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What happened to all of Mizzou’s cornerbacks?

Jadarrius Perkins, Jarvis Ware and Chris Mills have decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere. What does that mean for the Tigers secondary?

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The cornerback position wasn’t going to be a strength for the Tigers going into 2021. That was the case going into the offseason, and it certainly remains the case after the flurry of transfers that have been announced since the end of spring ball.

Jadarrius Perkins, Jarvis Ware and Chris Mills have all announced within the last month their intention to enter the transfer portal. Perkins has since announced he’ll continue his football career at the University of Florida. The Tigers were already short on depth and even shorter on experience at cornerback.

The most experienced corner on Mizzou’s roster wasn’t yet born when Gary Pinkel was hired to be the Tigers’ football coach. The second most experienced corner on the roster has played in eight career games. Forget cornerbacks, these are baby-backs.

Oh my God, I’m so sorry. That was terrible. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying, I guess? (Editor’s Note: I giggled)

It’s not all bad. Ennis Rakestraw, Jr. showed signs of promise. Ish Burdine has the requisite size to play at a high level. Davion Sistrunk, Daylan Carnell, Zxaequan Reeves and Darius Jackson were recruited here for a reason. This coaching staff believes they can help. But I’m not sure the staff thought they would be asked to help this quickly. If any of them can step up right away, my money would be on Carnell.

I’m not ready to shut the door on outside help just yet, though. The transfer portal taketh, but it also may giveth.

Remember when Missouri hired former Tulsa cornerbacks coach Aaron Fletcher? It was a smart hire at the time for his credentials. He was beloved at Tulsa. Read anything about the guy and you’ll be impressed. The timing of Fletcher’s hire at Missouri might have come at the exact right time. Two of Fletcher’s former starting corners have recently entered the transfer portal.

Let’s start with Allie Green IV. He was a 3-year starter at Tulsa. He was one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s best defensive back. He’s already listed on watch lists for the top cornerbacks in next year’s NFL Draft. This isn’t just some player in the transfer portal. Whoever lands Green is landing a 6-foot-3, 205-pound corner who can come in and immediately make an impact.

Green’s former teammate, Akayleb Evans, is the other prized Tulsa transfer. He’s already receiving offers from power five programs across the country, including the likes of Notre Dame, Texas and Nebraska.

Evans, much like Green, has NFL aspirations. He was a starter at Tulsa in 2017 and 2018 before missing the majority of the 2019 season with a season-ending shoulder injury. He returned as a starter in 2020 and formed one half of one of the most imposing cornerback duos in the country. Evans is 6-foot-2, so certainly possesses the length we know this staff values in cornerbacks.

Landing one of Green or Evans would shore up a position decimated by transfers. Somehow finding a way to add both would take the position from a weakness to the strength of the team. It’s impossible to know what Green or Evans are looking for in their next destination, but having their former position coach on the Tigers’ coaching staff can’t hurt Mizzou’s chances.

The last month has not been kind to Mizzou’s experience at corner. Here’s to hoping the next month helps lighten that blow.