Scott Warmann April 30, 2011 9:49 AM
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KMOX, St. Louis–Well as the NFL draft winds down this weekend all of us armchair quarterbacks take a turn to give our analysis on what team did the best to improve itself for the upcoming year. I think I have come up with the slam dunk winner: The University of Missouri football program.
With Aldon Smith and Blaine Gabbert being selected in the top 10 of the draft on Thursday night, to me there isn’t any better exposure next to winning a National Championship for the Tigers. And it really goes beyond just the selections in the first round. The amount of exposure the program received over the months leading into the draft with the conversation of the two former Tiger players is incredible. Plus, there was a half hour show with Gabbert sitting down with Jon Gruden of ESPN showing Blaine’s highlights during his years as a Tiger QB. You talk about free advertising for the football program. Wow!
There are some pretty incredible numbers when you look at players from the MU football program heading to the next level. Chad Moller, the Sports Information Director at Mizzou, tweeted on Thursday that since 2009 the Tigers have had five first round draft choices. Only Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide has more number one picks in that span of time than Mizzou. And look at the amount of Tigers playing in the league now. There are 16 former MU players on current NFL rosters and we know of at least two more with the selection of Gabbert and Smith. But it could be more with Tim Barnes and company. You have to go back to the late 70’s and early 80’s when there was this many former Tigers playing in the league.
As we learn over time having success in the recruiting war at the collegiate level is such a huge part of having a successful program. Well Gary Pinkel and company should be able to bottle all of this exposure up and be able to sell the Tiger football program like it has never been able to before. How can any high school football player not even give some consideration to the MU football program with it’s team success and the pipeline it has created to the NFL?
While a National Championship would be an incredible feet for the Tiger program, give Gary Pinkel all the credit in the world for taking this Tiger football program to heights we haven’t seen in over 30 years. As a former student of the school during the Woody Widenhoffer era, I would have never imagined this would have happened to this program. Kudos to Coach Pinkel and the entire Tiger football program you are my winners in this years draft.
Scott Warmann is a host on the Sports Hub