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Mizzou quarterback Powell leaving team

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri quarterback Taylor Powell (5) runs with the ball in his hand during an August 2019 team practice at the Kadlec Practice Fields.

The battle to be Missouri’s starting quarterback is down to three.

Redshirt junior Taylor Powell informed the team Thursday he is leaving the school, an official confirmed Friday morning.

Powell was the primary backup to Drew Lock in 2018 and Kelly Bryant in 2019. Powell played in six games last season, making one start. He saw action in 12 games in his Tiger career, with 62 of his 76 career pass attempts coming last season.

Alongside MU quarterback Shawn Robinson, who transferred to the Tigers and by rule sat out last season, Powell was a highly touted signal caller in the Class of 2017. Powell played at Fayetteville (Ark.) High School, leading the Bulldogs to state championships in Arkansas’ highest classification in 2015 and 2016.

Both of those state title wins occurred at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, the same venue where Powell led Missouri, in relief of an injured Connor Bazelak, to victory over the Razorbacks last November.

Missouri’s Akial Byers and Barrett Banister were high school teammates of Powell, and all three graduated from high school in the same class.

“It’s really hard for guys that start their entire career in high school because (Powell) had never really sat on the bench before. He’d never been that guy. He always heard us coaching the guy behind him to be that guy,” former Fayetteville head coach Bill Blankenship told the Tribune two weeks ago. “And so, I think there’s a little bit of a learning curve the first year.

“... I would say that the last two years he’s had a different mindset about how to grind it out and to be ready because he’s seen that sometimes you don’t always know when your opportunities are going to come. So you’ve got to be ready.”

Those chances would now come with another team after Powell’s decision to leave.

“I’ll cherish it forever,” Banister said last November of playing college football with Powell. “It’s been incredible to come up here and just such a blessing for us to go away from home, but still have each other and be able to live with my best friend and just be able to be with him every day playing football.

“I think we’ve grown together over the last, I guess we’ve been here three years now, I’m getting old. It’s just been a blessing and I really cherish him and his friendship.”

eblum@columbiatribune.com

Missouri quarterback Taylor Powell (5) tries to get the ball away while being pressured by Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith (4) during a game last season in Athens, Ga.