Missouri's ability to annually churn out quality defensive linemen has been its trademark. Dubbed "D-Line ZOU," the Tigers have a strong reputation built on the success of their defensive fronts in recent years.
Going into 2017, however, the Tigers will need all the depth they can get, particularly at defensive tackle. That's where Mizzou's 2017 recruiting class comes into play.
The Tigers went heavy on the defensive interior in this class.
Any of the four defensive tackle signees could be instant-impact recruits for Mizzou in 2017: junior college prospects Rashad Brandon, Walter Palmore, Malik Young or high school recruit Kobie Whiteside.
Missouri returns A.J. Logan, who started all 12 games last season at defensive tackle, but loses the rest of the players on the season-ending two-deep. Two players who were seniors in 2016 will be gone: Rickey Hatley, who started all 12 games at defensive tackle, and Josh Augusta, who played in all 12. Top 2015 recruit Terry Beckner Jr., who contributed regularly in the first seven games, continues to recover from a knee injury he suffered in midseason. Markell Utsey, who also played seven games at the position, also is recovering from a knee injury.
This was a definite position of need for the Tigers.
Brandon (6-foot-3, 305 pounds), the eighth-ranked junior college defensive tackle prospect in the 2017 class, is a three-star prospect who was the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year at ASA College in Brooklyn. Palmore (6-4, 300), the seventh-ranked juco defensive tackle, and Young (6-3, 285), a first-team NJCAA All-American last season, were teammates last year at Eastern Arizona Junior College. Whiteside (6-1, 304) will be a true freshman and was a district MVP in one of the most talented areas of Texas high school football.
All four will arrive on campus in the summer and begin competing for a spot on the defensive line. It seems to be a safe bet that one of these four defensive tackles will emerge as a contributor in 2017.