Tigers Players Find Special Connection

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COLUMBIA - On Thanksgiving a lot of the Tiger football players cannot travel home, so they spend the holiday together like a family, a big family. A couple of Tiger football players found out they were more of a family than they originally though.

Missouri defensive end Jacquies Smith and running back Kendial Lawrence play on opposite sides of the football, but these Tigers share a connection they didn't find out about until this season.

Mizzou defensive end Jacquies Smith is a natural on the defensive line.

"The best part is sacking the quarterback. That's the greatest part. Scoring a touchdown is just about the same feeling," explained Smith.

Smith is a rare defensive end with a nose for the end zone. He's scored touchdowns three different times, three different ways.

A fumble return.

A fake field goal.

And an interception.

Said Smith of his performance, "They're always messing with me about playing tight end. I'm 3 for 3 with the ball in my hands. I want to keep the streak going so if I do get the chance again to get the ball in my hands, I want to keep the streak going."

Smith shares a name with Aldon Smith, but they're not related; they just have similar skills.

"He's always messing with me about techniques he uses that I should implement into my game. So, I've learned a lot from Aldon as well," said Smith.

Aldon's his teammate, but recently Jacquies learned that running back Kendial Lawrence is more.

"He text me and said we might be kin folk or something like that," recalled Lawrence.

"I was like what's up cousin? And I'm like you really are my cousin and he started laughing," explained Smith.

"His mom's, grandma's cousin or something like that. I was like that's pretty cool. I didn't pay a lot of attention to it," said Lawrence.

But that changed when Lawrence received a call from his family.

"My grandma called me. She was like, number 3 is on our family on my side. I was like... What?" recalled Lawrence.

"My grandfather who passed away is his grandfather's brother. So, we're cousins," said Smith.

Added Lawrence, "I'm still confused. I just know we're kin to each other."

Both Smith and Lawrence are from the Dallas area but had no idea about the connection they might have never figured out if they didn't play for the same team.

"I said what's up little cousin. We always say cousin to each other, but we didn't think it was real," said Smith.

"He's still my teammate. He was always like my brother since the beginning, but I guess you can say we blood now. So, it's official," explained Lawrence.

Mizzou does have some other family connections on the team: brothers Tyler and Blaine Gabbert at quarterback along with walk-on's Matt and Tyler Davis from Eldon.

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