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Drinkwitz on grad transfers: ‘We understand it, we’ve done it, we’ve proven success’

COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)

Mizzou football is now working with the three notable grad transfers Eli Drinkwitz brought in over the offseason.

Damon Hazelton, Mike Maietti, and Keke Chism all transferred to the university for their final year of eligibility.

Hazelton came to Missouri from Virginia Tech where he nabbed at eight touchdowns in the 2019-2020 season.

He said his relationship with the coaching staff is one the biggest reasons he decided to transfer to MU.

"Got a really great relationship with coach Drinkwitz and coach Hamdan, as well," he said. "That played a large factor in it."

Throughout fall camp, Drinkwitz has been requiring newcomers to earn their numbers, before printing them on their jerseys.

The wide reciever has not earned a number yet, but coach Drink said he's not worried about it.

"You've got to make a play to earn a number and he'll make it. I'm not stressed about it. People are making their plays, making their numbers, but, again, it's just part of the nothing's given, everything's earned," he said.

You can watch our full interview with Damon Hazelton in the video player below.

Meanwhile, fellow graduate transfer KeKe Chism received his number on Wednesday.

"It was great just to see my hardworking paying off, but, at the same time, I know that it's not done," Chism said. "Everyday I come in and it's a brand new day. So, every day I look at it like a challenge and I've got to earn it ever day."

Chism transferred to Mizzou from Angelo State University, which is a division II program.

Drinkwitz said the decision to pull an athlete up from a lower division required research.

"We felt comfortable with the amount of homework that we did and knew that he was the right type of person," he said. "Obviously, it's great to recruit talent, but you have to recruit the right type of people to build a football team."

You can watch our full interview with Keke Chism in the video player below.

Drinkwitz added that he does not shy away from recruiting graduate transfers, in fact, he's proven success with them in the past.

"We've had a lot of really great experiences with grad transfers in our history," he said. "Have had success implementing guys into the locker room who know how that culture goes, so I think that's probably the biggest thing: we understand it and have done it."

You can watch our full interview with Eli Drinkwitz in the video player below.

We also spoke with fellow graduate transfer Mike Maietti, as well as, Hyrin White and Tyree Gillespie. You can watch those full interviews in the video players below.

College Sports / Mizzou Football / Mizzou Tigers / Sports Feature
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Nathalie Jones

Nathalie reports on both news and sports for ABC17. She started working at the station in June 2020.

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