This is the way it’s supposed to be, if you think about it: Big performances from key players in important games. When we first started doing MV3 a few years ago, I was worried it would become stagnant, the same players showing up week in and week out.
But to be honest, there’s something comforting about seeing the same names pop up after wins like Friday’s. Good programs are good programs because they recruit, develop and retain top talent. And even if Mizzou’s stars don’t always shine as bright as some of their peer programs in the SEC, they’re parting the clouds for brighter stars to shine in the future.
When asking for ballots after Mizzou’s final regular season game, I expected to see a few names pop up. Sure enough, they were the ones who topped the ballots. So while there may not be any surprises, take comfort in the fact that these guys will almost always show up when called on. Hopefully, they’ll be able to do so one more time when the bowl rolls around.
1. Brady Cook
What a way to cap the season for Brady Cook. No member of the program — save Eli Drinkwitz, maybe — has been the subject of more criticism and, if we’re being honest, vitriol than the QB from St. Louis. Some of it was warranted; with two former four-star recruits and a grad transfer behind him, Cook struggled mightily for the first half of the season, making poor decisions week-after-week, missing big plays and generally not capitalizing on the wealth of talent the staff put around him.
But Cook weathered the storm of the first six weeks and became the best version of himself when it counted most. Cook’s penchant for brain farts reared its head in one crucial moment, but the rest of his performance was nearly flawless. Cook logged a season high in total yards with 242 through the air and 138 on the ground for 380 total. He hit deep balls that he’s been missing all year and, despite still throwing behind his receivers on occasion, improved his accuracy to the point of letting the playmakers pick him up. Cook may never be a Heisman candidate, but he’s more than capable of leading Mizzou in 2023. With multiple challengers for his job on the horizon, Friday was a convincing statement for him to make.
2. Dominic Lovett
Lovett likely ends his time at Mizzou with another good game. Next.
3. Isaiah McGuire
Let’s get this out of the way: Mizzou’s Battle Line victory was likely the final time we’ll see Isaiah McGuire play in black and gold. Yes, Mizzou is going bowling. But the defensive end has caught the eye of many NFL teams and won’t be further risking his health for a glorified exhibition... as he shouldn’t! Go get that bag, brother!
It’s fitting, then, that McGuire’s (likely) final game as a Tiger was indicative of the spirit and production he brought to this year’s unit. Coming into the game battling an injury, McGuire was a force in the Arkansas backfield, logging two more sacks to go with five total tackles and setting the tone for a dominant performance from the front seven.
McGuire may not get All-SEC recognition for his relatively small counting numbers, but he’s got a future earning paychecks on Sundays. And on Friday, he saved one of his best performances for last.
Others receiving votes: Ty’Ron Hopper, Martez Manuel, Mekhi Miller, Cody Schrader
Now it’s your turn! Tell us who your MV3 are in the comments or on Twitter!