Senior linebacker Donavin Newsom has always considered it an honor to wear Missouri’s number 25 jersey in honor of the late Aaron O’Neal, a St. Louis linebacker who died during a preseason workout 10 years ago.
Still, Newsom switched up numbers for his final game at Memorial Stadium, a 28-24 senior-day win Friday against Arkansas.
He dressed out in injured teammate Michael Scherer’s number 30.
“I was at practice on Sunday and I saw Mike walking around,” Newsom said. “I knew I was wearing 25 for a special reason and I wanted to switch it up and wear 30 for a special reason.”
First-year coach Barry Odom said Newsom asked for permission Tuesday to switch jersey numbers.
“It’s pretty cool stuff,” Odom said. “Those guys care about each other.”
Newsom hid the special jersey until taking the field for pregame warmups.
“Basically, he was speechless,” Newsom said. “He looked like he was fitting to cry, but it was game time so I guess he held it back.”
When it was time to go grab a white rock from the “M” in the north end zone, Newsom grabbed Scherer for one final journey together in black and gold.
“I made sure I walked up there with Scherer, because we came in together and I was making sure we went out together,” Newsom said.
Frazier enjoys career night
Junior defensive Marcell Frazier has enjoyed some strong performance down the stretch, but nothing like Friday’s three-sack dominance.
Frazier — who finished with four tackles, all for losses — was a menace opposite junior defensive end Charles Harris and eventually iced the game with a fourth-down sack in the closing minutes.
“Marcell had a great individual effort,” Odom said. “I don’t know the stats where he was at, but you noticed him. He had pressure and did some things throughout the night that really stood out to me.”
Frazier finished with 7 1/2 sacks, all but one in the last three games, which was second on the Tiger behind Harris.
“I’m kind of excited to see what I can do with 12 games — or 13, 14 games — (next season),” Frazier said. “That will be fun to see what I can do with a whole year.”
Rallying for Rhyan again
The Mizzou athletics community received crushing news on Thanksgiving when men’s basketball special assistant coach Brad Loos’ family announced that his daughter Rhyan has a recurrence of cancer.
Rhyan — whose ordeal spawned the #RallyforRhyan, a social media phenomenon — flew Friday to New York for continued treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
She wasn’t far from hearts and minds in Columbia, though.
“It was absolutely on our mind as a Mizzou family,” Odom said. “You look at that and you feel for that family. Any time you’re in a situation where kids are involved and you’ve got kids of a similar age, you look and you pray and you hope. My thoughts and prayers are behind them. That’s a strong, strong little girl and the family is very dear to Mizzou.”