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Mizzou receiver Dominic Lovett plans to enter transfer portal; Luther Burden III 'not going anywhere'

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Bulldogs 26, Tigers 22

Missouri wide receiver Dominic Lovett signals that he got a first down on a catch  in the second quarter of a game against Georgia on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. 

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri leading receiver Dominic Lovett could soon enter the transfer market.

College football players officially can enter the NCAA transfer portal on Dec. 5, and that’s Lovett’s intention, first reported Sunday, citing anonymous sources. Lovett, who ranks third in the Southeastern Conference with 56 catches and 846 yards, met with Mizzou coaches on Saturday and informed them he plans to enter the portal but hasn’t decided if he’ll definitely play elsewhere next season, sources confirmed Sunday.

Lovett, a sophomore from East St. Louis who played high school football at Belleville West and East St. Louis, ranks seventh in the SEC with 76 targets and is the second-highest graded wide receiver in the league by Pro Football Focus. Schools mentioned as possible landing spots for Lovett should he decide to transfer include Alabama, Miami, Oregon and Southern California, per multiple sources.

Lovett attended Saturday’s MU team banquet in Columbia. He did not return a message seeking comment Sunday.

Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz and defensive coordinator Blake Baker have said in recent weeks that current players have been contacted by other schools about possibly transferring this offseason. Just last week Drinkwitz said he expects the portal to be “a madhouse” on Dec. 5 and made an impassioned case for players to stay committed to the program.

“There’s going to be players who leave our program. And I love them dearly,” he said on Nov. 21. “Maybe they’re not excited about their role or they’re frustrated because they don’t feel like they’re being utilized the right way. Sometimes you’ve got to keep growing. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. And sometimes you’re just trading one set of problems for another.”

Would Lovett’s departure have any impact on freshman receiver Luther Burden III’s decision about next year? As of Sunday, the staff is confident Burden will return in 2023, sources close to the team confirmed. Burden leads the Tigers with nine touchdowns and ranks second to Lovett with 38 catches for 329 yards.

Burden all but confirmed he's returning next year with a tweet Monday morning, while promoting his Old Vienna potato chip endorsement.

The Tigers (6-6) closed their regular season Friday with a 29-27 win over Arkansas. They will learn their bowl destination next Sunday.

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