There might not be a more even-keeled Tiger than Tucker McCann.

The Missouri senior kicker and punter only has one more collegiate home game, coming against Tennessee on Saturday night at Faurot Field.

Yet in the lead-up to the crucial matchup for Missouri — a game Tigers head coach Barry Odom said his seniors will remember more than usual — McCann is doing his best to keep the blinders on and focus on what he needs to do for the team to be successful.

That consistent mentality comes with being a lifelong kicker, as his football career has been determined in a moment-by-moment fashion and not by each individual play.

“That’s what you do as a kicker, you focus on the next kick,” McCann said. “The little things relate to the bigger things. It’s really just focusing on the little things, first of all, and then that’ll make the bigger things worth it.”

McCann hasn’t thought in-depth about his future yet. The O’Fallon, Illinois, native has dreams and expectations going forward, but he knows the circumstances under which he kicks the best.

“One thing I’ve learned being here is just to stay in the moment,” McCann said. “Anytime I’ve thought about what’s next or the past or anything like that is when I haven't performed as well.”

Was that the cause of McCann’s three straight missed field goals against Vanderbilt and Kentucky earlier this season? Who knows.

What teammates, McCann and Odom have focused on, however, is how he responded with two successful field goals against Florida after waiting three weeks since his last attempt to get another shot.

Teammates applaud and appreciate McCann’s workload as the Tigers' starting kicker and punter, acknowledging the strain that puts on his leg.

“We want him to finish because I think he's got an opportunity,” Odom said of McCann. “When you look at what he's done for four years ... personally I didn’t know that he could handle the things that he's done this year. I wish he didn't have that stretch with three misses, but he bounced back and hit two last week.

“I know what he's given us and I’m appreciative and know he's going to work really hard to finish here this season.”

Showing up and doing work on the football field was one of the defining characteristics former O’Fallon coach Brandon Joggerst remembers about McCann in high school.

McCann was the Panthers' starting kicker and punter from his sophomore to senior year after replacing another Division I standout, Austin Barnes, who attended Eastern Michigan.

McCann didn’t kick for every second of each two-hour practice session or at all during some practices to rest.

Instead of sitting around and waiting, McCann would sometimes partake in wide receiver and quarterback drills to help teammates improve. In turn, others could see his true athletic ability.

But his leg was what brought scouts from all over the country to see the former five-star prospect.

“It’s different with a kicker because not every school is taking one,” Joggerst said of each recruiting cycle.

McCann picked up offers from Missouri, Alabama, Florida State and a few other schools.

“It’s a little bit different in that regard where they want to, a lot of times, see you perform,” Joggerst said of McCann’s recruitment. “It’s sort of like a quarterback, I think, where a lot of people want to physically see the quarterback and the ball come out of their hand rather than just film. I think it's the same way with a kicker.”

When the Seminoles' coaching staff came to O’Fallon, they wanted to see McCann’s powerful leg in person. One problem: Their visit came in the middle of a downpour.

“That was the only time they were here, so we had to go out and do it,” Joggerst said.

McCann eventually committed to Missouri and was an early enrollee for the spring semester in 2016.

Because of the graduation of Andrew Baggett, McCann started right away at kicker and hasn’t relinquished the role. Missouri has only added to his responsibilities.

“He’s a guy we ask a lot of,” Missouri special teams coach Andy Hill said of McCann. “He’s been able to produce for the most part this year. I know he wishes he had a few of those field goals back and a punt or two back, but overall ... he's done a good job this year.”

Hill said Tuesday he hadn’t talked directly to McCann about his thoughts on senior day, though Hill did talk to the rest of the specialists to make sure it’s a special experience for McCann.

“He’s left a great legacy. He's been a starter for four years. Not many guys do that at any position. He came in and he's battled,” Hill said. “(McCann) does a lot of extra things on his own to try and be the very best, takes care of his body and eats right and does things right. He's really improved. ... He’ll be a tough guy to follow.”

Joggerst said he first learned of McCann when he was in fourth or fifth grade as a youth player who established himself as a kicker and an athlete with a strong leg. His belief that McCann could be successful only grew in the years to come.

McCann has never been the guy to draw attention to himself.

But to succeed in an emotional environment like Saturday, that’s where he does his best.

“It’s definitely bittersweet, but I’m just trying to treat it like a normal game week,” McCann said. “I'm not trying to look too far ahead or kind of think about everything that's going on, I’m just trying to treat it like a normal game week.

“It’s not very hard because it's what I’ve been doing every week.”

eblum@columbiatribune.com