Pairing down to the top 5 athletes in Missouri history is no easy task, given the level of talent that called Columbia home.
A list of 5 leaves plenty of great athletes on the outside looking in at the debate. We’re talking MLB all-stars (Ian Kinsler), guys who have thrown 2 no-hitters (Max Scherzer) and NASCAR championship contenders (Carl Edwards).
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 13, 2015
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It also means the exclusion of football players-turned-WWE stars (Gene Snitsky). Or 2-time Super Bowl winners-turned-Hollywood actors (John Matuszak, a man whose filmography boasts terrifying characters named Sloth, Stain and John Matuszak).
Mizzou was home to bevy of great players across every major sport. Most notably, the Tigers are known for churning out some of the most menacing brutes to gain NCAA eligibility, ranging from defensive ends and linebackers to wrestlers.
It’s also a school you don’t want to fight. Especially with current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and 2-time MMA Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler receiving letters from the Missouri Alumni Association.
— UFC Türkiye (@UFCTurkiye) February 16, 2017
So who are Mizzou’s best alumni, the Tigers that pushed the others out of the top 5? Let us know what you think about SEC Country’s in the comment section.
1. Kellen Winslow, football
Winslow played a part in revolutionizing the role of the tight end as a deep threat and is among the NFL’s all-time greats at the position. That’s testament to his inclusion in both the Pro Football and College Football halls of fame.
It all began at the University of Missouri — quite literally as Winslow began playing football during his senior year in high school. Winslow went on to consensus All-America status as the Tigers upset top-5-ranked Notre Dame and Nebraska during the 1978 season.
He finished his career in Columbia with 1,089 yards and 10 touchdowns.
2. Chase Daniel
Daniel learned a lot his freshman year while serving as backup quarterback to Brad Smith. The understudy eventually became the master.
Daniel passed Smith with 13,485 career yards en route to being the program’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,515) and touchdowns (101).
Daniel led Mizzou to its highest ranking in the season-ending AP Top 25, guiding the Tigers to No. 4 in the nation after the 2007 season. He was a 2-time Heisman Trophy candidate, 2007 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, and 2007-08 Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year.
Daniel is the Philadelphia Eagle’ second-sting quarterback behind Carson Wentz, after stints with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs.
3. Ben Askren, wrestling
Woodley and Chandler aren’t the only Mizzou alumni making a name for themselves in the ring. Askren is the current ONE welterweight champion. But his ring prowess far precedes his success in mixed martial arts.
Askren used his unorthodox style to win NCAA wrestling titles in 2006 and 2007. He parlayed a University of Missouri Hall of Fame career into an opportunity to represent the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics — losing to Cuba’s Ivan Fundora in the second round.
These days, Askren has 15 wins in 16 mixed martial fights, with 1 no-contest. Of those wins, 8 were by knockout or submission (4 apiece).
4. Brad Smith, football
Daniel might own most of Mizzou’s quarterback records, but he didn’t have anything on Smith’s running game.
Smith is the Tigers’ all-time leading rusher with 4,289 yards, which is more than a 1,000 more than the next closest player, Zack Abron.
Smith could also do it with his arm. He was the first player in college football history to pass for more than 8,000 career yards while rushing for another 4,000 on the ground. No other player in NCAA history threw for more than 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a single season twice.
Smith went on to a successful NFL career, including stops with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.
5. Norm Stewart, basketball
Before Stormin’ Norman was a college basketball hall of fame coach at Missouri, he was a heck of a player. Stewart excelled at basketball and baseball between 1953 and 1956 with the Tigers. The Baltimore Orioles drafted Stewart, and he played for the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks. His 24.1 scoring average is the fourth highest in school history. Steward was a 2-time Tigers captain and 1956 Helms Foundation All-American.
Stewart returned to Columbia to coach the Tigers in 1967. He around for 32 years and had a record of 634-333. Stewart’s Tigers won 14 Big 8 or Big 12 titles and made the NCAA Tournament 16 times. In 1994 Stewart was Associated Press Coach of the Year.