How Missouri’s appearance in the Cotton Bowl can affect recruiting, and the excitement among MU’s Texas players about playing in Dallas have been prominent talking points this week.
Of course, the game is also a thrill for the four players from Oklahoma who dot Missouri’s roster.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Levi Copelin grew up in Broken Arrow, Okla., rooting for the Sooners but has several connections to the Cowboys.
Copelin’s cousin, sophomore running back Caleb Moncrief from Madill, Okla., plays for Oklahoma State, and the two started talking trash as soon as the bowl announcement was made.
“My cousin and I are texting back and forth right now, and I’m sure I’ve got something upstairs from him,” Copelin said during bowl practice last week. “When we get on the field, I can’t wait to get in those guys’ ears. It’s very exciting, and it’s going to be a lot of fun for me.”
Copelin also played with Cowboys reserve offensive lineman Zac Veatch in high school and occasionally played against sophomore cornerback Kevin Peterson, a Wagoner, Okla., native.
Meanwhile, sophomore linebacker Kentrell Brothers, a native of Guthrie, Okla., grew up rooting for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
“They were definitely two programs I wanted to play for ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “Those are the two teams I always used to watch. In Oklahoma, that’s everyone’s favorite teams. Some of the reason why I committed here was I would get the chance to play against those two teams.”
With the move to the SEC, those chances all but disappeared, so this is perhaps Brothers’ only opportunity to battle one of the teams that dominated his childhood.
“I’ve been wanting to play either OU or OSU for a while, so I’m glad I finally get my chance,” said Brothers, who crossed paths with Cowboys senior fullback Kye Staley when he played quarterback at Guthrie.
Brothers also played youth football with sophomore fullback/tight end Jeremy Seaton.
Missouri’s roster includes three additional players from Oklahoma, including senior Randy Ponder, a starting cornerback from Edmond, Okla., along with junior defensive back Xavier Smith (Edmond) and freshman kicker Preston Soper (Muskogee, Okla.).