Ever wondered what a Mizzou team that was comprised of only Missouri kids would look like? Or wonder how good an only-Texan Mizzou squad would do? Well, you’re in luck! This offseason, the Rock M Masthead is assembling the best team of Mizzou players by state that they graduated high school from. We compiled a list of the significant starters on every team from the year 2000 on and voted on the best players at their position group in order to create three “All-State” Mizzou squads: Team Missouri, Team Texas, and Team USA. Over the next nine weeks you’ll read about these Mizzou Greats that hailed from the respective regions and, hopefully, come away impressed with just how good these fictional teams could actually be.
Missouri’s claims of being “Tight-End U” are on full display as we vote for some of the best to play the position over the past twenty years.
Dwayne Blakely was technically the first Pinkel tight end to make it in to the NFL. Martin Rucker was the first Pinkel tight end to really make a noticeable impact on the dynamic Missouri passing offense.
But it was Chase Coffman who did it best.
Coffman started seeing the field as a freshman in 2005, rotating in for Rucker part time while accumulating 47 catches for 503 yards and 4 touchdowns. The 2006 season saw him expand in his role - oftentimes being on the field at the same time as Rucker - and producing 58 catches, 638 yards, and 9 touchdowns. The magical 2007 run - when there were too many legitimate offensive weapons to break through - saw a 52 catch, 531 yards, 7 touchdown performance for the junior before he broke out in his Rucker-less senior year, snagging 90 catches for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 2008 season was so good that he was a consensus All-American, won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end, and was picked in the 3rd Round of the NFL draft.
Coffman - and Rucker, to a certain extent - were tight ends that were on the forefront of the passing revolution that embraced “big receiver” type guys to fill in at the tight end role. Neither Rucker nor Coffman stuck around long enough in the NFL to reap the benefits of Bill Belichick embracing the two-tight end-focused passing attack that, eventually, swept through the NFL offensive ranks in the early 2010s. But Coffman was one of several prototypes that were replicated and perfected over the years as the spread-revolution eventually overcame traditional “pro-style” offenses as the system of preference for even blue-blood programs.
But the thing about Coffman was not the genre-defining attributes or the crazy receiving numbers he put up in four years. No, you enjoyed the Chase Coffman Experience (TM) for the times when he ****ing hurdled fools.
Back in the nascent days of Rock M Nation - when gameday threads were just Bill C, Ross, and The Beef riffing to themselves for 3 hours - they called Jeremy Maclin “Turbo Button” for his ability to leave defenders in the dust but were struggling to call Coffman “Hurdle Button” because that was clumsy and dumb. Someone asked what hurdle was on the Nintendo Wii remote and Ross responded “well ‘Thrust Nunchuck Upward’ is equally clumsy”.
And thus, the meme was born.
Coffman went over, around, and through his defenders, encapsulating the tired trope of a guy “too big for corners to cover and too fast for linebackers to cover”. The fact that he saw the field as a freshman was a clear indicator of the type of impact he could have on the program and his final stat line - and specifically his final season - was a symphony of tight end dominance, the likes of which Missouri fans have been looking for (and occasionally seen) ever since then.
The state of Missouri has produced some awesome, athletic tight ends but none has been as dominant as the kid from Peculiar, MO.