ST. LOUIS–The University of Missouri football program added a defensive lineman from the transfer portal on Sunday and are poised to lose one to the portal.
Elite Amateur Sports and PowerMizzou were first to report that Mekhi Wingo, the De Smet Jesuit graduate who just completed his freshman year for the Tigers, will be entering the portal. Wingo confirmed it to FOX2 Thursday.
“I wasn’t the happiest there….you know I just felt it was time for me to head in a new direction,” Wingo, who earned all-SEC freshman honors in 2021 said, acknowledging that going through three defensive line coaches from the time he signed until the end of his freshman season had taken a toll, both athletically and in the area of mental health. Brick Haley, the defensive line coach who recruited him, along with defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, left the program after the 2020 season. Jethro Franklin was fired as defensive line coach early in the 2021 season and replaced by analyst Al Davis, who is expected to get the full-time job in 2022.
Wingo says he’s looking for a program with stability and one that will set high expectations for him on and off the field. He had praise for his now-former head coach, Eli Drinkwitz.
“I still have nothing bad to say about Coach Drink or his program. Coach Drink is a stand up man. He did everything I asked of him and I told him I appreciate that. He’s going to continue to do great things at Mizzou.”
Wingo said he wants to make a decision about a new school in time for the upcoming semester so he can participate in that school’s spring practice.
Missouri added Oklahoma State defensive lineman Jayden Jernigan on Sunday.
Wingo will be eligible to play without sitting out a year, under new NCAA rules.