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'I got to do what’s best for me': Former Mizzou defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo talks about transfer decision

Wingo said he wants: “Some more stability I’d say. And a culture that’s going to be demanding of every player and is going to demand greatness from everybody."

BATON ROUGE, La. — Growing up in St. Louis, Mekhi Wingo always had dreams of playing college football for his home team, the Missouri Tigers. After dominating at De Smet Jesuit High School, he earned the opportunity, signing with the Tigers in what he hoped to be an unbreakable bond.

Wingo appeared in 11 games as a true freshman, starting in three of them. He secured 21 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, one interception, and one touchdown. The undersized yet effective defensive lineman made a name for himself in what some call the best conference in college football, landing on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

It wouldn’t be enough to convince Wingo to stick around, instead choosing to enter the transfer portal following his freshman year.

“It was hard just leaving the teammates and the brotherhood that I built there,” Wingo said.  “Just leaving the brotherhood, I felt like I kind of walked out on them, that was the hardest part but at the end of the day they know that they {are} my brothers for life and I got to do what’s best for me and make the best decisions for me and my family.”

He’s now on the hunt for a new team to call family, and a few other things.

“Some more stability I’d say, and a culture that’s going to be demanding of every player and is going to demand greatness from everybody,” he said.

Wingo is currently in Baton Rouge where he says the idea of playing with his former high school coach, Robert Steeples, and Brian Kelly at LSU is very appealing.

“What coach Kelly has done in his past, every program he’s been at he’s built that culture and he’s demanding of his players, he’s turned every program that he’s been at around,” Wingo speaking about Kelly’s coaching history.

He’ll also make trips to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Southern California.

Wingo is a big believer in new USC coach Lincoln Riley.

“He’s a cool dude to be around and his track record speaks for itself,” he said.

Majoring in communications, Wingo also noted some advantages to being a Trojan.

“Being in California, what’s not the perfect situation about that,” Wingo said thinking about his life off the field. “He [Lincoln Riley] can take me to Fox Studios.”

The Sooners will look a lot different after the departure of Riley to USC. In steps Brent Venables, who Wingo describes as one of the best defensive minds.

“Having a defensive-minded head coach absolutely fits me,” Wingo said.

Wingo will make his decision shortly after the last visit with the hopes of enrolling for the 2022 spring semester.

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