Several key Missouri football players will carry an injury designation into the Tigers’ SEC-opening trip to Nashville, Tennessee.
Quarterback Brady Cook, wide receiver Luther Burden III and defensive end Darius Robinson all are questionable for the Tigers’ game against Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon in Music City, Mizzou head coach Eli Drinkwitz announced during his weekly media availability Tuesday.
Cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr., who sat out the entire game last Saturday, also appears to be questionable, as Drinkwitz said the team will observe how he practices over the next couple of days before making a decision for the game against the Commodores. He was a “full participant” during a walkthrough Monday, Drinkwitz said.
Mizzou could potentially be shorthanded at corner in Nashville, as Dreyden Norwood’s status also is questionable ahead of the Vandy game, even though he too was a participant in practice Monday, per Drinkwitz.
Tight end Brett Norfleet also is questionable after missing Missouri’s last game, while wide receiver Mekhi Miller is out for the matchup against the Commodores, the head coach said.
Cook carried a knee injury into the Tigers’ win over Memphis, which took Mizzou to its first 4-0 start to a season since 2013 and its first AP Top 25 ranking since 2019. He slipped on the sideline during Missouri’s win over then-No. 15 Kansas State, and had to wear a knee brace in practice and during MU’s game against Memphis.
“I think Brady’s as tough of a quarterback as I’ve been around, and I’ve been around some really good quarterbacks,” Drinkwitz said. “Honestly, there was no way in my mind that I thought Monday or Tuesday (before the Memphis game) that he was playing in that game. I mean, he could barely walk. But in his mind there was zero chance that he wasn’t playing.”
Cook took another hit on a draw right before halftime against Memphis. For the second straight week, his status for Saturday is 50-50.
Burden went down in the third quarter against Memphis with what appeared to be a cramp, but the wide receiver came back in to finish the game.
“Both will be limited at practice,” Drinkwitz said about Cook and Burden on Tuesday. “And even if they are available, we’ll see.”
Sam Horn is first in line on the depth chart to fill in for Cook if he’s unable to go against Vanderbilt.
At wide receiver, Drinkwitz said Mookie Cooper could slide into the slot in the event Burden is absent, and also mentioned true freshmen Daniel Blood, Marquis Johnson and Josh Manning as potential replacements.
Nyles Gaddy and Joe Moore III have rotated into the lineup frequently for Robinson and fellow starter Johnny Walker Jr. Northwestern transfer Austin Firestone also got reps Saturday after Robinson left the game.
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