Seniors tight end Marqus Andrews (15) and running back Justin Rankin celebrate in the end zone after Rankin scored his second touchdown of Northwest's 36-33 overtime win against Fort Hays State in Hays, Kansas, Nov. 9, 2019.

Welcome back to Walk The Talk, the weekly mailbag column where you submit questions about your favorite — or maybe least favorite, I suppose — Northwest sports program. If you’re reading for the first time, then welcome. It’s the first game week for Northwest football since December 2019, so, of course, we’ll talk about Rich Wright’s program in a little bit.

Mount Rushmore of Northwest uniforms?

These Mount Rushmore questions are tough, but this one is pretty easy compared to the one about Northwest’s football program.

The first one, without a doubt, has to be Northwest soccer’s pink-out uniforms. The soccer program’s kits are probably one of the coolest uniforms in the MIAA, not just in Maryville. I never really thought green and pink would work well together for a soccer kit, but they for sure do for the Bearcats.

It wouldn’t be an accurate Mount Rushmore of Northwest uniforms if the football program’s Family Day threads weren’t on it. The late coach Scott Bostwick wanted to surprise the players with black jerseys, but he died before he could see their reaction to them hanging in their lockers. The program still got them, though, and it’s been a Family Day tradition ever since.

Northwest women’s basketball has these pretty slick all-black uniforms, and they belong on this list, too. They’ve served as the women’s away jerseys, which is a different look than the Northwest men’s basketball team sporting all-green uniforms on the road. It’s different, and the black jersey with green trimming just looks good.

The final uniform on this Mount Rushmore has to be the baseball program’s white-jersey, white-pant combo. There’s just something about making it to spring, having a warm day with a breeze and seeing a baseball team in all white. It’s sleek — plus, it makes it look really cool after a slide into second.

Which other team in the MIAA is Northwest football’s biggest threat?

It’s somewhat ironic that this question is being asked during Week 1, because that’s the answer to the question: Fort Hays.

This could very possibly be the most important game of the season for both of these programs, and it happens to occur after an 18-month hiatus. I mean, what more could you ask for?

The Bearcats and Tigers met in 2019 with, essentially, a trip to the postseason on the line. Northwest won that game, of course, and made it all of the way to the quarterfinals before being bounced by Ferris State.

After the Bearcats’ annual Green & White game Aug. 26, coach Rich Wright said he’d rather the matchup be Week 11 with both teams undefeated. Instead, he gets the matchup Week 1 with both teams undefeated and coming off of the longest game break in the history of the MIAA.

Which Northwest football player is most likely to go to the NFL?

It’s pretty difficult to be able to pinpoint a Division II player who is a lock to make it to the next level, but I don’t think that’s the case for one person in Maryville this year: Sam Roberts.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive lineman is primed to have a massive season this fall. After redshirting his freshman year, Roberts has only not started two games — both of which he missed due to injury.

His size, alone, will make him appealing to NFL scouts. His 29 tackles for loss, 115 tackles and one interception — all before his senior season — will probably sneak him into the later rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.

I’d be genuinely surprised if the Waynesville, Missouri, native isn’t on an NFL roster next summer.

Walk The Talk is a mailbag that focuses on all things Northwest Athletics. To submit a question for the next edition of the mailbag, tweet @ByJonWalker or email j.walker.missourian@gmail.com.

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