Big 12: Atiyyah Ellison

Missouri's all-decade team

January, 20, 2010
1/20/10
12:04
PM ET
After sputtering in the early part of the decade, the Tigers became consistent winners in the latter part of the decade, soaring as high as No. 1 nationally in the week before the 2007 Big 12 title game.

The Tigers are still looking for their first Big 12 title, but they've had many memorable players dot their rosters over the decade.

Here's a look at the best of them. The toughest decision was to leave Justin Gage off the team at wide receiver, although I opted to go with an alignment much like offensive coordinator David Yost preferred, with one running back, two wide receivers and two tight ends. My team is reflected with that strategy.

OFFENSE

QB: Chase Daniel

RB: Zack Abron

WR: Jeremy Maclin

WR: Danario Alexander

TE: Chase Coffman

TE: Martin Rucker

OL: Joel Clinger

OL: Tony Palmer

OL: Kurtis Gregory

OL: Rob Droege

C: Adam Spieker

DEFENSE

DL: Justin Smith

DL: Atiyyah Ellison

DL: Lorenzo Williams

DL: Ziggy Hood

LB: Sean Weatherspoon

LB: Marcus Bacon

LB: Brock Christopher

DB: William Moore

DB: Pig Brown

DB: David Overstreet

DB: Shirdonya Mitchell

K: Jeff Wolfert

P: Jake Harry

KR: Jeremy Maclin

Offensive player of the decade: QB Chase Daniel. Orchestrated the Tigers’ back-to-back North Division championship teams in 2007-08, finishing fourth in the Heisman race in 2007 and setting the school’s career total offense and passing records as a senior.

Defensive player of the decade: LB Sean Weatherspoon. Lightly recruited player who emerged to become the dominant defensive player for the Tigers during his three-season career as a starter, leading the team in tackles each season.

Coach of the decade: Gary Pinkel. After struggling in his first two seasons, has taken the Tigers to a bowl game in every season except one, including two Big 12 title games and a No. 4 finish in the 2007 season.

Memory of the decade: Missouri’s 36-28 victory over Kansas in a 2007 showdown for the Big 12 North title pushed the Tigers to their first Big 12 championship game appearance. Daniel completed 40 of 49 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns, but the game wasn’t settled until Lorenzo Williams sacked Todd Reesing for a safety to ice the victory.

Heralded Missouri recruit headed to junior college

June, 2, 2009
6/02/09
10:38
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Top Missouri recruit Sheldon Richardson is headed for junior college after failing to qualify academically.

Several Missouri newspapers report that Richardson is head to the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., to improve his grades.

Richardson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he still plans to attend Missouri after junior college.

"I'm not opening up my recruiting: It's still Mizzou," he told the Post-Dispatch Tuesday morning. "It's going to hold up. Me and (assistant coach Cornell) Ford and (head coach) Gary Pinkel and Coach (Curtis) Allen (in California) planned a year-and-a-half and then I'll be back."


The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that several key Tigers over the years have faced similar educational challenges before attending Missouri. Players like defensive lineman Atiyyah Ellison, cornerback Darnell Terrell and tailback Damien Nash all attended junior college before enrolling again at Missouri. Richardson will have to earn his associate's degree from junior college before enrolling at Missouri, plus sign another letter of intent.

Interestingly, Richardson and his family had been impressed with Missouri's potential plan if he did not qualify academically. When he announced he would be attending Missouri back in February, those plans were among the major reasons he opted to attend that school rather than Miami. The Hurricanes were Richardson's other finalist.

Richardson plans to play both tight end and defensive tackle at junior college with eventual plans to try to play both positions in college.

And he also made a direct promise to Kansas fans  on his Facebook page of his plans when he returns to Missouri, according to the Kansas City Star.

"While I'm there, we won't lose (to KU)," Richardson wrote.

Richardson's loss is a disappointment to Pinkel and his staff, but I don't really know how seriously they thought his chances of qualifying would be. They likely prepared for the worst and if Richardson would become eligible, it would be a bonus.

But he could still develop into the kind of player that recruiting analysts were salivating about, at the most important of all defensive positions.

Some recruiting analysts have said that Richardson could develop into the kind of player that Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy are for their respective teams.

If so, Richardson would still be well worth the wait.

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