Missouri Tigers College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defense wasn’t good enough. Granted, everyone will look bad with Alabama, Florida and Georgia on the slate, but the late-season collapse and 408 yards and 32 points per game led to new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. The NFL veteran will play around with the alignment as needed, and it starts with a nasty group of linemen to build around.
– It hurts to lose veteran tackle Markell Utsey to Arkansas, but the Tigers have a terrific tandem in Kobie Whiteside and Akial Byers on the inside. Trajan Jeffcoat was an All-SEC pass rusher on the outside as the main man for a big group of ends.
Nick Bolton was arguably the best linebacker in the SEC, and now he’s a Kansas City Chief. Devin Nicholson is a solid 230-pound tackler in the middle, and the corps is getting a steal in former Rice Owl star tackler Blaze Alldredge to take over one of the outside gigs.
– There are veterans in the secondary, but they need to do more big things for a defense that generated just four interceptions and got rocked way too often. There’s plenty of upside in former big recruit Jalani Williams at one safety spot to go along with 64-tackle veteran Martez Manuel.
Ennis Rakestraw was fine as a freshman corner with 24 tackles and six broken up passes, but again, this group needs to make more plays.