COLUMBIA, Mo. — No matter where life took him, everyone knew the destiny of St. Joseph native Bobby Lawrence.

“Mizzou is just a blessing, he’s living his dream right now, and he’s always wanted to do this since he was seven-years-old,” Bobby’s father Toby Lawrence said.

It’s hard to miss the 6-foot-8, 300-pound former Central Indian-turned-Missouri Tiger as he stands on the football field.

Missouri head coach Barry Odom added, “He plays hard. He’s an effort guy from St. Joe, Missouri that we took late. He’s tall, I don’t know, 6-8-ish.”

“I’ve been a Mizzou fan my whole life. Ever since I came to my first Mizzou game when I was 6 years old, I dreamed of playing on the field. So now that I’m actually here and achieved my dreams is really cool,” Missouri offensive lineman Bobby Lawrence said.

The redshirt freshman made his first career start this season versus Southeast Missouri State in Week 3, playing 43 offensive snaps.

“It’s awesome because of all the hard work, the eight hours a day, the weight room, the summers, the practices... I mean just to get that reward of getting a few plays in the West Virginia game, that stuff is worth it, and then starting in the Southeast Missouri State (game), I mean he’s on top of the world,” Toby said.

“He’s really worked extremely hard in the weight room to put his body in position to play at that spot on the offensive line,” Odom added.

Bobby Lawrence signed on with the Tigers in February 2018, and since then has found himself in the middle of position battles in a group that didn’t have much depth in recent years.

“You always have to give 100 percent and be 100 percent in every area because we have a lot of depth this year, so if you mess up it’s the next guy up or someone gets hurt, it’s the next guy up. We’ve been shuffling around so much,” Bobby said.

The experienced Tiger offensive linemen Yasir Durant, Trystan Colon-Castillo and Tre’Vour Wallace-Simms occupy secured spots as starters on the line.

While the remaining underclassmen in Case Cook, Larry Borom and Hyrin White along with Bobby aim to make their presence known on the field.

“I think we just have a really good group of guys. It’s really fun to play with everyone and we always bring each other up,” Bobby said. “We always help each other out no matter what and just be really uplifting.”

Toby added, “They’re trying to find the five best guys on the offensive line going into a tough SEC schedule. Coach Davis is a phenomenal offensive line coach. He’s trying to swing him back and forth at left and right tackle.”

Having his father as a coach throughout high school, Bobby felt prepared for the demands of college level football.

“My dad did a really good job with me in high school,” Bobby said. “It was really nice because whatever it was at practice or anything like that, we’d never take football home. We’d always keep it at school. So, it’s a really good relationship.”

“In high school I coached him very hard I will not lie about it and I coached him hard because if he wanted to play at this level, you have to be coached hard and you have to be coachable, which he is,” Toby added.

The Tigers are currently riding a four-game winning streak after defeating the Troy Trojans 42-10 on Saturday at Faurot Field, where Bobby had some playing time.

“He keeps getting better. It’s important to him, and he’s going to be a really good player for us here in the next couple years,” Odom said.

“He’s a great kid, but I just tell him be patient,” Toby said. “Your time is going to come, but the biggest thing is you’ve got to live in the weight room, you’ve got to get your grades, and you gotta do what they tell you to do. That’s the most important thing.”

And whatever direction the Missouri season goes, Bobby knows to never take a day for granted with number 64 on his back.

“It’s been really cool,” Bobby said. “Every time I go out there and I get the opportunity to show my coaches what I can do, I try to do my assignment 100 percent as hard as I can until the whistle.”

Micaela Dea can be reached

at micaela.dea@newspressnow.com.

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Micaela Dea is a sports reporter for News-Press NOW. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Growing up in San Diego, Micaela loves to travel, meet new people, and tell stories. Have a story idea? Don't hesitate to email!