By Calum McAndrew Special to the Post-Dispatch
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Chad Bailey is coming again for extra.
Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz confirmed Tuesday that the fifth-year linebacker is making it six seasons in Columbia. There’s not a lot inconsistency in Bailey’s coaches’ and teammates’ preliminary response to the information.
“It’s big,” defensive coordinator Blake Baker stated.
People are additionally studying…
“That’s big,” security and group captain Martez Manuel stated.
Starting quarterback Brady Cook: “Yeah, that is big.”
Huge — and nonetheless comparatively novel.
All gamers enrolled throughout the COVID-impacted 2020 season acquired an additional yr of eligibility from the NCAA. For some time, that has helped Baker and the Tigers, who’ve been in a position to discipline a large group of fifth- and sixth-year gamers.
Bailey has 40 profession appearances for the Tigers, greater than every other linebacker on the roster. Through eight video games this season, he has amassed 37 tackles, which ranks fifth on the group regardless of lacking a few video games because of damage, and he has notched 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
Missouri and Baker have confirmed that you would be able to substitute on-the-field ends in the trendy recreation nearly instantaneously by the use of the switch portal. But there’s one factor there’s “no substitution for in faculty football,” Baker stated.
“Any time you may get a man again with as a lot expertise as Chad, once more, I hold speaking about his management, as a result of I believe he is one of many strongest leaders on our protection, it is big,” Baker stated. “It’s big from him setting the usual for the brand new freshman which are going to come back in or the brand new transfers which are going to come back in. He’s lived it, he is already been a captain, he is beginning Mike linebacker, he is had a extremely, actually good yr.”
As the times move and extra selections are made, that have might show to be key — and uncommon.
For a number of MU gamers, the tip is nigh.
Manuel has determined to take his swansong after the normal 4 years of eligibility. As a freshman, if he prevented a redshirt, he stated the plan at all times was to spend 4 years in faculty. Defensive finish Isaiah McGuire is doing the identical — he’ll take his closing bow over the following two or three video games, ending a four-season stint in Columbia.
Plenty goes into these selections.
“My sophomore yr, I used to be blessed to have a extremely good yr and have a whole lot of success,” Manuel stated. “I performed myself right into a place the place I’m in a position to make this determination now. Nothing in opposition to my coaches, teammates, something like that, I’m tremendous blessed for the expertise. But I imply, I’ve obtained buddies who’re from in all places they usually’ve been in Columbia 4 years now, they usually’re telling me they’re able to get out — think about being right here because you have been in eighth grade . I’m simply prepared for that subsequent chapter now, I’m able to see the world. I’m prepared to begin my new journey.”
“It’s time,” McGuire stated. “The subsequent degree is there for me.”
For others, the selection of whether or not or to not return is nonetheless up within the air. The Tigers (4-6) host New Mexico State (4-5) at 6:30 pm on Saturday earlier than subsequent Friday’s regular-season finale in opposition to Arkansas.
Defensive deal with Darius Robinson stays undecided. On the offensive aspect of the ball, left deal with Javon Foster is in the identical boat. Both of them stated they’ll discuss the choice over with their households, however as of now, they’re simply targeted on ending this season.
For all of them, Baker has recommendation.
“I inform guys on a regular basis man, the grass is not at all times greener,” Baker stated. “And I need all of y’all, in the event you’re going within the high three rounds (of the NFL draft), y’all have to go. Go make your cash. But in the event you’re not projected to do this, you’ve got obtained a great life. If you’re keen on football and this is what you wish to do, we will settle for you with open arms.”
That’s maybe what makes the Bailey determination so very important for the Tigers’ protection. McGuire and Manuel have 83 video games of expertise between them. If Robinson opts to maneuver on, that is one other 31 profession video games gone.
If it comes all the way down to draft standings, there are many different gamers who may elect to declare. Standout cornerback Kris Abrams-Draine and havoc-wreaking linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper are catching eyes, with draft projections trying kindly on their prospects. Furthermore, defensive ends DJ Coleman and Tyrone Hopper cannot come again, having maxed out their eligibility.
And instantly, the Missouri protection Baker has repeatedly complimented for the power of its two-deep might be lacking chunks.
On Saturday in opposition to New Mexico State, 21 Missouri gamers will stroll within the group’s senior day ceremony. Drinkwitz stated the plan is so as to add a pair extra highschool recruits earlier than hitting the portal. The variety of scholarship spots will rely closely on what number of of these 21 select to maneuver on.
But as soon as they’re gone and the brand new group arrives, there might be no less than one skilled participant in camp. And per Baker, there aren’t many higher.
“I say it on a regular basis, the fellows get sick of listening to us coaches, however when their friends begin main them, that is what you need out of a participant on a group — that is what I’ve seen out of Chad Bailey,” Baker stated. “More so than nearly anyone on the protection, he isn’t afraid — and he does it in his personal approach — however he isn’t afraid to get on a teammate or inform a teammate they want to do that otherwise or that otherwise. I’ve been ultra-impressed with him. I’m excited he is coming again, that is for certain.”