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July 10, 2007

25 Tigers to watch: Chase Patton

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The Missouri Tigers open camp on August 4th, which is now just 25 days away. Over the next 25 days, PowerMizzou.com is counting down the 25 players on the roster who will be most influential in determining just how good the Tigers are this season. To be clear, this is not a list of the 25 best players on the roster. It is not a list of the players that will have the biggest seasons or put up the best numbers. In reverse order, we are counting down the 25 players who we think could have the most influence on the outcome of the 12 games on Missouri's 2007 schedule. Our list takes into account positions of strength and weakness on the team, experience, potential and many other factors.

25. Chase Patton

The vitals: Chase Patton opens fall camp as the No. 2 quarterback on the Missouri roster behind Chase Daniel. Barring something completely unforeseen, that is exactly where he will be come September 1st, when the Tigers face Illinois.

Career so far: Patton came out of high school as one of the top quarterbacks in America and the number one player in the state of Missouri in the Class of 2004. However, when Daniel won the job as the backup during Brad Smith's senior year, it put a serious dent in Patton's chances to ever start a game for the Tigers. He has not thrown a pass in his two years so far.

Why he's on the list: Seriously, you are thinking, we are starting this list with a guy who, if things go right, will never start a game and may not even play a meaningful snap? Yes, we absolutely are. Think back to 2005. The Tigers are getting hammered by Iowa State and Smith goes down with an injury halfway through the fourth quarter. The backup comes in and leads the Tigers to an overtime win. Without that win, Missouri does not make a bowl game in 2005. Without that win, who knows what happens the following year? Backup quarterbacks are hugely important to having a successful program. With as much as Daniel ran last year, and as many hits as he took, it is hard to imagine he will get through the entire season without even being banged up for a play. If Daniel does indeed go down, whether it is for a month, a week or a play, Patton has to be ready to go. At the end of the year, we could be looking back at a drive led by Patton that was the difference between first and second in the Big 12 North. He absolutely belongs on the list…in fact, by the end of the year, he might be a whole lot higher.

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