Missouri Tiger senior running back Tony Temple will not fight an appeal for one more year of college eligibility and instead will shift his focus to the 2008 NFL Draft.
"It’s time to move on and focus on doing what I need to do to make a positive impression for the next level," said Temple. "I feel good about looking into the extra year. It was worth a shot, but I don’t want anyone spending any more time on it, and I feel I’m ready to take the next step. Coach Pinkel and I decided before last season that we should approach the 2007 season like it was going to be my last, and I’m glad we did it that way," he said.
Temple ended his college career with a day to remember for Mizzou fans when he set Cotton Bowl records with his 281 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns in Mizzou’s 38-7 win over Arkansas. After that game, I had a chance to hear from Temple, you’ll also hear junior linebacker Sean Weatherspoon telling Temple to move on.
Temple became the first Tiger running back to ever post multiple 1,000-yard seasons (former quarterback Brad Smith had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons from 2002-05). Temple ends his career with 2,552 rushing yards, which ranks him sixth alltime at Mizzou.
"I’d like to say thank-you to everyone at Mizzou who has helped me over the years, I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done to help me grow on the field and off the field," Temple said. "I’m looking forward to finishing up my degree soon and to working hard for whatever opportunities come next for me football-wise. Whatever comes my way, I know that Mizzou has trained me well," he said.
Head Coach Gary Pinkel agreed that Temple is ready. "I think this is the right decision for Tony, if he is going to get ready for the NFL then it’s time," Pinkel said. "This way, he can focus on his degree and doing whatever it takes to get ready for a professional career, and we’ll certainly do everything we can to assist," he said.
Temple’s friends and family will hold a gathering at the 810 Zone on the Plaza in Kansas City this Friday at 7pm. You’re invited to stop by for pictures and autographs.