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Tyler Badie is off to a historically great start

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They say you’re the company you keep, and Tyler Badie is keeping some pretty impressive company through the first two weeks of the season.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

How do you know when someone is ready to take on a larger role? It’s a question anyone in a leadership position has asked themselves at some point in time. For Eli Drinkwitz, it was a question he had to ask of himself and his staff over the offseason in regards to Tyler Badie.

Was the 5-foot-8, 195 pound running back really ready for a massive workload?

Badie averaged just seven touches per game a year ago. He finished the season with fewer than 50 carries.

He’s already up to 39 carries in the first two games of the season. He’s touched the ball 52 times in the Tigers’ first two games. I think it’s fair to say he’s done well taking over for Larry Rountree III.

Typically, an increase in volume leads to a decrease in efficiency. It’s hard for any player to be as efficient on 20 touches per game as they might be on five. Badie seems to be breaking the law of averages as often as he breaks the laws of physics.

Badie averaged 7.6 yards per touch in 2020. He’s averaging a whopping 7.5 yards per touch in 2021. Volume plus efficiency equals production. And, my goodness has Badie been productive. His new role has him leading the country in yards from scrimmage through the first two weeks of the college football season. He just became the first Missouri player in at least the last two decades with 100+ rushing yards and 100+ receiving yards through the first two games of the season.

This begs the question: Just how productive could Badie be in 2021?

Notable Mizzou RBs in their Final Season

Year: Class: Running Back: Rushing Yards: Receiving Yards: Yards from Scrimmage: Yards Per Touch: Total Touchdowns:
Year: Class: Running Back: Rushing Yards: Receiving Yards: Yards from Scrimmage: Yards Per Touch: Total Touchdowns:
2003 SR Zack Abron 1,018 171 1,189 5.3 13
2004 JR Damien Nash 792 176 968 5.1 8
2007 SR Tony Temple 1,039 68 1,107 5.7 13
2009 JR Derrick Washington 865 156 1,021 4.7 10
2012 SR Kendial Lawrence 1,025 114 1,139 5.2 12
2013 JR Henry Josey 1,166 65 1,231 6.7 17
2014 SR Marcus Murphy 924 212 1,136 5.5 5
2017 SR Ish Witter 1,049 87 1,136 5.7 7
2020 SR Larry Rountree 972 100 1,072 4.8 14
2021 JR Tyler Badie 264 128 392 7.5 3

He’s currently on pace for nearly 1,600 rushing yards, 750 receiving yards and 18 total touchdowns. That seems... unlikely? Let’s use history as a bit of a guide.

According to Sports Reference, Badie is the 10th player in the last 20 years with at least 250 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards through the first two weeks of a season. The last to do so was Christian McCaffrey at Stanford in 2016. The list also include the likes of Ameer Abdullah, Jay Ajayi, Joseph Randle and Steven Jackson.

The nine previous players to accomplish this feat went on to finish with an average of 1500 rushing yards, 350 receiving yards and 21 total touchdowns. If Badie matches those numbers at the end of 2021, it would go down as one of the most productive seasons in the history of Missouri football.

Okay, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Badie’s been excellent, but is he really going to be that productive the rest of the year? It’s hard to say. Regardless, he’s off to an incredible start and one that has only been matched by the best of the best of the last 20 years. Badie’s all-around skill-set is perfect for a creative play-caller such as Eli Drinkwitz. It’ll be interesting to see how the Tigers keep Badie involved as the season evolves and teams start honing in more and more on Mizzou’s star running back.