The Missouri football team received bad news in the form of a season ending injury for captain Cale Garrett. The inside linebacker’s season came to a halt amidst an All-American worthy campaign.
Cale Garrett is special. He is a very talented football player who single-handedly impacted outcomes of games. Those players are rare. However, due to a torn pectoral tendon, his season must come to an end. This leads us to ask, who is next up for Mizzou football?
Outside of Garrett, it’s arguable that fellow linebacker Nick Bolton has been the best defender on the team. Bolton and Garrett terrorized passers (four interceptions, three returned for touchdowns) and contributed to an elite run defense for Mizzou.
But the question still remains: Who will take over for number 47?
The answer is junior Cameron Wilkins. He is the new starter on defense.
Wilkins has been a backup for the season, as Mizzou’s 4-2-5 defense doesn’t allow for much plays without Bolton or Garrett.
We wrote about the sophomore Wilkins on Thursday, a three-star recruit out of from Del Valle, Texas. Now, the next-man up mentality the Tigers have is pinpointed on the linebacking corps.
It appeared Wilkins wasn’t going to get this opportunity. For weeks, the depth chart listed a different person as Garret’s backup. That was Jamal Brooks.
Brooks has mostly been a special teamer for Mizzou. His production has gone up with more defensive snaps this year, and there’s reason to believe that Brooks could excel if he steps into a bigger role.
Brooks is a 6’1″, 240 lb linebacker from Bessemer, AL. He joined Mizzou football as a signee in the 2017 class as a three-star recruit. In high school, Brooks led the state of Alabama in tackles with 168 in his junior season. In that season he also picked off two passes and forced eight fumbles.
Brooks was mostly a special teamer during his freshman and sophomore seasons but he has seen some more snaps on defense this season. He had a career high five tackles against SEMO in Week 3.
Mizzou’s athletics site claims he is a fast and physical linebacker who makes quick reads and reacts. He has a nose for the ball and is a natural leader.
Any of this sound familiar?
For now, Brooks will take Wilkins’ spot as the backup to Bolton. Behind Wilkins will be freshman Chad Bailey.
We were going to see a new body in the middle of the defense next season anyway. Garrett looks to be playing on Sundays.
We’ll see who it is a bit earlier, whether that is Wilkins, Brooks or Bailey, with a slim chance it is a different player altogether.