Missouri has a long line of players who have excelled at their respective positions and have individual traits that help make them stand out. You know, like Drew Lock’s arm strength or the athletic ability and quick twitch of a guy like Sheldon Richardson.
Which is a good starting point for this question: How would you build your ideal player? This week, we’ll build the best running back we possibly can.
The makings of the best running backs are broken down to these categories:
- Pass Catching
Speed: Henry Josey, 2010-2013
I think there were a lot of guys with similar profiles in the speed category, but Josey was my choice based on his straight line speed, specifically after his catastrophic knee injury in 2011. When the hole was hit, Josey could go from 0-100 really quick. That’s all after one of the worst knee injuries we’ve ever seen an athlete suffer.
Heart and determination isn’t a category, but if it was, this guy would be my pick there, too. To get your body back to what he got it to is nothing short of remarkable. Then in the biggest spot, on what was probably the best Mizzou team of all time, Josey turned on the jets and pulled away from the rest.
Vision: Tony Temple, 2004-2007
Temple was your prototypical running back for the zone game that Missouri operated in his time there. He was patient, waited for the holes to open and hit his jump cuts hard. This is just one example, but look how he rides the hip of his offensive lineman and is directing traffic into the end zone.
Temple was a fun back to watch, and so much of what made him fun was his ability to bust runs because of his ability to make the right cut at the right time.
Power: Zach Abron, 2000-2003
There were candidates that were had an argument, but in the end how do you not choose a guy who was once described by his coach as a “bowling ball of butcher knives”?
Abron has become a bit underrated as time has progressed, however power was absolutely his game. He ran low, bounced off of arm tackles and made defenders think twice about tackling him. For all of his bruising running, he finished his time at Mizzou as the leading rusher in Mizzou history and has since slid to third after a couple of guys named Brad Smith and Larry Rountree III passed him.
Elusiveness: Marcus Murphy, 2010-2014
Marcus Murphy was different.
No, he doesn’t have the career numbers that some of these other guys do but he was one of the most explosive players in recent memory for Missouri. He was so explosive that he also found himself returning punts and kicks for the Tigers. In his time at Missouri, he scored 25 total touchdowns with seven coming from punt or kick returns.
Talk about making guys miss.
Murphy was ridiculously fun to watch because he was the definition of home run ability. Any given play, he could bust a long run, flip the field with a return, or just make a “wow” play to get everyone going. He’s my choice here.
Pass Catching: Tyler Badie, 2018-2021
If we’re building the best running back possible in 2022, they have to be a three-down back. They need to be not just an efficient runner, but also a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield. Tyler Badie was exactly that.
In his time at Missouri, he was a more than capable pass catching back for the Tigers. He was initially branded as a third down back for his first three years on campus and really stood out for his reliability. I think back to the final drive at Purdue in 2018 and with a running back room that featured Larry Rountree III and Damarea Crockett, it was a true freshman in Tyler Badie who was on the field with Drew Lock.
He also made this key reception that helped the Tigers win the game:
This, in addition to the numerous screen plays and check downs that he’s caught are the reasons why I’d choose Badie here.