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In a crowded LB field, Missouri’s Cale Garrett is already working with the second string

Mizzou’s got too many young, exciting linebackers to keep track of.

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Franklin Agbasimere

6’2, 220, RSFr.

Lagos, Nigeria

davidcmorrison: His nickname is “Smash,” because he blows ballcarriers up. He also had never played football until he moved from his native Nigeria to Central Florida about three years ago.

His backstory makes it quite a feat that he’s even in his second year in a SEC football program at all. It also should tell you how far he still needs to come in the intricacies of the game if he’s ever going to be a contributor at Missouri. But man, would he be fun to watch sprinting downhill on some special teams...

Sam Snelling: All name team here. And I think this is one of those under-recruited players who has amazing athletic ability that Missouri fans love to fall in love with. He’s had a redshirt season to get more acclimated to the sport, and if Agbasimere can ever put it all together he’s got the talent to be a fan favorite for the next four years.

Bill C.: We haven’t heard much about Smash in fall camp, though I guess that’s to be expected. Intricacies are important, and he was starting from behind in a crowded pool of linebackers. I find myself saying this about nearly every young player in the linebacking corps, but ... he’s got time.

Cale Garrett

6’3, 225, Fr.

Kearney, MO

davidcmorrison: Getting to campus early, for spring ball, was very kind for Garrett. Going through that whole season of acclimation to the college game turned him from “late signee project” to “you know...I think this guy might actually play this year.”

He’s much further along against the run than playing pass coverage. He and his coach both admitted that just wasn’t a big part of the gameplan for him at Kearney. But you don’t need to play the pass if you’re working in on special teams or for a third-and-short snap here and there. That’s the sort of thing you can learn on the job. And, with Missouri being his dream school, you know Garrett will work for it.

Sam Snelling: I’m intrigued by Garrett because he was a late offer, and Missouri knew they were his dream school. Garrett needed to check a few boxes before getting his offer, but he could be the kind of player who stands in a long line of Missouri-bred middle linebackers who take over a starting position and perform incredibly well for 2-3 seasons.

He maybe wasn’t the splashiest of signings when it happened, but he’s got a lot of Barry Odom to him, and I think Odom will love that.

Trey Baldwin

6’2, 240, Fr.

Houston, TX

davidcmorrison: Baldwin scored a lot of points early by sticking with his commitment through The Troubles, getting to campus for spring ball and openly welcoming comparisons to Sean Weatherspoon. That’s a good way to ingratiate yourself to Missouri people.

Now comes the part where he actually makes an impact. Physically, it looks like he’s ready. His highlight tape is all Miley Cyrus (he comes in like a wrecking ball...c’mon try to keep up...) and, despite hamstring issues and playing linebacker full-time for the first time as a senior in high school, he even showed a bit of a surprising knack for making plays against the pass at Cypress Falls.

Like Terez Hall, it seems as if his biggest impediment is channeling the aggression into the framework of the defense. But that can definitely come with time.

Sam Snelling: Baldwin is a big, big kid. He’s big and physical, and he wants to run through walls for Barry Odom. If or when Mizzou decides to go with more three man fronts, Baldwin is the kind of OLB you would love to see attacking the quarterback. I’m pretty excited about the future for Baldwin, and I think he could make a run at some playing time as a freshman because of his physical maturity.

Bill C.: The sentiment seems to have shifted from “Baldwin’s definitely playing this year” to “Baldwin might redshirt, but Garrett’s definitely playing this year.” That’s fine. Garrett’s stock has risen fine, and if he really does manage to carve out a role despite all the competition, that’s exciting. And if Baldwin sits and gets a year of separation between him and other young LBs, that’s fine too. I’m excited about both of them. And Agbasimere. And Hall. And ... well ... et cetera. Mizzou’s linebacking corps is stocked for the foreseeable future.