The Missouri Tigers have dismissed two key defensive linemen from the program.
As Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com first reported and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Dave Matter later confirmed on Wednesday, the Missouri Tigers have dismissed defensive tackle Harold Brantley and defensive end Walter Brady from the program. Brantley, a redshirt senior, failed to gain academic eligibility, while Brady, a redshirt sophomore, was dismissed for a violation of team rules.
Brantley seemed to be on track to be a first-rounder in a future NFL Draft before he got into a serious car accident last summer. He fractured his left leg, suffered rib fractures, and sustained ligament damage in his left knee. After missing the 2015 season, Brantley had worked extremely hard to get back into football shape, and it was expected that he’d compete for a starting defensive tackle job with guys like Terry Beckner, Jr., A.J. Logan, Rickey Hatley, and Josh Augusta. Unfortunately, something went wrong with his academic progress, and things obviously changed after July 13, when head coach Barry Odom said that Brantley had “done the things academically he needed to up to this point.”
Brantley had 54 tackles, five sacks, and seven tackles for loss in 14 games back in 2014, so not having him will be a major blow to Mizzou’s defense, even if the Tigers managed to play without him last season.
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They’ll have to hope that Beckner, who suffered a torn ACL last November and dealt with a suspension during spring practice, is fully recovered from his injury and ready to replace Brantley’s lost production on the interior defensive line.
The biggest loss here, though, is that of Brady, who stormed onto the scene as a redshirt freshman last year despite the fact that he didn’t even suit up as a true freshman due to academic issues. While he didn’t wrestle a starting job away from Marcell Frazier until the fourth game of the season, Brady led SEC freshmen in sacks (seven) and tackles for loss (12.5), and he teamed with Charles Harris to form one of the most dominant defensive end duos in the country.
With Brady gone, the Tigers will presumably rely on Frazier, a redshirt junior who started three games last year, to take over the starting left defensive end role. In addition, guys like sophomores Nate Howard and Spencer Williams, freshman Tre Williams, and junior walk-on Eddie Serrano stand to see increased playing time. Swingman Josh Moore, who worked exclusively at defensive tackle last season, might also be a candidate to see more time at end.