How Oklahoma transfer Theo Wease Jr. can impact Mizzou's remade receiver corps

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Shortly after Missouri All-SEC wide receiver Dominic Lovett entered the NCAA transfer portal in December, the Tigers shopped for reinforcements.
Theo Wease Jr. doesn’t play the same receiver position — he’ll line up outside at the X position, while Lovett played in the slot — but if Wease can make a major impact this fall, along with Mississippi transfer Dannis Jackson, another addition on the outside, the Tigers could have a net gain in their wide receiver portal moves.
Lovett’s departure to Georgia, along with Wease’s arrival from Oklahoma, afforded Mizzou to move Luther Burden III into the slot position and clears a path for Wease to emerge as the offense’s top playmaker on the outside.
So far, so good.
“I’ve got to come to work every day. I have to,” Wease said earlier in preseason camp. “I got guys behind me that I’m telling, ‘Take my spot. I'm not holding no keys or any extra information.’ I want them to take my spot, just making everybody better in the room.”
Once rated the nation’s No. 3 receiver recruit, the former five-star prospect played more than 1,000 snaps over four seasons at Oklahoma, lining up almost exclusively on the outside.
Will he reprise the same role for the Tigers?
“Nah, it’s not similar,” Wease said. “It's not similar at all. But I'm excited for it.”
Care to elaborate?
“It’s a way, way better situation,” he said. “I'm able to play on both sides (of the formations). Outside, inside. I can run every route on the route tree. Pretty much everything. It’s a night and day difference.”
Among Mizzou’s scholarship receivers, the 6-foot-2 Wease is tied for the tallest along with redshirt freshman Ja’Marion Wayne and freshman Josh Manning. But he’s more than just a lanky target on the perimeter.
“He can move for his size,” wideout Mookie Cooper said. “He’s got some wiggle to him.”
Wease went to Oklahoma in 2019 as one of the program’s most celebrated recruits. As a prospect from Texas powerhouse program Allen High School, Wease was rated higher than Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams, who went on to star at Ohio State and Alabama, respectively. Other lower-ranked receivers in Wease’s 2019 recruiting class included college standouts Treylon Burks (Arkansas), David Bell (Purdue), Jonathan Mingo (Ole Miss) and Drake London (USC).
The 6-foot-2 Wease emerged as one of OU’s most reliable playmakers as a sophomore, catching 37 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns as Spencer Rattler’s No. 2 target opposite wideout Marvin Mims, now a rookie with the Denver Broncos. A foot injury sidelined Wease for all but one game in 2021. Last season, as the Sooners stumbled to their first losing record in 24 years under first-year coach Brent Venables, Wease returned to the rotation, catching 19 passes for 378 yards and four scores as OU’s No. 3 outside receiver. His production declined, but he dropped just one pass on 33 targets and averaged 19.9 yards per reception.
With two years of eligibility, he sought a fresh start at Mizzou then quickly earned first-team snaps in spring practices.
“When Theo first got here, I think there was a lot of wanting to prove himself immediately,” Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “Sometimes that leads to a pressure and maybe performance anxiety. He has really just gone to work. I told him the first day (of camp), I think it was either day one or day two, he got player of the day and I said I love it because I didn't hear him all day. I just saw him making plays. He's really matured. Now he's back to talking, but he's backing it up good.”
Drinkwitz has been critical of his wide receivers since the start of preseason camp, especially for some shoddy blocking in earlier practices. There’s a high level of expectation for the group despite the departure of Lovett and former starters Barrett Banister, whose eligibility expired, and Tauskie Dove, who transferred to Memphis. Cooper, Burden, Jackson and sophomore Mekhi Miller figure to get the most touches, though Wease’s experience and size should make him a popular target on the outside, especially if defenses focus on Burden.
“I know when I’m on the field with Luther I can’t get double teamed,” Wease said. “So that's definitely a plus. Luther is a great athlete. I'm just trying to help him take his game to the next level, the next level, the next level every day.”
Imo's inks deal with Cook
Imo’s Pizza has signed another Mizzou football player to endorse its restaurants this fall: quarterback Brady Cook. Earlier this summer, Burden signed an endorsement deal with Imo’s. Like his teammate, Cook will appear in print, electronic and billboard advertising for the company this season. His parents, Jim and Amy Cook, own seven Imo’s restaurants in the St. Louis area. As customary with endorsement deals involving college athletes' name, image and likeness, Imo's did not disclose terms of their contracts.
“As someone who basically grew up in Imo’s Pizza parlor, I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” Cook said. “My parents have been long-time Imo’s franchisees, and I’m honored to represent a brand that has meant so much to our family. And I’m excited to share this role with my friend and teammate, Luther.”

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