Welcome, Tiger fans, to #PeakOffseasonContent. Despite a lack of championships, the Missouri Football Tigers have had some excellent players throughout the years, both at the college and professional levels. There have been excellent ambassadors, on and off the field, as well as some that changed the program or revolutionized a position. So what better time than now to draft a hypothetical team of these exquisite athletes?
BK and I will build a team of 22 starters (sorry, specialists!) to craft a team to play against the other. For simplicity’s sake, we’re limiting our selections to guys who played on the 2000 team going forward, including the current roster in 2020. Each Round will alternate who goes first and we’ll provide our reasoning/explanation/defense afterwards.
At the end, you all will be able to vote for who you think has the best team! And of course we’d love to hear your picks for each round as well and why we are dumdums who don’t know what we’re talking about.
Alright, enough jibber-jabber! BK is on the clock!
Round 1, Pick 1: BK selects QB Chase Daniel
I thought about getting cute here and taking a player at a position with more scarcity, but that felt more foolish than smart. Chase Daniel is the single most valuable Mizzou football player of the last 20 years. You can make an argument for who the best Mizzou football player is in the last 20 years. You can even argue who the most important player is in that span.
You can’t argue most valuable. That distinction belongs to Daniel.
He was a Heisman Trophy finalist, the 2007 Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and a second team All-American. He finished his career with a record of 30-11 as a starter. Two of those losses were in the Big 12 Title Game. Another was in a bowl game. His regular season record as a starter was 28-8 (.778 winning percentage). He was the best player on the only Missouri team to ever finish ranked in the top four of the AP Poll.
You get the point. Chase Daniel: he was really good at football. He lifted a program from being a cute story to one that had to be taken seriously not just within the Big 12 but on a national scale. Without Daniel, I’m not sure the move to the SEC ever happens. Without Daniel, I’m not sure how Pinkel is viewed.
Daniel is the player that changed everything. He opened up opportunities that Mizzou fans hadn’t dreamed of since the 1960s. He had Tiger fans believing every Saturday that their team would win. And, more often than not, they were right.
Chase Daniel is the best Mizzou player of the last 20 years. And now he’s the number one overall pick in our MTL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 2: Nate selects QB Brad Smith
I had a feeling BK was going to go Chase Daniel. Hell, I was going to pick Chase Daniel but I am a gracious, giving, and merciful person.
Even with all that being said, I’m not sure Missouri has seen an athlete on the level of Brad Smith. And while, yes, Chase Daniel put Missouri on the map, made them a force, and took the program to heights it had never seen (and rarely visited again), you can argue that Ol’ Number Ten doesn’t even give the Tigers a look if Bd. Smith didn’t don the black and gold.
Smith didn’t have the conference or national recognition that Daniel had, but look upon Smith’s works, ye Mighty, and despair (for Missouri opponents):
- First player in FBS history to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in a career
- First player in FBS history to pass for 2,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in a season twice in a career
- Second player in FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in a season
- Fourth player in FBS history to score 200 points and pass for 200 points in a career
- Sixth player in FBS history to run for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards in a single game (vs. Nebraska in 2005)
- Most rushing yards in FBS history by a freshman quarterback
- First in school history in career rushing yards (4,289), touchdowns (45), and single season rushing touchdowns (18 - 2003)
- Second in school history in total career offensive yards (13,088)
- Second AND fourth in school history in single season rushing yards (1,406 - 2003 and 1,301 - 2005)
- Third in school history in career passing yards (8,799) and touchdowns (56)
- Accounted for five (5) rushing touchdowns and 291 yards rushing against Texas Tech in 2003
Brad Smith helped get the Tigers to their first bowl game since 1998. He helped beat Nebraska for the first time in 24 years. And he made the Tigers a legitimate threat for the first time in decades based off of his athleticism alone. Pinkel’s rebuild was slow and deliberate, and at times Smith felt like a violin virtuoso playing in a Tennessee jug band. But his electric ability to make plays in a way that the college game had rarely seen before was absolutely mesmerizing. It got to the point where you could see a sliver of an opening on the field and know that he could hit it and be gone. And he did it all while being, essentially, the only threat on the field.
Brad Smith set the stage for other quarterbacks like Terrelle Pryor, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Marshall, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, et al. in that you could have an athletic quarterback in a non-option-based offense and craft an offense tailored around their specific skill set. And it took Brad Smith dragging a fragile, “cursed”, and mediocre program to stable levels so that Daniel, Gabbert, Franklin, and Lock could take the torch further.
Smith is also much better suited to the kind of offense I want to run with my team, so that doesn’t hurt either :)