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Pitt Gorilla
10-03-2006, 12:25 PM
http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/sports/colleges/15666614.htm

Daniel leads resurrection of Mizzou football

By JENNIFER FLOYD ENGEL
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Football Saturdays at Missouri seldom have looked like anything seen in Austin, College Station or Lubbock.

So this particular Saturday was somewhat startling.

Almost 60,000 gold-clad fans wedged themselves into Faurot Field early, raucously chanted "M-I-Z" and "Z-O-U" all game, stayed late and left happy.

For anybody who grew up in Texas, this scene probably doesn't seem extraordinary. Seeing all of this happen at a Missouri football game felt somewhat like a revival.

Fans arrive doubters and leave believers, chanting and hoping and dreaming.

Welcome to the power of Chase Daniel.

"Chase is the man," Tigers receiver Will Franklin said. "He has been the man since he started here at the University of Missouri."

A buzz surrounds Mizzou football nowadays, in no small part because of Daniel, a sophomore quarterback from Southlake who somehow slipped out of Texas and has been invigorating a football program, a fan base and an entire state since.

A raging debate on St. Louis sports talk radio Friday was whether Daniel was the best quarterback in Missouri history, despite that little tiny detail of him only starting five games.

The consensus anyway? Yes.

What has helped Daniel reach almost mythical proportions in Columbia so quickly is almost everybody has heard the story that he had a choice and he chose them.

He had a last-second scholarship offer from Texas.

A chance to be a Longhorn. His childhood dream handed to him for the taking.

By now, this story has been told so many times that myth and reality have become blurred. What happened was actually pretty simple.

Nationally prized quarterback recruit Ryan Perrilloux waffled on his verbal commitment to Texas. So Longhorns coach Mack Brown decided to call Carroll coaches to see if Daniel might be interested.

Texas already had called a couple of times during recruiting, unlike Texas Tech and Texas A&M who showed zero to minimal interest. To be fair, Brown always had been honest with Daniel, explaining he had Colt McCoy ranked as his No. 2 behind Perrilloux.

When Perrilloux bailed on Texas, McCoy bumped to No. 1 and Daniel to No. 2.

"Texas is a great school, and I love Texas. They were my team growing up," Daniel said. "But it is all about commitment. These days a lot of people are changing them, but I just wanted to stay true."

Missouri players had heard rumors of Perrilloux's flakiness, too, and figured Daniel was gone. Texas kids normally do not pass on a chance to be a Longhorn, and oral commitments, well, seriously, who keeps them nowadays?

Obviously, Daniel does.

"It kind of did surprise me," Arlington High alum and Tigers receiver Brad Ekwerekwu said. "I did not know him that well, but when I heard that story, I knew it was meant to be."

Daniel is still asked "Why?"

Why does a kid who grew rooting for Texas turn down a chance to play there to go to a school whose history is fifth down and also-ran?

"Yeah, if Texas had of come right away, everybody knows Chase would have gone to Texas," Daniel's mom, Vickie, said. "That was his childhood dream. But it didn't work out that way. And now that it all has come down and happened, he's where he wants to be. He really is happy."

Franklin probably best summarized what Daniel's decision meant to Missouri: "They did not need another gunslinger down there. We did. That was a big recruit to bring in here, and he came in with a swag."

His Tiger teammates have taken to calling him "T.M.," short for "The Man".

Watching him Saturday as he dissected Colorado with four touchdown passes in a 28-13 win that pushed Missouri to 5-0 for the first time since 1981, it seems well earned.

Tigers coach Gary Pinkel stumbled at first when asked if what happened Saturday has become ho-hum, just what Daniel does. He finally asked: "He's a pretty good player isn't he?" in lieu of an answer.

It started with Daniel leading Missouri to an overtime victory against Iowa State last season when starter Brad Smith was hurt. What has amazed Pinkel is he keeps getting better.

"He's a special guy," Pinkel said. "He's got a lot of the 'it' and intangibles necessary to be a college quarterback."

Words like "it" and "swag" and "winner" seem to be flung around when people talk about Daniel.

He certainly is not a prototype. He's more a mosh pit of intangibles.

Who knows if Daniel always possessed that special something and playing at Carroll merely honed it, or if playing for the Dragons is why he has it.

Daniel credits coach Todd Dodge. He disagrees.

"He's an outstanding player," Dodge said. "He has all of the intangibles that you want. The thing that always impresses me is he's such a competitor. His only limitation is your imagination. He's got all the swagger you need as a quarterback."

Playing in Southlake, Daniel already had been indoctrinated to national TV appearances, pressure, ranking and an offense almost exactly like what Pinkel runs at Mizzou.

"I remember watching him play on national TV my freshman year," Franklin said. "We were playing Okie State and we were all together and he was really impressive, and guys were hyped. Especially offensive guys.

"Guys were yelling 'Hey, we got a gunslinger coming.'"

Daniel has become a leader for this Missouri revival, which travels to Tech (a school that passed on Daniel) on Saturday (which also happens to be Daniel's birthday).

"It is probably a great story for some Texas papers, and that is probably why you are up here," Daniel said. "What is a great story to me is if we keep winning."

ONLINE: mutigers.com

MISSOURI FOOTBALL AT TEXAS TECH, 6 p.m. SATURDAY. TV: TBS; RADIO: KHYI/95.3 FM, KHFX/1460 AM

TEXAS GUNSLINGERS

Six of the top 10 passing quarterbacks in the nation either play in Texas or are from Texas (Chase Daniel, Carroll HS; Chase Holbrook, L.D. Bell HS):

Rk. Player, school Cl. Att Com Int Yards TDs Cmp/gm
1. Chase Holbrook, N.M. State So. 212 142 3 1,711 13 35.50
2. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech So. 222 149 2 1,559 15 29.80
3. Shawn Bell, Baylor Sr. 217 138 5 1,353 9 27.60
4. Colt Brennan, Hawaii Jr. 156 109 5 1,443 14 27.25
5. John Beck, BYU Sr. 154 105 2 1,286 8 26.25
6. Jordan Palmer, UTEP Sr. 142 98 8 1,172 10 24.50
7. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame Sr. 196 121 4 1,402 13 24.20
8. John David Booty, USC Jr. 142 96 2 966 10 24.00
9. Chase Daniel, Missouri So. 177 113 4 1,273 13 22.60
10. Kevin Kolb, Houston Sr. 163 112 1 1,389 12 22.40

crispystl420
10-03-2006, 02:53 PM
I'm stoked this season. I'm trying to keep from getting my hopes up though.

Woodrow Call
10-03-2006, 03:05 PM
I'm stoked this season. I'm trying to keep from getting my hopes up though.

I'm in the same boat, trying not to get to excited. This 2 game trip in Texas is going to be tough but just imagine for a second coming out of that trip 7-0 and a Top 15 ranking. Man that would be sweet.

crispystl420
10-03-2006, 03:42 PM
I'm in the same boat, trying not to get to excited. This 2 game trip in Texas is going to be tough but just imagine for a second coming out of that trip 7-0 and a Top 15 ranking. Man that would be sweet.

I'd shit. If we cam out of there with two wins we would be setting real pretty though. I also think we got a shot to beat Oklahoma at home.