The Mount Rushmore of Missouri Tigers Football

Last Word on Sports is looking at the Division 1 colleges across the country and breaking down who is on the “Mount Rushmore” of their college football teams. Today’s focus is on the University of Missouri Tigers.  Being a fan of the Missouri Tigers can be painful at times, especially as fans have to watch their team lose to teams that they should be beat but defeat teams they should lose to.

Mizzou has had some great players suit up for them and coming up with the four best was tricky.  Judging which players should be on the Mount Rushmore for Missouri football was no easy task.  Should coaches be listed or is just players?  For purposes of this article coaches were left off so the focus could be put on the players.

Mizzou has had enough good coaches that they could easily do a Mount Rushmore of just coaches.  No disrespect at all to Don Faurot, Gary Pinkel, and Dan Devine just to name a few.  They were all great coaches for Mizzou, and they deserve respect, but this is about the players who have played for Tigers.

The Mount Rushmore of Missouri Tigers Football

Brad Smith

Brad Smith was one of the most productive dual threat quarterbacks in college football, including Tim Tebow.  We have yet to another player throw for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in a collegiate career.  While playing for the Tigers Smith had 8,799 career passing yards and threw 101 career touchdowns. Smith was not the greatest quarterback at Mizzou, but he still holds the Tigers record for career rushing yards with 4,289 and career rushing touchdowns at 45.

Smith helped transform the Missouri Tigers into the football team they are today.  At the time Brad Smith took over the quarterback job at Mizzou the Tigers were a bottom feeding to a middle of the pack team in the Big 12. Even though Smith never took his team to a Big 12 Championship game, he helped get Missouri recognized and paved the way for the next guy on the list to make Mizzou even better known.

Chase Daniel

When most people think of University of Missouri football, particularly in recent years, they think of Chase Daniel, who could easily be the most iconic quarterback in school history.  The talented signal caller was a Heisman finalist in 2007, along with receiving All-Big 12 and second team All-American honors and being named as a finalist for the Walter Camp, Manning, and Davey O’Brien awards.  With Daniel under center the Tigers nearly won their first National Championship.

Daniel helped lead Mizzou to back-to-back Big 12 Championship games but, the Tigers ultimately lost to the Oklahoma Sooners both times.  Daniel would amass 12,515 passing yards and 101 touchdowns while at Mizzou.  Daniel played his entire career for the Tigers in the Big 12 where his passing records put him fourth of all-time, as of now, but if he would have played in the SEC, like Missouri does currently, he would be second all-time only behind Aaron Murray.  Both Murray and Daniel would become teammates in the NFL on the Kansas City Chiefs, but I digress.

Kellen Winslow

Kellen Winslow, the only player on this list who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was a two-time all-conference selection in the Big 8 and a consensus All-American in 1978 after not playing football at all in high school until his senior year.  Winslow helped the position of tight end evolve to one where they are now playmakers instead of essentially just being an extra offensive lineman an who would block. Most of the best tight ends in the NFL today are pass catchers first and blockers second and Winslow helped paved the way.

Winslow might have been underutilized a little bit while he was at Missouri but, for his day and age, the stats he put up for a tight end were pretty impressive.  In his four years at Mizzou, he recorded 71 receptions for 1,089 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those might not be the best numbers when compared to today’s tight ends, but back in the mid-to-late seventies those were very solid numbers.

Jeremy Maclin

Jeremy Maclin only played at Mizzou for two full seasons but he was Daniel’s favorite target.  Daniel and Macline tore apart Big 12 defenses in their two years together.  Maclin might have spent less time at Missouri than the other players on this list, but he had quite the effect on Missouri football when he played.

Not only did Maclin catch passes but he returned punts and kickoffs as well. At one point in time Daniel and Maclin were both considered Heisman hopefuls.  In 2007 the talented wide receiver led the Big 12 in punt return touchdowns and was second in the nation in that statistic.  Maclin also led the Big 12 in receptions in 2008 with 102 and was a consensus All-American both in 2007 and 2008.

This completes the University of Missouri Tigers Mount Rushmore. Of course there are some very deserving players who were left off, but there are only four spots.

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