Maty Mauk calls Johnny Football "The greatest college football player ever" in his SEC Media Days appearance.
Gary Pinkel took the podium this morning to wake us up. Unfortunately he was unable to, but fortunately, Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk did saying that Johnny Manziel "was the greatest college football player ever."
Over the course of the week, we've heard some funny things. Steve Spurrier talked about Davy Crockett and the Alamo, Butch Jones called Tennessee "the original Wide Receiver U," and even Dan Mullen talked about the English Premier League. But nothing compared to the six words Mauk uttered.
Manziel was great. He was an all-timer without a doubt. But the best ever? Maybe the most fun to watch, ever. But let's put that aside and compare the two -- Mauk and Manziel that is.
Both have swag. They have "it." Even Gary Pinkel said that today: "He was a great player in high school. Highly recruited player. He's just got the 'it' factor."
Recently, Maty Mauk attended the Manning Passing Academy, a place where many college quarterbacks go in the offseason to fine-tune their game. And unlike Manziel, Mauk was able to stay in camp (hint, hint).
"I went down there (Manning Camp) feeling good, but when I came back, I really felt a difference," Mauk said. "I gained not just quarterback skills, but everything from huddle-breaking skills and leadership skills. This camp took me to the next level."
On a scale from 1-10, Mauk was probably a six last year in his four games played so improvement would be a great sign for the Tigers. After James Franklin went down, Mauk came in for the Florida game and was able to convert 10 touchdowns and hold his interceptions to two during that stretch. He also ran roughly 30 times for about 150 yards, so tally that up and you've got a pretty successful offense.
Missouri will regress this year, though. The loss of Dorial Green-Beckham will hurt, especially in the sense that Mauk referred to that him as "a first round pick, maybe first pick" in the NFL draft. But Mauk isn't worried. Darius White -- the transfer from Texas -- and other returning receivers Jimmie Hunt and Bud Sasser look to replace Green-Beckham in a way that truthfully and realistically could be impossible.
It's tough to lose a guy like that. You go to Rivals.com and look him up and he has a No. 1 in place of position, state and national. Not bad. But that doesn't include his attitude and that ultimately was the reason for his dismissal.
"We lost a really great player. I wish Dorial the best," said Pinkel. "The most important thing, you make mistakes, you have a chance to learn lessons, and I think he will. The good news is he can do a lot of great things for himself as a person."
So the takeaway from Mizzou? Expect a solid team. 9-3, maybe? 8-4? Who knows? They'll be good. Maty Mauk has the talent to lead this team back to the SEC championship and so do defensive players Markus Golden and Shane Ray. But will it happen? If I could, I wouldn't take that bet.