COLUMBIA — If all it took was fans raising $100,000 for charity, the Missouri football program would have far more 12-win seasons, and more than just one Heisman Trophy finalist in its history.
In an effort jump-started by legendary former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, now with Detroit Lions, Tiger fans raised more than $100,000 in support of the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, then got to enjoy the legends of the 2007 team that went 12-2, rose as high as No. 1 in the country and came within a game of playing for a BCS trophy relive the memories of that season.
In a video chat posted Friday moderated by Missouri play-by-play broadcaster Mike Kelly, Daniel was joined by wide receivers Tommy Saunders and Jeremy Maclin, tight ends Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, running back Tony Temple II, defensive linemen Lorenzo Williams and Ziggy Hood, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive backs Pig Brown and William Moore.
The first two hours of their conversation, held over the video conferencing app Zoom, was recorded earlier in April, and replayed live on Daniel's social media feeds Friday evening.
Daniel's original goal was to raise $50,000, $25,000 donated by fans that he pledged to match. More than $73,000 had been raised as of Thursday morning, and he announced shortly before the conversation aired the fundraiser had hit the $100,000 mark. The fundraising web page will be up for another week.
The '07 Tigers squad is known for putting up record-setting offensive numbers, as well as the five All-Americans, four of which played offense in Daniel, Maclin, Rucker and center Adam Spieker. But the defense, which had an All-American in Moore, played a big role as well, including holding a ranked Nebraska team to just two field goals in a 41-6 win.
"First of all, I'd like to thank the offense for inviting us defensive guys to this," quipped Williams, the man who sacked Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing for a sack to wrap up a No. 2 vs. No. 3 Border War game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
"Yeah, man, how'd you even get in here?" shot back Rucker, the first two of many jokes the group shared. "He hacked the Zoom link."
The main focus of their conversation, among the memories and jokes, centered on what made that 2007 team so special. The foundation set by the previous group of players, including quarterback Brad Smith, the sweat poured into summer workouts under beloved former strength and conditioning coach Dr. Pat Ivey, the attention to detail and hyper-competitive nature of practices, and the desire to win were things all could agree on.
For those that missed it, the session, along with all of Daniel's other interviews, are available at www.youtube.com/chasedaniel10 and his social media pages.