Name: Chase Daniel
Weight: 225 lbs.
Gutsy, smart, talented – that’s Missouri’s Chase Daniel. Tiger fans knew they had they had something special with Daniel after his 2006 season debut – as a first-time starter, Daniel went out and set school records with 3,527 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes – but it wasn’t until last year that the rest of the country woke up to this sensational talent. Daniel threw for for 4,306 yards and 33 touchdowns to lead the upstart Tigers to a 12-2 record and a 38-7 win over Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. All due respect to Florida’s Tim Tebow, but Daniel is the best pure passer in the country.
Few people realized it at the time, but the Week 1 showdown between Illinois and Missouri in 2007 featured two of the best young teams in the country. In a preview of what was to come – both for Missouri and their quarterback – Daniel completed 37 of 54 attempts for 359 yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers won 40-34. Later in the season, he would put up similarly impressive numbers against Nebraska (401 passing yards), Oklahoma (361), Colorado (421) and Kansas (361). In all, Daniel posted eight 300-yard games.
Missouri is a program on the rise, but if the Tigers are to repeat the success of their remarkable 2007 run, they’ll need Daniel to have another big year. It won’t be easy. The Tigers must replace their leading rusher (tailback Tony Temple) and leading receiver (tight end Martin Rucker) along with two starters on their offensive line. Sensational sophomore receiver Jeremy Maclin (80 catches, 2,776 total yards in 2007) is back, but at least on offense, this has the look of a slight rebuilding year. Daniel will almost certainly be outstanding. The question is whether he’ll have enough help to get over the BCS hump.