COLUMBIA — For the first time since he was 4 years old, Andy Bauer wasn’t playing football.
Surgery to remove a bone spur in the 6-foot-6-inch, 304-pounder's right thigh left the offensive lineman sidelined, unable to practice or play during De Smet Jesuit’s 2013 season. For Bauer — the eighth-ranked guard in the class of 2014, according to Rivals.com – the time off felt strange. The St. Louis native hadn’t missed a significant chunk of season since he began playing football at 5 years old.
Bauer still found ways to be productive.
“I read a lot of sports psychology books,” he said.
Bauer is seemingly a reflective football player.
Last March, he made a verbal commitment to play at Ole Miss. The decision came nearly one year after Bauer made a verbal commitment to Missouri and coach Gary Pinkel. The more he mulled over the decision, though, the clearer it became: Bauer’s initial choice was the correct one.
“Mizzou is always where I’ve wanted to go,” he said. “It was close to home and I have a great relationship with everyone there. I have so much respect for Coach Pinkel ...”
So on Nov. 4, a few days after meeting with Pinkel in person, Bauer took to Twitter to officially announce his decision to play for the team he grew up rooting for over Ole Miss. Bauer made it official Wednesday by signing his national letter of intent and faxing it to the Missouri football offices.
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “It’s been what I’ve been dreaming of for a while."
After physical rehab, Bauer should be fully healthy for the Tigers.