2013 Mizzou Walkthrough: Ealy's ceiling is sky high

Bill Carter

Kony Ealy

#47 | 6'5, 275, Jr. | New Madrid, MO

2011: 12 games, 9.5 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks
2012: 12 games, 27.0 tackles, 10.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 7 PBU, 1 FF, 5 QB hurries

Bill C.: Kony Ealy is capable of complete and total dominance. He is as physically gifted for the end position as his cousin-or-whatever Sheldon Richardson is for tackle. He was the best player on the field during last season's Arizona State game, and it wasn't particularly close.

Arizona State lines up with a single running back beside Kelly, trips to his left and one receiver to his right. At the snap Missouri only brings 4 rushes but boy do they cause some damage. Missouri's right end Kony Ealy absolutely destroy's ASU's left tackle and knocks him to the ground. You really don't see a left tackle get thrown completely on his back on a bull rush that often. […]

In four plays, Kony Ealy has already made his presence known to anyone watching this game. ASU runs a zone read out of an offset pistol formation. The wing back lined up on the right is tasked with coming down across the formation and blocking Ealy. Let's just say he doesn't.

The offensive line gets great push against the rest of Missouri's defensive, line and there is certainly some running room there. However, because Ealy has crashed so well on the running back and blown everything up, Kelly must pull the ball and run outside, where the linebacker comes up to make a tackle for no gain. […]

Who shows up again to make a play for Missouri's defense? Kony Ealy. The tight end to the left side is tasked with blocking down on Kony Ealy and sealing off any penetration. He doesn't have to drive him back, just prevent him from getting into the backfield. Unfortunately, Ealy shoots through the gap left by the pulling tackle and just overpowers the tight end.

Arizona State was his finest moment, but after six games, Ealy had racked up a mighty impressive 6.5 tackles for loss and was well on his way toward leading the team (one that featured Sheldon Richardson) in sacks and tackles for loss.

Then, over the next five games, Ealy had 1.5 tackles for loss. He didn't disappear, exactly, but ... he kind of disappeared. Let's put it this way: The narrative from the Syracuse game has been "Sheldon Richardson got himself suspended, and therefore Mizzou didn't have any pass rush and couldn't get to Ryan Nassib." Kony Ealy was still on the field, but by the Syracuse game, he had blended into the scenery. If I remember right, he had a hand in rushing Nassib on an interception, but when Mizzou needed someone to make a play, Mizzou's most physically blessed defender wasn't really doing much.

Because of his ridiculous potential, Ealy still got a third-to-fourth round evaluation from the NFL's draft advisory board this offseason; but the second half of last season proved that to move into the fourth round, he will have to do what his cousin-or-whatever did last year: bring it in every game.

And my goodness, if Ealy becomes a Sheldon at End, basically, the prospects for this defense go sky high. The front seven will have a star alongside steady, exciting veterans like Michael Sam and Andrew Wilson, the new tackle rotation will benefit from the opposing line having to account for Ealy, and the new starting defensive backs won't have to guard their men quite as long with quarterbacks under relatively consistent pressure. Ealy's ceiling is the highest on the defense, and the closer he comes to reaching it, the higher he makes Mizzou's ceiling as well.

MizzouRugby: Kony 2012 was full of spurts and sputters, but when he was on, it was pure dominance. With another year under his belt, Ealy is my pick to be the next star on the MU D-Line.

The Beef: Ealy NEEDS to be the next star on this team in my opinion. Given his athletic gifts, it is time to put the package together. While it is quite a bridge to jump, I think Mizzou has a great year if we are worried about losing Ealy come this spring.

countrycal: Every year it seems we have someone just burst out of camp ready to have a HUGE year – I pick the man who is packing 275 super hamburgers on a 6’5" frame to be the one this year. He has all the tools, and he had the taste of some success last year. This is the time to put himself on everyone’s watch list against SEC competition. I think he’ll do it.

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