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Joey Burkett's journey from Mizzou fan to starting linebacker is a story worth telling

Here are today's Mizzou Links.

At halftime of the men’s basketball game between MU and Baylor, Missouri wide receivers coach Andy Hill walked up to Joey and Eric and said Coach Gary Pinkel wanted to talk to them. In a hallway at Mizzou Arena, Pinkel offered Burkett a scholarship. Joey accepted on the spot — although LePage, not realizing that Burkett had already verbally committed, advised his star linebacker to think it over.

"I said, ‘Joey, let’s breathe for a second. Take some time.’ " LePage said.

Joey didn’t waver.

"It was an easy decision," Burkett said. "I’ve been a Mizzou fan my entire life. It was something that I always dreamt about as a kid."

The Trib: From fan to player: Missouri has always been home to linebacker Joey Burkett

It's really, really easy to root for guys like Joey Burkett, who grow up loving Mizzou and then get a chance to actually play for the Tigers. He has been inconsistent in his first year as a full-timer, and he's had to follow in Kentrell Brothers' footsteps, which is an intimidating task. But you need as many "I'd kill to be a part of this team" guys as possible, and by all accounts, he appears to be one.

Mizzou has been hinting at changes in the linebacking corps this week. That's been a little bit surprising to me simply because I was seeing a good portion of their inconsistency as resulting from the strain of missed assignments up front. But with guys like Terez Hall and Brandon Lee waiting for bigger roles, I guess it makes sense to do some shuffling if the LBs aren't playing as well as you think they should.

We've seen "Hall over Burkett" rumblings, and we've seen "Scherer moves outside with Cale Garrett starting at MLB" rumblings. We'll see. We know this staff is pretty good at keeping potential changes under wraps.

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