Mizzou football's Tyler Badie and Akayleb Evans to face each other in 2022 Senior Bowl

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Missouri running back Tyler Badie (1) runs the ball against South Carolina on Nov. 14 at Faurot Field.
Missouri running back Tyler Badie (1) runs the ball against South Carolina on Nov. 14 at Faurot Field.

Two Missouri football starters from the 2021 season are heading to the Senior Bowl and will play on opposing teams.

Defensive back Akayleb Evans and running back Tyler Badie accepted their invites to the 2022 Senior Bowl, which is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 in Mobile, Alabama.

The game will be televised by NFL Network.

Badie is on the National Team, coached by the New York Jets' staff, while Evans is on the American Team, coached by the Detroit Lions' staff.

More: Mizzou football hires Texas State offensive coordinator Jacob Peeler as receivers coach

Last season, Missouri had three players participate in the Senior Bowl: Larry Rountree III, Tyree Gillespie and Joshua Bledsoe. Each of those three players were selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Senior Bowl is one of a handful of postseason games for NFL Draft hopefuls to show their skills in front of current NFL coaches and scouts. The Senior Bowl is specifically meant to showcase the best NFL Draft prospects among players who have exhausted their college eligibility.

Other postseason games, like the East-West Shrine Game and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, are also available for NFL Draft prospects to play in.

Evans and Badie helped Missouri clinch a berth to the Armed Forces Bowl in the 2021 season, its first bowl game since 2018.

Both sat out the bowl game to focus on preparing for the 2022 NFL Draft. Evans opted out of the game on Dec. 9, while Badie was held out by Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz, who said he wanted to protect Badie's NFL future.

Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans (26) and Texas A&M wide receiver Demond Demas (1) both try to make a play on the ball during a game Oct. 16 at Faurot Field.
Missouri defensive back Akayleb Evans (26) and Texas A&M wide receiver Demond Demas (1) both try to make a play on the ball during a game Oct. 16 at Faurot Field.

Evans came to Missouri as a graduate transfer from Tulsa, picking the Tigers over Notre Dame, and earned a starting cornerback spot in 2021. In his lone season in Columbia, Evans recorded one interception, six pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and 29 total tackles.

Badie waited in the wings for three seasons at Missouri and finally got a shot as the Tigers' starting running back in 2021. He didn't waste a snap, as Badie set the program single-season rushing record with 1,604 yards.

Evans will play alongside players from Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Kentucky and Texas A&M on the American Team. Badie will play with star running backs Jerome Ford from Cincinnati and Hassan Haskins from Michigan.

Players who compete in the Senior Bowl aren't guaranteed to get selected, but it does provide an assist. According to the NFL, 30% of the league is composed of players who participated in the Senior Bowl.

Six of the last 10 Senior Bowl Most Valuable Players were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Chris Kwiecinski is the sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, overseeing University of Missouri and Boone County sports coverage. Follow him on Twitter @OchoK_ and contact him at CKwiecinsk@gannett.com or 435-414-3261.

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Two Mizzou football starters to face each other in 2022 Senior Bowl

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