Former Ole Miss Offensive lineman Erick Cade announced on Monday that he is transferring to play football at Missouri State.
The 6-foot-6, 345-pounder, who was a three-star prospect out of high school, said he was looking for a fresh start and somewhere he felt like could help take him to the next level. They felt like that place was in Springfield.
“That’s what everyone wants,” Cade said in a phone interview with the News-Leader. “That’s something I can do in this conference and this league and I’ll be able to show my strengths as a player and I’m just so fired up.”
Cade is coming off two seasons with the Ole Miss program under Lane Kiffin where he didn’t see the field as an Offensive guard. He said he will move to Offensive tackle while he’s been touted as a versatile player who can play the different positions along the front. He redshirted in 2021 and didn’t play as a redshirt freshman in 2022.
Out of Braswell High in Denton, Texas, Cade was rated as a three-star prospect by all major recruiting services and was rated as the No. 57 Offensive tackles in the nation. He held offers from Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU and Arizona State among others.
In high school, he was named to the Denton-area All-Decade Team by the Denton Record Chronicle. In 2019, he was touted as a Power-5 starter and was compared to Detroit Lions Offensive guard Logan Stenberg by 247Sports. He was praised for his college-ready body which immediately becomes the biggest on the Bears’ roster and one they haven’t had in over a decade.
“I see myself fitting in almost seamlessly,” Cade said. “These coaches remind me of what I had in high school as guys fired-up guys who will be in your face coaching you hard and then they love you at the same time. That’s how I was able to grow and flourish. They make you feel like family and that’s what I like about football. It’s more than just playing football and it’s a brotherhood.”
After hitting the transfer portal, Cade said he was pursued by Kansas State until the school had too many returners who filled up the vacant spots on the roster. He also heard from Buffalo, Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Texas State and Tennessee State, but none of them gave him the “homey feeling” that Missouri State did.
He sees similarities between where the Bears are right now and where Ole Miss was when they first arrived. The team went from 5-5 in 2020 to 10-3 the following year upon his arrival and finished 11th in the final AP Poll.
“I feel like they’re on the cusp,” Cade said. “I feel like I can be their guy to look to when we need a first down or when the game is on the line. I want to be that guy that they can call upon when they need me to show up.”
Although he attended high school in Texas, Cade is originally from Kansas City where most of his family resides and is now within driving distance.
Family will now be able to drive and see Cade try to transform a Missouri State Offensive line that’s had its struggles.
The Offensive line was the team’s biggest weakness in its three seasons under Bobby Petrino and the unit will likely see a near-overhaul as it heads into its first season under Ryan Beard who was promoted from defensive coordinator following Petrino’s departure.
Both starting tackles from the Bears’ 2022 season entered the transfer portal following the season with Landon Bebee set to join Deion Sanders at Colorado and Ian Fitzgerald bound for Brigham Young. The Bears also lost starting right guard Sean Fitzgerald to graduation, but return center Ryan Suliafu and left guard Tevita Fuimaono.
No job on the Offensive line will be safe following the Bears’ struggles this past season. The group gave up the second-most sacks in the FCS in 2022 by allowing just over four per game. It also allowed the most tackles for loss in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and ranked among the nation’s worst.
“I’m going to get in there and get a feel for how it is,” Cade said. “And the moment I get there, I’m going to try and give my wisdom to the guys and try to help us get to where we need to be. Hopefully, I can go there and help make everybody better.”
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at [email protected] or Twitter at@WyattWheeler_NL. He’s also the co-host of Sports Talk on Jock Radio weekdays from 4-6 pm