Backup safety Jalani Williams won’t return to Missouri in 2023, per Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Williams, a former four-star recruit, played in all 12 games this season for the Tigers.
According to Missouri, Williams has two more seasons of eligibility, gaining the second following the COVID-19 season in 2020.
The fourth-year defensive back picked up his lone start of the year Friday against Arkansas in lieu of an injured Joseph Charleston.
Receiving praise from defensive coordinator Blake Baker and starting safety Jaylon Carlies, Williams was admired for his work ethic, taking practices and games with the outlook of being a starter.
Baker also noted last week Williams wasn’t pleased with his limited snaps and sitting behind Carlies and Charleston at the safety position.
When asked Friday about where he’d be in 2023, Carlies said, “Only God knows.”
The expected return of Charleston and possible return of Carlies likely would not open a starting job for Williams next season. Freshmen safeties Isaac Thompson and Ja’Marion Wayne are rising options to continue backing up the position.
Redshirt freshman Zach Lovett is also planning to enter the transfer portal, he announced Tuesday.
Lovett played in three games last season, mainly on special teams, holding onto a redshirt. The Florida product appeared in 10 games this season but didn’t register a statistic.
According to Missouri, Lovett has three more seasons of eligibility. The former three-star recruit was ranked the No. 35 linebacker in his class by Rivals, receiving offers from the likes of Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas and Miami.
Nine players from the 2021 recruiting class have now either left the program or are planning to potentially do so — Dominic Lovett, Zach Lovett, Tyler Macon, Travion Ford, DJ Jackson, Mekhi Wingo, J’Marion Gooch, Jonathan Jones and Zxaequan Reeves.
Macon and Ford both confirmed Monday’s report Tuesday on Twitter that they will be entering the portal when it opens. Both players have three years of eligibility left.
Backup linebacker Devin Nicholson also announced Tuesday he plans to enter the transfer portal when it opens, using his final year of eligibility elsewhere. The senior played more on special teams this season, appearing in all 12 games.
Nicholson started in eight games last season but didn’t see as many snaps at linebacker this season, sitting behind Chad Bailey and Ty’Ron Hopper. When Bailey went down with an injury in the Auburn game, Nicholson — along with Dameon Wilson — saw an increase in playing time in the Georgia and Florida contests.
Young unlikely to transfer
Missouri running back Elijah Young saw limited action in the latter half of this season after he missed three weeks with an injury. He turned 19 carries into 93 yards.
In the 2021 Armed Forces Bowl, Young logged the second-most carries for MU, rushing for 75 yards on 13 attempts. While coach Eli Drinkwitz looked for a stable backup running back behind Cody Schrader a few weeks ago, Young’s usage didn’t increase in the final weeks.
Seeing his most action against Tennessee, Young accounted for 31 all-purpose yards on two receptions and three carries. He didn’t see any action in the following two contests.
A source close to Young stated the running back hasn’t mentioned wanting to leave the Tigers. Young — who has two years of eligibility remaining — is still listed among the starters at his position on the depth chart with Schrader and Nathaniel Peat.
Star FCS receiver to visit Columbia
Andrew Armstrong, a transfer receiver from Texas A&M-Commerce, is visiting Missouri from Dec. 16-18, he tweeted Tuesday afternoon. Unlike the FBS transfer portal, the FCS portal is open, so Armstrong can commit to a new team whenever he makes a decision.
Armstrong caught 62 passes for 1,020 yards (16.5 yards per reception) and 13 touchdowns during his sophomore season.
Texas A&M-Commerce’s website lists Armstrong at 6-foot-6, 189 pounds, but he told the Arkansas website Pig Trail Nation that in reality he is only 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-4.5.
Armstrong has offers from 17 schools, with most coming almost immediately after he entered the transfer portal. He’ll visit one of those schools, Arkansas, on Dec. 9.
Former MU QB Bazelak to transfer
Former Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak announced Tuesday on Twitter he plans to enter the transfer portal again. Bazelak played three seasons with the Tigers before transferring to Indiana prior to the 2022 season.
Bazelak played in 10 games for the Hoosiers this season before losing his starting job to Jack Tuttle in November. Tuttle suffered an injury, and Bazelak returned to being the starter.
Bazelak has two years of eligibility left as he plans to enter the portal as a graduate transfer.
Cook nominated for honor
Missouri quarterback Brady Cook was nominated for the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week, the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Monday. Cook posted an 80.1 QBR after completing 16 of 26 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown against Arkansas.
The first-year starter also rushed for a career-high 138 yards and a touchdown, which set a career high in all-purpose yards with 380. Voting for the award is conducted on the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page. The winner will be announced at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
The other nominees are Duke’s Riley Leonard, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy, New Mexico State’s Diego Pavia, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Texas Tech’s Tyler Shough, Georgia Southern’s Kyle Vantrease and USC’s Caleb Williams.
McGuire accepts Senior Bowl invite
Missouri defensive end Isaiah McGuire accepted his 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl invite Tuesday. McGuire received his invite Saturday at the Tigers’ end-of-season banquet. He is currently the only Missouri player set to be at the Senior Bowl.
McGuire also received an award from coach Eli Drinkwitz during the event. Martez Manuel posted on Twitter he was named the Don Faurot Most Inspirational Player of the Year.