COLUMBIA — Lee’s Summit West senior Logan Cheadle grew up admiring E.J. Gaines.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Cheadle and Gaines, a senior cornerback at Missouri, played in the same Pop Warner program and have similar builds, so he became a natural role model.
“Obviously, he was on the older team, but we were coached by a lot of the same guys,” Cheadle said. “It’s an honor to me to be compared to E.J. Gaines. I think it’s great, because that’s somebody I’ve looked up to for so much of my career.”
Now, Cheadle, who officially signed with the Tigers on Tuesday, will try to replace Gaines — and soon.
Cheadle is set to graduate from high school a semester early and will enroll at Missouri for the spring.
“This is the first one we’ve ever had (graduate early) in our 10 years,” Titans coach Royce Boehm said. “I think he was just hungry and ready to get down to Columbia and get things going. He was done with the recruiting process and wanted to get into the Missouri strength program, because he’s heard so much about from (sophomore center) Evan (Boehm) and from E.J.”
The way Cheadle sees it, that is his best chance to get on the field next fall.
“I want to get an early jump on things and strengthen my chances of playing my freshman year,” Cheadle said. “The sooner I get down there, the sooner I get into the weights program, the sooner I get the playbook down and the sooner (Missouri defensive backs) coach (Cornell) Ford can get his hands on me and help my technique.”
Cheadle is joining the Tigers at a good time. Both starting cornerbacks, Gaines and senior Randy Ponder, will graduate and vacate spots in the secondary.
“The door’s wide open for anybody to come in challenge for a spot,” Cheadle said. “… I definitely think there’s a chance to come in and fight for a spot in the rotation.”
So, is Cheadle — 5 feet, 10 inches and 180 pounds — ready for SEC football?
“Not right now, but hopefully by the time fall rolls around I will be,” Cheadle said.
Missouri picked up another commitment Tuesday when St. Louis University High School senior Raymond Wingo, a two-way player who is also expected to play cornerback, gave his verbal pledge.
Wingo, 6 feet and 165 pounds, is a three-star recruit and ranks seventh in Missouri and 30th overall at his position, according to Rivals.com.