Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

One-by-one, we count down the Big 12's top players. At No. 26, we have the latest in Missouri's run of All-American tight ends, Michael Egnew.

26) Michael Egnew, senior TE, Missouri

Coming out of Plainview, Texas, the 200-pound Egnew was considered a too-slow wide receiver, failing to gain interest from any of the four Texas-based Big 12 schools.

Four years and 45 pounds later, Egnew is a returning first-team All-American tight end, and the next link in the Tigers' tradition of popping out receiving threats at the position.

Looking back, it's difficult to see how he didn't attract more attention. At 6-foot-6, Egnew had a 40-yard dash time of 4.64 seconds, a time that while not fast, isn't usually slow enough to keep coaches from looking at a 6-6, 200-pound player. And he showed great overall athleticism, standing out at basketball and finishing second in the state Class 4A long jump. He also made first-team All-District as a junior — so it wasn't like he came out of nowhere — despite playing on a run-heavy team.

Still, for whatever reason, Egnew was one of those players who slipped through the cracks, and for Missouri's gain. After catching just seven passes for 47 yards in his first two seasons, he exploded as a junior, snagging 90 passes for 762 yards and five touchdowns. His 6.92 receptions per game ranked 10th nationally, putting him on par with many of the country's top receivers.

The key now will be to see whether he can stretch the field the way his predecessors Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman did. Because while his 90-catch number is staggering, his 8.5 yards per catch and five touchdowns are both numbers that can be improved.

But after the way things went four years ago, who is there left to doubt him?

2010 Stats: 90 catches, 762 yards, five touchdowns

No. 27: Texas A&M CB Coryell Judie

No. 28: Texas DB Kenny Vaccaro

No. 29: Oklahoma DE/LB Ronnell Lewis

No. 30: Texas A&M RB Christine Michael

No. 31: Kansas OL Jeremiah Hatch

No. 32: Texas Tech OL Lonnie Edwards

No. 33: Missouri DE Jacquies Smith

No. 34: Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

No. 35: Texas WR Mike Davis

No. 36: Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat

No. 37: Kansas State DB David Garrett

No. 38: Oklahoma OL Gabe Ikard

No. 39: Texas Tech RB Eric Stephens

No. 40: Baylor OL Philip Blake

No. 41: Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden

No. 42: Texas DL Alex Okafor

No. 43: Texas A&M DL Tony Jerod-Eddie

No. 44: Kansas RB James Sims

No. 45: Texas Tech S Cody Davis

No. 46: Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson

No. 47: Kansas State S Ty Zimmerman

No. 48: Baylor DE/LB Tevin Elliot

No. 49: Kansas State DE Brandon Harold

No. 50: Kansas DE Toben Opurum

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