Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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It was just two weeks ago when the starting quarterback for the Missouri Tigers, James Franklin, went down with a season ending injury. At that point, most Tiger fans thought that their season (they were 6-0) was over because their star quarterback, who had compiled 1,577 yards and 14 touchdowns through the air, was done. What Mizzou fans didn’t realize is who the Tigers had waiting in the wings, but if you asked any Ohio High School Football fan, they would’ve told you exactly who Maty Mauk is.
In the great state of Ohio, high school football is pretty high on the priority list. Every Friday night, the stadiums fill up and the towns shut down as high school football programs from all around the state get ready to do battle on the gridiron. During the 2011 season, a young man named Maty Mauk was on display for the city of Kenton, state of Ohio and the whole world to see. During his senior campaign, Mauk threw for 5,413 yards and 68 touchdowns while rushing for 1,768 yards and 24 touchdowns. It was also during his senior season when Mauk led the Kenton Wildcats to the Division IIII State Championship game where they entered the contest at 14-0. The Wildcats lost in a 48-42 thriller to Creston Norwayne, but Mauk still threw for 421 yards and six touchdowns. Not a bad day at the office for the future Tiger commit. During his Kenton career, Mauk compiled a record of 42-8 and threw for more yards (18,932) than twice the population of the city of Kenton (8,195) itself. Mauk was as highly recruited as any quarterback in that 2012 class, and with his opportunity coming about this past weekend against the Florida Gators, the magical red-shirt freshman did not disappoint.
Against the #22-ranked Gators, Mauk took everyone by surprise and threw for 295 yards with a touchdown through the air, and on the ground. Before that game, the feeling nationwide was that without Franklin, Missouri didn’t stand a chance, especially against a Top 25 ranked team. To be honest, I was even skeptical because Ohio always produces such great football talent, but for most when they make it to the big stage, they fizzle out and don’t produce. So far, that has not been the case for Mr. Mauk.
I understand that it was just one game and that the road doesn't get much easier this Saturday as the Tigers play host to the #23-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks, I get that. All I am saying is that in one start against Florida, Mauk showed me more than enough. Magic Mauk showed me that he was worth the hype coming out of high school and that he is more than just a good high school quarterback. There is a reason that he chose Missouri over schools like Michigan, Penn State and Cincinnati. Mauk knew that he would get his best shot to show the world what a coach's kid from Kenton, Ohio could do while in Columbia. Don't get me wrong, I am taking nothing away from James Franklin and I believe that he is one of the best quarterbacks/athletes in college football. But when a player like Franklin goes down, it takes a special someone to fill his shoes. Luckily for the Mizzou faithful, there was a red-shirt freshman who was and is more than ready to fill that void.
This college football season has been one of the undefeated, disappointed and quickly turned into the year of Famous Jameis. There is no question in my mind that Jameis Winston (red-shirt freshman quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles) is one of the three best players in all of college football, but when it comes to freshmen making a name for themselves this season, move over Famous Jameis, Magic Mauk is joining you at the top.