Around this time last year, Keke Chism was the talk of camp. He was making an impression on his coaches and teammates last year, and as such, the expectations for his 2020 season were lofty.
The start of the season, however, was a bit underwhelming. There are plenty of reasons to explain why that was the case. I mean, he was making the adjustment from the Division II level to playing in the best football conference in the country. He had no real spring practice and was forced to miss his third game of the season (vs. LSU) due to being in Covid protocol. It is very understandable how he could’ve struggled.
During the game against Florida, he managed to rack up some garbage time stats, but there was a sense that it could be exactly what he needed to gain some confidence and ramp up his production. And that he did.
After the Florida game, Chism upped his game to a new level. In five games, Chism had 26 catches for 326 yards and a touchdown. In addition to the statistical impact, he had a few moments where he came up big for Missouri in the game against Arkansas.
In the final five games, Chism accounted for just about 71% of his season production. That was a strong finish, and for a lot of players, that would’ve been it for their playing careers. However, due to the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to all of college football, Chism decided to run to run it back and see if he can’t improve his chances of being drafted to the NFL.
This was, and should’ve been, welcome news to Missouri fans. They get another year to watch a player who had some nice moments last season, but maybe would benefit from another year to improve on the overall consistency in his game.
It’s not like you can’t see the abilities, though. Chism has a unique combination of speed, size and fluidity. He gets in and out of his breaks nicely, and has a good habit of catching with his hands. I also noticed that Chism isn’t afraid to block. He was spotted many times stalk blocking down the field for Rountree in 2020. It’s just a matter of doing those things in a consistent manner and being a consistent target for Connor Bazelak.
Chism had a solid first season at Mizzou in 2020. He battled through the issues that the pandemic brought towards Missouri Football, and managed to adjust to the speed and talent of SEC players in a decent amount of time. In his second season at Missouri, though, he’s going to have another year with the same teammates and coaches, and more importantly, the same quarterback. There have also been additions to the offense in Mookie Cooper and Dominic Lovett, who can hopefully help take some of the pressure off Chism and command the attention of the defense. It’ll be a great opportunity for him to show that he can be a more consistent, impactful receiver.
If he can add some statistical production, Keke Chism could be finding himself not just being a problem for college defenders, but also being an issue for pro defenders one day as well.
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