Skip to main content

Chris Kreh: A Core Piece to the Mizzou Tigers That Most Fans Wouldn't Recognize

The running back was praised by many of his coaches and teammates after being selected as a captain for Saturday's spring game.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Christopher Kreh is an unrecognizable name to most Missouri Tigers fans. But many players and coaches inside the building have tremendous respect for the the junior running back.

The Chesterfield, Mo. native was selected as a team captain for the Tigers' spring game Saturday. He has never taken a single carry in a college game. But according to Missouri running backs coach Curtis Luper, Kreh has been the leader of the running back room over the last season.

"Cody Schrader was not the leader of the running back room last year, Chris Kreh was," Luper said Friday. "Chris was the person that made sure everyone was in meetings on time. We have rules in practice; no jewelry, you have to have thigh pads in, guys like to wear their necklaces — Chris was the jewelry police for me. He did it all. I didn't want to Cody to have that responsibility."

Though their production might not be the same, Kreh shares the same work ethic that made Schrader the SEC's leading rusher in 2023.

"I think he works just as hard as Cody did last year on a day-to-day basis," wide receiver Theo Wease said. "Same person everyday, always bringing energy, always got that emotion and you can tell he's about the brotherhood."

Kreh's contributions aren't that noticeable on the field. But his work ethic and character are hard to miss for anyone who sees it first hand. 

"He just outworks everybody and he's worked himself onto the field, worked himself into the leadership role on our football team," Luper said. "He's that type of leader and guy's listen. I can see Chris as an army ranger or something like that. He's a little different. He'll go hunting at 4 a.m. to come here for a 7 a.m. workout."

Kreh is clearly not in it for the fame of playing for a SEC team or any shiny stats. He just wants to help the team in any way he can.

"You may not recognize who he is but he works hard," linebacker Chuck Hicks said. "It's hard to outwork him. The workouts, he's finishing faster than anybody. (His) blocking, (on) the punt return, kickoff return, I'm telling you, you're not getting off that. He gives me a hard time on a lot of things. I love his competition, I love his work ethic.

His efforts are recognized outside of the running back room, too. It seems like everyone had something good to say about Kreh.

"Chris Kreh is a dog," linebackers coach D.J. Smith said Friday. "Chris Kreh is an absolute 'man's man.' He is a phenomenal leader. He's local out of St. Louis, he's got the heart of a lion man."

The unnoticed role that Kreh plays for the TIgers is a core part of what holds Missouri together as a team. 

"Those guys are the glue of the team," quarterback Brady Cook said. "Chris is a connecter of people, he's a connecter in the locker room. He's a leader."

Doing work that may go unnoticed for the betterment of the team is a core piece of the culture that coach Eli Drinkwitz has built in his time in Columbia. Kreh is one of the best representation's of that value.

"When you think of what is a Missouri Tiger, you think of guys like the Cody's, the Chris Kreh's and 'D'Robs' (Darius Robinson)," Wease said. "t's a foundational piece for a team." 

When Kreh spoke to the media, he was soft spoken and shied away from any moment where he could've complimented himself. He seems to embody people that Drinkwitz refers to as 'low ego, high output' performers.

"Really it just comes to accept(ing) your role on this team," Kreh said. "I might not be the greatest football player but I know I can motivate people, I've learned that through being here."

One aspect of Kreh's role is his involvement on special teams, where he played in all 13 games each of the past two seasons.

"They call it a team responsibility so it's everybody's responsibility," Kreh said of his contributions as a specialist. "I try to put my best effort out there because special teams is a big factor of the game. They say it's usually 20 percent of the game."

Even after hearing the glowing words many of his teammates and coaches used to describe him, Kreh still wants to keep his head down and focus on the work.

"A lot of the work goes on behind closed doors," Kreh said. "I'm not a big social media guy or anything, don't do a lot of interviews or anything like that. It's awesome to hear them say that but still you gotta keep going. Nothing really changes."