fans. Rountree is nothing if not consistent.
His 587 career carries are second only to Zack Abron among Missouri running backs over the last two decades. Rountree has the most carries of any running back in the SEC since he arrived on campus in 2017. The only power five backs with more carries in that span are Jonathan Taylor, AJ Dillon, J.K. Dobbins and Zack Moss.
Rountree officially eclipsed the 3,000 career rushing yards milestone last week against LSU. Barring something unforeseen, he will pass Brock Olivo (3,026) as the third leading rusher in program history on Saturday against Kentucky. He’ll pass Zack Abron (3,198) in short order. He will likely fall just short of Brad Smith (4,289), who currently sits as the program’s all-time leading rusher.
I hope Missouri fans appreciate what we’re witnessing. Rountree hasn’t played for the best teams. He won’t have a Henry Josey moment in which his run seals a division title. He’s not Tony Temple, who ran wild for one of the best Missouri teams in program history.
But in a time when the program has gone through so much uncertainty, Rountree has been the rock. The one thing the team could always rely upon. He hasn’t missed a single game since arriving on campus. (editor’s note: knock on wood)
Rountree will never be a household name nationally. But he’ll forever be remembered fondly by Mizzou fans, so enjoy watching him in what could be his final season in Columbia.
Drinkwitz is going to keep giving him the rock. And Rountree is going to keep piling up the stats.