|Missouri redshirt freshman Maclin has shown lots of ways to score|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 21 November 2007 10:50|
Missouri's big-play threat is not so impressed with himself, however, heading into Saturday night's showdown for the Big 12 North title against No. 2 Kansas. His school-record 360-yard day in last week's victory at Kansas State was tainted somewhat by a couple of slip-ups.
``I don't look at the 360,'' the redshirt freshman said. ``I look at the punt return I muffed, I look at the kickoff return I muffed, I look at the pass I dropped, I look at the fumble I had.
``You put all those together, that 360-yard day could have been 500 yards.''
He's been dazzling the opposition from the start, leading No. 3 Missouri (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) with 16 touchdowns. After missing the 2006 season because of knee surgery, Maclin scored twice in his college debut against Illinois - one of them on a 66-yard punt return.
M by an 82-yard sprint down the sideline on a routine pass pattern.
And on and on.
``That dude is the real deal, ain't he?'' said Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib, who will often be lined up against Maclin. ``I enjoy just watching him on SportsCenter.
``He probably won't play all of his years in college. He'll be out early.''
Last week, Maclin was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation national offensive player of the week for the second time. He has 2,309 all-purpose yards, smashing the previous freshman record of 2,026 by Terrell Willis of Rutgers in 1993, and leads the Tigers with 885 yards receiving.
Maclin ranks second in the nation with 209.9 all-purpose yards per game, and is the only player in the country with touchdowns receiving (9), rushing (4), on punt returns (2) and kickoff returns (1).
``He's playing at an unbelievable level right now,'' Tigers quarterback Chase Daniel said. ``One thing about him, he prepares as well as anyone I've ever known. That's a main reason for his success.''
Daniel should know something about success. The school unveiled a Web site last week touting him for the Heisman Trophy, ChaseTheHeisman.com.
Maclin and Daniel will be the biggest challenge yet for Kansas (11-0, 7-0), which is second in the nation in points allowed at 14 per game and eighth overall with 300 yards per game.
``We can't just focus on Maclin, we have to focus on all of them,'' Talib said. ``They have so many weapons that there's nothing we can do to just game plan on Maclin.''
As his resume grows and if the Tigers prove to be more than a one-year wonder, it's not far-fetched to think Maclin's turn is coming. In assessing Daniel's chances at winning the Heisman, coach Gary Pinkel said the key was consistent individual excellence combined with team success.
``You play at the highest level each and every week, and he's doing a lot of those things now,'' Pinkel said. ``Fundamentally, he'll get a lot better.
``That's kind of exciting to think about.''
Maclin injured his right knee in one of the final summer drills before Missouri began fall practice last season. Along with the necessary rehab, the year off allowed him to prepare properly for the next level.
Now, high school football seems like such a sandlot activity.
``I'm a lot smarter, I'm a lot stronger,'' Maclin said. ``I'm 100 times better than I was as a senior in high school.''
And he's hungry for the perfect game.
``I've got to be that way,'' Maclin said. ``If I want to be the best player I can be, I've got to correct the errors.
``I'll let everybody else try to praise me. I look at stuff that I need to get better at.''