What significance do watch lists really have? In the long run, is being on a watch list really that special? It’s debatable, but it at least sounds impressive, and there’s some merit to it.
No matter what your opinion on them is, Mizzou football has found themselves on many watch lists. One thing that caught my eye was the fact that every offensive playmaker was on a watch list (Drew Lock – Davey O’Brien, Damarea Crockett – Doak Walker, Emanuel Hall – Biletnikoff, Albert Okwuegbunam – Mackey).
The potential that comes with this offense is something I wanted to dig in to. How does the potential of this offense stack up to some of Mizzou’s greatest? The results shocked me. When you compare the stats, this team ranks up there with one of the best in Mizzou history.
I’d like to preface by saying that yes, I understand Mizzou did not have the strongest schedule last year. Nonconference games against the likes of Missouri State, Idaho, and UCONN inflated stats. Conference blowouts against Florida, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt inflated stats.
I chose to ignore strength of schedule in this comparison, mostly because trying to factor in strength of schedule and what-not is just way too complicated and there are so many factors that go into it. So keep that in mind as you read this, this is solely statistical comparisons.
First off, where do the Tigers stand heading into this season? Drew Lock is a given. 3,964 passing yards, an SEC record 44 passing touchdowns, perhaps the best quarterback in college football this season, you’ve already heard it.
Damarea Crockett is an interesting story. Marred with injury last season, he only put up 481 yards after putting up 1,062 as a freshman. He says he’s 100% healthy physically but still lacks in the mental game. If he can get his mind right and he actually is 100% healthy, watch out.
If not, you’ve got Larry Rountree, who surprisingly put together 703 rushing yards last season.
While you lost the leading receiver in J’Mon Moore, you still return two receivers in Emanuel Hall and Johnathan Johnson that caught for 817 and 724 yards respectively.
If all that isn’t enough, you finally have a receiving threat at tight end in Albert Okwuegbunam who had 415 receiving yards last year. You’d also get major points if you used his name in a game of Scrabble.
So let’s start backtracking. What years has Mizzou seemingly had a lot of potential going into the season on the offensive side of the ball?
There was 2014. Maty Mauk showed some potential in 2013 and looked like he’d be a good replacement to James Franklin, DGB caught for 883 yards, and Henry Josey rushed for 1,166. But Henry Josey declared for the draft, there was no real threat at tight end, and we all know how the DGB saga ended.
Let’s hop back two years, 2012. James Franklin played well in 2011 proving he was a formidable replacement to Blaine Gabbert. TJ Moe and Michael Egnew, the last great Missouri tight end, were coming off really good years, and Henry Josey ran for 1,168 yards before going down with a severe knee injury.
Franklin suffered through injuries all year, Josey’s injury was so bad he didn’t play at all, and Moe and Egnew’s numbers went down with Corbin Berkstresser as their QB. You could argue 2011 had the same potential, and all three (Franklin, Moe, Egnew) put up better numbers, but nobody knew how good Josey would be going into the season.
That brings us to the team with the closest resemblance to this year’s team as far as potential goes. Hold on to your seats.
In case you don’t remember, that’s the team that returned Chase Daniel, the deadliest tight end duo in Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, Tony Temple, and recruited some wide receiver from Kirkwood named Jeremy Maclin.
Chase Daniel went on to throw for 4,306 yards that season, J Mac caught 1,055, Rucker and Coffman brought in 834 and 531 respectively, and Tony Temple rushed for 1,063. They played six ranked teams, played in the Big 12 Championship game and beat Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
I’m not going to sit here and say that Damarea Crockett will play like Tony Temple, I’m not saying Okwuegbunam will rise to the level of Rucker or Coffman, I’m not saying that Emanuel Hall or Johnathan Johnson is the next J Mac, it’s just something to think about.
The secondary will dictate how successful this team is this season. The offense is full of firepower. Whether they live up to it or not, it’s a lot of fun and exciting to see these guys statistically comparable to some of the greats in Tiger history.