Missouri football players win Big 12 awards

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | 9:22 p.m. CST; updated 11:48 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Missouri tight end Martin Rucker is one of three finalists for the 2007 John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s best tight end, but a majority of Big 12 coaches decided that he isn’t even the best tight end in the conference.

The All-Big 12 team and individual awards, which are selected by the league’s 12 head coaches, were announced on Tuesday, and Oklahoma State’s Brandon Pettigrew got the nod over Rucker for first-team tight end. Rucker made the second team.

At least one Tiger felt the senior tight end was slighted.

“I was a little upset about that,” MU quarterback Chase Daniel said during his national teleconference Tuesday. “Rucker, in my mind and a lot of people’s minds, had every right to be first-team Big 12. Nothing against Brandon Pettigrew, he’s a great player. Coach (Mike) Gundy has done a great job with him. For me personally, it makes me pretty upset.”

Daniel received some of his own news that probably made him a bit happier. Daniel was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, making him the first MU player to win the award. Joining him with individual awards were wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and center Adam Spieker. Maclin was named Offensive Freshman of the Year along with Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree, while Spieker shared the Offensive Lineman of the Year award with Texas A&M lineman Cody Wallace. The three individual awards the Tigers received were more than they had combined in the 11 previous years of conference play.

Along with the individual awards, Daniel, Spieker and Maclin also made the All-Big 12 first-team offense. Defensive lineman Lorenzo Williams was the only Tiger to make the first-team defense.

Place kicker Jeff Wolfert joined Rucker on the second-team offense, while defensive end Stryker Sulak, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive backs Pig Brown and William Moore made the second-team defense.

Tigers who were All-Big 12 Honorable Mentions include offensive lineman Colin Brown, defensive linemen Tommy Chavis and Ziggy Hood, linebacker Brock Christopher, tight end Chase Coffman, wide receiver Will Franklin, defensive back Carl Gettis and running back Tony Temple.

PINKEL NAMED TOP COACH: Gary Pinkel’s Tigers beat Mark Mangino’s Kansas Jayhawks for the Big 12 North title on Saturday, but a panel of 20 conference media members voted them as co-Big 12 coaches of the year.

“Somebody texted me about that,” Pinkel said. “That’s nice, but all those guys out there and all those coaches make that happen. It’s amazing how better you coach when you got good players and a great staff. I give praise to them too.”

Pinkel said he doesn’t mind sharing the award with Mangino.

“I’ll have to call him up,” Pinkel said. “He might not want to talk this week, though. He’s a great guy and he is very worthy of it too.”

CHRISTENSEN A FINALIST: Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen was one of five finalists announced Tuesday for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Christensen, who directs the nation’s No. 1 offense, is joined by Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Young, Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock and West Virginia offensive coordinator Calvin Magee. The winner will be announced Dec. 4

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