During his senior season at the University of Missouri, former SCR-I graduate Brock Bondurant will be wearing #16 paying homage to his Mizzou idol, Brad Smith. Photo courtesy of the University of Missouri.

During his senior season at the University of Missouri, former SCR-I graduate Brock Bondurant will be wearing #16 paying homage to his Mizzou idol, Brad Smith. Photo courtesy of the University of Missouri.

by Devin Kane, Mizzou Strategic Communications

reprinted with permission from MUTigers.com

At eight­-years-­old, Brock Bondurant stood in the stands of Faurot Field and cheered as Brad Smith led the Mizzou football program to a new level of play.

“He was the most exciting player I’ve ever seen,” Bondurant said. “Just the way he carried himself, on and off the field.”

Bondurant, who now wears No. 16 for the Tigers because of Smith, was amazed then and knew that one day he wanted to be a Tiger too.

“Mizzou was my dream,” Bondurant said. “It was the only thing, as a little kid, that I knew I wanted to do with my life. Growing up I had every aspiration of being a player here, so to me it’s such a deep meaning to put on that jersey and just think of everybody who has come before me and how lucky and blessed I am to be in this position.”

Bondurant set out on that dream with the strong support of his family. What began as his dream, was now their dream.

“They’ve given me everything that they possibly could,” Bondurant said. “I love them and it’s not just me living out my dreams for me. Every day I think of them and how I represent them and how I am living out our dreams as a family. It is amazing the support they have given me.”

Bondurant grew up in Memphis, Mo., a small town of just less than 2,000 people. He was a multi­sport standout at Scotland County High School where he played football, basketball and baseball and ran track and field.

“In a small town, having dreams like this doesn’t really seem possible,” Bondurant said. “I am so proud of where I am from and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is so special to me to represent Memphis and Scotland County High School and hopefully be a positive role model for the kids back home.”

An education and counseling psychology major, Bondurant is now a graduate student at Mizzou pursuing a graduate degree in positive coaching. He hopes to become a graduate assistant for Mizzou Football in the spring and explore coaching for a few years before moving to athletic administration. Beyond that he intends to stay around college athletics and utilize his experience at Missouri to influence student athletes in a positive way.

“I will always have this experience to go back to and everything that I have taken away from it is just setting me up for success in the future,” Bondurant said.

Now in his final season as a Tiger, Bondurant looks back to that eight­-year-­old that stood in the stands for countless Saturdays dreaming about the life he is living now.

“I used to be up in the stand every single game dreaming of the day I’d get to run out onto the field into crowds like this,” Bondurant said. “It definitely doesn’t get old every time you step out on the field and the atmosphere and electricity just running through the stands and you feel it take over your body. It’s so special to run out of the tunnel and see the stands full of gold. It’s an unforgettable experience.”

For Bondurant, he’ll take away much more than four years of football. He gained an experience that has impacted his life both on and off the field, leaving him with lifelong memories.

“Being a part of this program is just an unforgettable experience not even just the football aspect but just life in general,” Bondurant said. “I’ve discovered who I am here, I’ve discovered my true meaning and true purpose in life. Football has been a big part of that. It has never been easy; it has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do but it has taught me so much.”