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Mizzou football names Brady Cook starting quarterback

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Armed Forces Bowl Football

Missouri quarterback and Chaminade product Brady Cook looks for a receiver against pressure from Army in the Armed Forces Bowl game on Dec. 22 in Fort Worth, Texas.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — One week into Missouri’s preseason camp Eli Drinkwitz has settled on his starting quarterback: Brady Cook.

The redshirt sophomore from St. Louis who started for the Tigers in last season’s Armed Forces Bowl will be in the starting lineup for the Sept. 1 opener against Louisiana Tech, the team announced Tuesday night with a tweet and short news release. Drinkwitz and Cook will be made available to local media after Wednesday’s practice in Columbia.

Drinkwitz opened camp a week ago declaring a wide-open four-man competition for the job, with Cook battling redshirt freshman Tyler Macon, graduate transfer Jack Abraham and freshman Sam Horn. Cook, a former three-star recruit from Chaminade Prep, had been taking the first-team reps in the few series media were permitted to view during select open practices in the last week. Drinkwitz announced to the team on Tuesday that Cook would start the opener, a source confirmed.

In limited action last year playing behind starter Connor Bazelak, Cook was MU’s most accurate passer, completing 46 of 58 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. He traded series with Macon in Mizzou’s loss at Georgia, then played the entire bowl game, leading the Tigers on a late go-ahead scoring drive with a touchdown pass in the final seconds before Army kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired. In two seasons at Mizzou, Cook has completed 80% of his passes for 417 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 149.1.

Heading into preseason camp, Cook embraced the chance to prove to the staff he deserved the starting job, no matter how long the competition lasted.

“I just come into it thinking this is my opportunity. Just go get it done,” he said July 31 ahead of the team’s first practice. “You don’t get many opportunities like this one in your football career. So I’m just going to stay calm and compete every day.”

Cook will be the third different starting quarterback to open a season under Drinkwitz, following Shawn Robinson in 2020 and Bazelak last year. After struggling with a leg injury in the second half of last season, Bazelak entered the NCAA transfer portal and resurfaced at Indiana, where he’s competing for the starting job.

This past offseason, Drinkwitz heavily pursued some of the top transfer QBs available, hosting three Power Five passers on visits before they ultimately landed elsewhere. The staff instead offered Abraham a chance to join the competition as a walk-on in his seventh college season. The former starter at Southern Mississippi spent last season at Mississippi State but never appeared in a game after suffering a preseason concussion.

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