2014 Lee's Summit West (Mo.) cornerback Logan Cheadle is about as familiar with Mizzou as he is going to get before he starts the winter semester in mid-January. By his own count he has been to Mizzou a ton of times. That does not make his official visit any less important, though.
"The visit was real, real good. I think it was good to get down there one more time before I go down there for good and just make sure that that's for sure where I want to be," the number 11 ranked player in Missouri explained.
"We got there Friday and kind of hung out at the hotel. Later, they took us to the back of the basketball arena where we had dinner. It was real, real nice dinner. I had steak and lobster, so that's an indication of how nice it was. I mean we ate good the whole visit," he continued. "Then the next day we ate early in the morning, kind of toured the facilities again and went through the academic side of things. I got to talk to the academic advisors about what they are going to do with me since I am undecided the first semester. Last night we ate up in the press box, so that was really cool. Then we got to go down in to the locker room and try on our jerseys and step out on the field. The field was completely snowed over, but they cleared off just the Tiger head at midfield. It was really cool."
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Cheadle was hosted on his visit by fellow Kansas City native Anthony Sherrills. It was a good chance for Cheadle to meet some more of his soon to be teammates instead of just hanging out with a friend who just graduated.
"It was really cool. Usually when I go down to Mizzou I always stay with E.J. Gaines, but he had graduation and a couple other things going on this weekend," Cheadle said. "I thought it was kind of cool that I got to spend some time with Anthony and some of the other guys because E.J. is not going to be there when I get there. It was good for me to hang out with some of the guys I'll be there with and get to know more people."
There will be an opportunity for Cheadle to see the field as a true freshman as starters Gaines and Randy Ponder both will see their eligibility run out. It will be a big void to fill going into next year, but there are lots of candidates ready to step forward.
"The doors are wide open is what everybody I talked to this weekend was saying. Anybody really has an opportunity to come in and start next year at [cornerback]. One thing Coach [Cornell] Ford preached to me during the recruiting process is he plays his best players. I saw that through Aarion Penton. I saw that through E.J. his freshman year. I know that's not just talk," explained Cheadle. "If you come in and you work and you get to where you need to be he's going to put the best players out there. I definitely think I have a shot [to play as a freshman]. It's going to be tough, but I think I'm ready to give it a try. Getting out there as soon as I can is another reason I'm going down at the semester. So I can get an early jump on things and I can get the playbook down before all the other freshman get there."
"Another really cool thing that Coach [Gary} Pinkel preaches is that if you're good enough to play, you're going to play," he continued. "Even if you're not a starter on the defense. I really played close attention to the cornerbacks this season and they were rotating guys in and out series after series. If you're not a starter, but he thinks you're good enough to play you're going to play. So even if I'm not a starter by the time the season rolls around, but I'm at that level, I'm going to get my playing time. I think that is something that is really cool."
In order to prepare for that opportunity, Cheadle has things he wants to focus on over the holidays.
"I'm going to do what I can before I get down there. Get some workouts in. After I sign this financial aid agreement, Coach [Andy] Hill and them can send me workouts that I can do on my own here so I won't come down there out of shape. I feel like my main thing is to just come in there in shape then I can adjust to everything else. As long as I'm not completely out of shape I think I'll be fine," said Cheadle.
Cheadle will be coming to Mizzou on a high after winning his second state championship in four years as a Lee's Summit West Titan.
"It was absolutely amazing," he said about his senior season. "There is no better way to go out then as a state champion. All four years I've been at Lee's Summit West, we've had a chance to win state. I think we've been the best team in state the four years I've been there, honestly. It just goes to show how hard it is to get there. Like I said, I think we had the best team and we only got there twice, but we won it both times. It just really takes a togetherness of your team. I really credit our senior leadership this year with how we got there. It's a lot like what I liked about Mizzou, which is the family atmosphere. It's kind of the same mold that I come from at [Lee's Summit West]. That's something that is going to make me real comfortable [at Missouri]. I'm excited to keep the winning going on at Mizzou."
It is not just Cheadle who will be coming to Missouri off of very successful seasons. Of course there is his teammate Kevin Pendleton, but there is also Sam Bailey and Thomas Wilson who both won state championships. Additionally, Nate Brown, Paul Adams and Thomas Richard finished as state runner-ups. It is an identity that the Mizzou coaching staff is looking to cultivate.
"One thing that Coach Pinkel talked to me about is that they like to recruit guys who are used to winning," explained Cheadle. "If you're used to winning you don't like losing. You don't put up with it. Guys that are used to winning are going to come in and keep winning and keep the tradition going. I think that is something that is starting to settle in down at Mizzou. The guys this weekend were talking about how this year was great and all, but they're just getting started. They're going to be scary next year is what everybody was saying. They believe that, they know that and I think that is going to happen. I think we'll be a force to be reckoned with next year."
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