COLUMBIA — When two of Missouri’s most prolific playmakers start describing the Tigers’ backup punter Trey Barrow, they don’t talk about his kicking game.
Junior wide receiver Jerrell Jackson tells a story about a practice when the special teams guys were punting balls back and forth.
“He’d just catch the punts with one hand,” Jackson said. “I tried it — it was hard. He caught it with just his hand, not his body.”
Sophomore receiver T.J. Moe's story goes back to last spring when he was watching Barrow and a few other teammates play pickup basketball at the MU Student Recreation Center.
“He just tossed the ball up, grabbed it with two hands and threw it down,” Moe said. “I wasn’t expecting that.”
After watching Barrow snag punts with one hand and dunk during pickup games, neither Moe nor Jackson were surprised when he rushed for 26 yards down the sideline for a first down on a fake punt Saturday against Colorado.
“It was exciting to watch,” Jackson said. “I knew that he can break away doing something like that. He’s a football player.”
That’s not a title all punters receive.
“A lot of punters are overweight or really can’t move very well,” Moe said. “If it’s one on one with a returner and a punter, then they’re in trouble, but I think Trey’s got a pretty good grip on that. He can at least slow him down. He might make the tackle a lot of the times on that.”
Barrow’s football pedigree goes beyond backup punter. In high school he started at five different positions: receiver, defensive back, kicker, punter and punt returner.
He was an All-State receiver his senior year and led Moberly to its first undefeated regular season.
So when Barrow received the call to run the fake, he felt comfortable trying to make a play down the field.
“I was just trying to focus on getting the snap in, taking off and trying to read my blocks,” he said. “Colorado showed a look that they were coming after it. I knew my guys would block for me.”
Twenty-six yards later, and Barrow wasn’t even certain that he had gained the first down.
“I didn’t know how far I went. I thought that I got the first down because I felt like I was running for a while,” Barrow said. “I didn’t even look at the sidelines or anything. I was just really pumped that I got as far as I did.”
Although, Barrow did have one regret about the play.
“I would have liked to score.”