The Missouri football team is once again prominently featuring a tight end in its offense this season.
His name is Michael Egnew.
Through nine games, he has caught 66 passes for 531 yards and three touchdowns. His receptions total is the most in the nation among tight ends. The next closest (Iowa State’s Collin Franklin) has 40 to his name.
Pretty impressive, but if you are familiar with Missouri’s offense under coach Gary Pinkel, a pass-first tight end is nothing new. Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman were both All-Americans at the position, and some argued that Danario Alexander could have been listed as a tight end last season.
Egnew is simply the latest in a long line of big targets for Mizzou quarterbacks to throw to.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound junior, who grew up in Plainview, Texas, is averaging eight yards per catch and leads the Tigers in receptions.
In the season opener against Illinois, he caught 10 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Two games later against San Diego State, Blaine Gabbert went to him all night, and he ended with 13 catches for 145 yards.
He wasn’t much of a factor last season (he only grabbed three passes) but is a go-to option now. He’s been so impressive that some are trying to label him as a wide receiver.
He is certainly confident. Earlier this season he boasted about his game in front of reporters.
“What gives me confidence?” Egnew has said. “I would have to say I give me confidence. I can’t be beat. That’s my affirmation. The only person that can beat me is me. They can’t beat us. Only we can beat us.”
Here’s what wide out T.J. Moe has said about him, when asked how he compared to Rucker and Coffman:
“He’s going to follow in the footsteps. He may be more athletic than any of them. He sure blocks like a tight end, but he catches like a receiver. You can call him what you want. He’s a good football player.”