Trystan Colon-Castillo could write a book about his journey from Webb City to playing center for the Missouri football team.

While Webb City captured three state championships when Colon-Castillo was in high school, his road since then has featured plenty of ups and downs. Colon-Castillo has been entrenched as a starter on the Tigers' offensive line the past two seasons, but upon his arrival he first faced a reality check of playing in the Southeastern Conference.

It's a similar reality check the entire MU team is experiencing now after a stunning 21-14 loss at Vanderbilt last weekend.

Colon-Castillo and the Tigers (5-2) travel to Lexington to play Kentucky (3-4) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in another SEC matchup.

“When I first got here from Webb City, it was brutal,” the redshirt junior said. “I thought I was a lot higher than what I really was. However, I had several players bring me back to reality. ... To see where I was at my first spring to where I am now is kind of crazy.”

Colon-Castillo was never alone on his journey, however.

Yasir Durant, now the Tigers' starting left tackle, used to sit in the back row beside Colon-Castillo during offensive line meetings.

“We can look back now to how crazy it was and humbling, I guess, going from the back of the room to the front,” Colon-Castillo said.

After making 13 starts in 2017, Colon-Castillo was honored by the MU coaching staff with the team’s outstanding underclassman leadership award at the end of the season. He was also named to the SEC all-freshman team by league coaches.

Colon-Castillo started all 13 games last year and furthered his progression to help lead the Tigers to the Liberty Bowl.

Colon-Castillo credits offensive line coach Brad Davis for helping him learn his craft.

“Coach Davis talks about coming out every day and working on something specific, whether it’s just getting your hands tighter, getting lower, playing with speed off the ball, footwork or small steps, fast feet,” Colon-Castillo said. “It’s getting the right fit perfect every time. If you take those day-by-day and you get something better every single day over a period of time, that’s how you get your craft and make it elite.

"Once you get a feel for it, it just becomes natural.”

Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant said Colon-Castillo does a good job keeping the offense on the same page.

“I know when he makes a call and he knows when I make a call," Bryant said. "Trystan is a guy who has played a lot of ball and seen a lot of different fronts, so he’s very knowledgeable and a smart player. He is one of the guys leading up front and making all the calls to get everybody in check.”

The loss at Vanderbilt marked the first time this season that Missouri scored fewer than 30 points. It fell short of that by a substantial amount.

The Tigers posted just two touchdowns against a Vanderbilt team that gave up 31 points to Ole Miss, 34 to UNLV and 66 to LSU.

“As a whole I think Vandy just outplayed us, which kind of sucks,” Colon-Castillo said. “We just have to come out and go to work. It sucks losing to Vandy, but there are three teams right now that have just one loss in the SEC, so we are still in the race.

"I also felt like we had some of our habits get away from us. All the coaches talk about this all the time — that this is the SEC and you are one week from getting embarrassed. If you don’t bring it every week, any team can lose any week, and obviously it showed against Vandy.”

Colon-Castillo said he is not fond of fans jumping on head coach Barry Odom after the loss to the Commodores.

“I have been on social media and everybody is calling for coach Odom’s head,” Colon-Castillo said. “The dude has done his best since he has been here. He treats us the same week in and week out and we prepare the same. In all honesty, he has done a great job as a coach. The man really pours his heart and soul into the program and he gives everything he has, and I will have that man's back any day. I think it’s bull---- that fans are trying to come after coach Odom. I guess you can come talk to me.”

Safe to say Colon-Castillo and the Tigers have a chip on their shoulder entering their upcoming game in Lexington.

Missouri lost to Kentucky 15-14 in heartbreaking fashion last season.

“We haven’t beaten Kentucky since I have been here and they didn’t beat them the year before I got here,” Colon-Castillo said. “I definitely think that will motivate us. Coach talks about not bringing up the past, but the guys that played last year, I definitely think it's in the back of their minds right now and we are taking it personal.”