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Mizzou names Brady Cook its starting quarterback

Missouri's four-way quarterback battle lasted a little more than a week. Eli Drinkwitz announced on Tuesday night that sophomore Brady Cook will be the Tigers' starter in the Sept. 1 season opener against Louisiana Tech.

Cook won out in a battle with redshirt freshman Tyler Macon, graduate transfer Jack Abraham and true freshman Sam Horn. The release from Missouri did not tab a backup or any order after Cook.

Cook played sparingly in 2020 and 2021 backing up Connor Bazelak, but he was named the starter prior to the Armed Forces Bowl. Cook completed 27-of-34 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 53 yards and a score as the Tigers lost 24-22 to Army. The next day, Bazelak announced he was leaving Missouri. He eventually landed at Indiana, where he is competing for the Hoosiers' starting quarterback job.

Cook and Macon were Missouri's only two scholarship quarterbacks in spring football. Drinkwitz missed out on a number of transfers (J.T. Daniels, Jaylen Daniels and Gerry Bohanon all visited) before landing Abraham, a seventh-year transfer who had most recently been at Mississippi State. Drinkwitz said all along all three veterans would have a shot at the job and he would not name a starter before Horn, a four-star freshman from Georgia, had a chance to compete in the summer.

Despite the aggressiveness in the transfer market, Cook stuck around to compete for the job in his third year in the program.

"I've always wanted to come and play at Mizzou," Cook said. "I figured this is my opportunity. I want to stick it out, I want to make it work at Mizzou. This is where I want to be great. That's why I made that decision and I plan to make it work out."

Now, he has. The focus now turns from who will be throwing the football to how Mizzou improves a passing game that struggled in the second half of last season, contributing a 6-7 record.

"I just think being more accurate downfield," Cook said. "Let's complete some more balls downfield, give these guys a chance and let them make some plays."

Since the bowl game, Cook has been unofficially atop the Tiger depth chart, but the spot was anything but secure. His focus over the last eight months has been on improving his game to win the job.

"I was pretty self-aware of where I need to get better," Cook said. "I feel like I can be the guy to lead the team."

He's about to find out.

Drinkwitz and Cook will be available to reporters after practice on Wednesday afternoon.

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