There’s only 56 days left until the Missouri Tigers kick off their 2016 season against West Virginia, so today we honor number 56 for the Tigers, defensive end Walter Brady.
One thing we’ve learned over the Missouri Tigers’ recent run of success is that there’s often a correlation between the success of the defensive line and that of the entire team. That wasn’t necessarily true in 2015, though, as defensive ends Charles Harris and Walter Brady both had standout seasons despite the general struggles of the team as a whole.
Brady, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound redshirt sophomore, will be looking to follow up his breakout debut season with another strong campaign. Brady left freshmen across the nation in sacks with seven during the regular season, and he also collected 40 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and a 22-yard interception return over 12 games. Brady didn’t surpass Marcell Frazier atop the Tigers’ depth chart until Week 4, so it was extra impressive that he was as productive as he ended up being.
Brady was the only one of Mizzou’s projected starting defensive linemen that was healthy for spring practice, so he might have a leg up as far as being able to come out firing this fall. Obviously, opponents will now have had the entire offseason to scout him, but Brady’s quickness and athleticism should enable him to succeed. Perhaps the biggest question will be whether new defensive line coach Jackie Shipp can help him to make the necessary adjustments as well as longtime coach Craig Kuligowski did for years with his players.
While we’re highlighting Brady for wearing number 56, we should also mention that he shares his number with center Samson Bailey, who also has a chance to start for the Tigers this year if Nate Crawford can’t recover from chronic back issues that have plagued him for over a year. Though he joined the Tigers as a walk-on, Bailey has definitely gotten into the good graces of the coaching staff, and the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder has turned into a player that they feel comfortable going to if injuries plague the front five.