The sudden hype and hyperbole (sorry, Big Head) surrounding Brian Coulter have been amazing to watch, considering about 0.000001% of Mizzou fans had even heard of this guy two days ago. Now he's instantaneously a program changer.
Let me be clear--he looks the part. 6'4, 255, had a sack a game as a JUCO sophomore...I really like what I've heard. But I figured the best thing to do would be to take a look at previous years' top JUCO DEs and how they fared at the NCAA level.
Will Tukuafu (Oregon) - 2007: 36 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks 2 FF's, 3 FR's. I'd take that.
Dion Gales (Troy) - 2007: 30 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks. I'd take that too.
Luis Vasquez (Arizona State) - 2007: 43 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 1 FR, 1 blocked kick. Good stuff.
Michael Jordan (Michigan State) - 2007: 3 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Louis Holmes (Arizona) - 2006: 36 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks. 2007: 37 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks.
Walter Fisher (Tennessee) - 2006: redshirted. 2007: 27 tackles, 1.0 TFL.
Chris Bradwell (Troy) - 2006: either redshirted or just didn't make a single play. 2007: 36 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks
Rulon Davis (California) - 2006: 5 tackles, 0.5 TFL. 2007: 16 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks.
Ryan McBean (Oklahoma State) - 2005: 37 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks. 2006: 25 tackles, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks.
Jeremy Mincey (Florida) - 2004: 51 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks. 2005: 62 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks.
Jeremy Coley (Purdue) - ended up at Lindenwood
Rashaad Goodrum (USC) - 2004: redshirted. 2005: 2.0 tackles. 2006: injuries.
A hit or miss record, to be sure, but last year's crop of top JUCO DEs was certainly encouraging.
Now, bear in mind a couple things (one bad, one good):
- All of these guys were ranked ahead of where Coulter was ranked by Rivals (3 stars, #47 overall JUCO).
- Coulter is coming into a very good situation. If he can simply serve the role of a strong pass rush specialist (Tommy Chavis on Non-Passing Downs, Coulter on Passing Downs), then our defense just got better...which is a bit of a scary thought.
Any time a player goes from "unheard of" to "pushing us over the top" in 8 seconds flat, I reflexively start resisting the tide and stepping back a bit. In all, though, this signing sure doesn't hurt, and if nothing else it gives us one more guy with lots of potential to throw into the mix in 2009, which is a very good thing.