Yesterday I expressed my excitement and hopeful nature regarding the replacement of both starting Mizzou defensive ends. Am I as excited about the prospects of replacing Ziggy Hood at DT? I don't think so. I'm not scared of this unit, but I'm not sure what to think just yet.
Jaron Baston (6'1, 300, Senior)
2008: 49 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 1 sack, 2 FRs, 1 INT, 1 QB Hurry, 1 PBR
First things first: Jaron Baston is a man. He is a vocal, energetic leader, he's got friggin' tree trunks for legs, and he got better and better as his first season as a starter progressed. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he ended up a 2009 captain, actually.
The one question that remains to be answered is, how much of his success came because he's a good (and getting better) player, and how much is due to offenses being forced to focus on and double-team Ziggy? When I'm watching a game, I don't usually pay too much attention to the blocking schemes in the middle of the line--I usually don't notice the offensive guards and defensive tackles unless they're doing something really good or really bad--so I'll let somebody else answer that question. What I do know about Baston is that he is relentless, quick player who plays a lot like one of everybody's favorite former Tigers, Lorenzo Williams. Of all Mizzou's defensive struggles in '08, they didn't come from Zo's absence--Baston filled his large shoes pretty well.
The question now becomes...who fills Ziggy's shoes?
Terrell Resonno (6'6, 285, Sophomore)
2008: 13 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 QB Hurry
Two sophomores-to-be will be given the first shots at succeeding Ziggy Hood. First up: Terrell Resonno. The former Jeff City Jay seemed to snag a bit more playing time than the guy below, and while he didn't rack up as many tackles, he seemed (to my own eyes) to be a slightly more disruptive force. I can't say I know more about him than that, but as I mentioned before...I noticed Resonno more as the season wore on, and that's probably a good thing.
Dominique Hamilton (6'6, 285, Sophomore)
2008: 18 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 1 FF, 1 QB Hurry
This spring will test whether my eyes lie to me or not, as while I was more impressed with Resonno, Dominique Hamilton had slightly better stats. Hamilton's frame is a work in progress, as he was apparently close to 300 pounds when he was playing for El Paso Chapin High School before they broke him down and built him back up to 285. I would expect both Resonno and Hamilton to end up closer to 290 or 295 when their sophomore seasons begin.
If both Resonno and Hamilton show improvement in their sophomore campaigns, then the overall depth of the defensive line will manage pretty well despite the loss of three senior starters. This is what happens when your recruiting improves--depth accumulates when you're not paying attention, and you don't miss departing seniors as much as you thought you would. Cross your fingers that this is the case here.
Andy Maples (6'4, 300, Senior)
A former four-star JUCO recruit, Maples has done next to nothing in a Mizzou uniform, other than oggle Jeanne Zelasko in the background of the post-game celebration at last year's Cotton Bowl. (Seriously, start at 2:36:16 of the Hulu video...and then again at 2:37:00. His is the head right over Pinkel's shoulder. I'm probably making it up--who in the hell would oggle Jeanne Zelasko???--but hey...you just flashed back to the Cotton Bowl because of me. You're welcome.) Maples has struggled here and there with injuries, but at this point I just can't make myself expect much from him in a Tiger uniform.
Bart Coslet (6'6, 250, Junior)
2008: 2 tackles
Bart Coslet appears to be a man without a position. He's built like a defensive end but plays like a defensive tackle. He moved to DT last year but had yet to put on the weight needed to actually play there consistently. I've seen this guy on campus--he's got a gigantic frame, but we'll see if he actually can mold himself into a DT contributor, or if he's destined to be stuck in Tweener Land.
Jimmy Burge (6'2, 280, RSFr)
Turn Jaron Baston's hair blonde (and change his pigmentation), and you've got Burge, a Baston clone with huge legs who could turn into a helluva nose tackle. Burge was only a 2-star recruit out of high school, but he was offered by Mizzou very early on and chose MU over offers from Stanford, TCU, Kansas, and others. Needless to say, Mizzou has had pretty good luck with Texas sleepers here and there, and his Rivals film shows a stout run stopper who closes quickly on the ball carrier. You have to figure Resonno and Hamilton have the upper hand in the battle for '09 starter, but don't sleep on Burge.
George White (6'2, 250, RSFr)
White came to school as a 245-pound linebacker and quickly moved to defensive end, then defensive tackle, a la Lorenzo Williams. He could be a 270-pound tweener who never finds a true position, or he could emerge from his redshirt season with a transformed 290-pound body like Williams. We won't really know until we see him in the spring. Size isn't everything at D-tackle, obviously (otherwise Andy Maples would have started this year), but you do probably need to carry a pretty high minimum weight to be able to perform well in the Big 12. You hope it works out for this kid--he was directed to check out Mizzou late in the recruiting process by high school coach Tony Van Zant (yes, that TVZ) and stuck with Mizzou after having to spend a year at prep school--but...well...it doesn't work out for everybody, so we'll see.
Ty Phillips (6'3, 255, E. St. Louis, IL)
I mentioned in yesterday's defensive end preview that both of these guys here are high school DE's who will likely end up as either stout DEs or quick DTs, and given our end depth, I'm thinking they both end up at DT. Phillips is still a slight flight risk, as he's been offered by Illinois, has multiple teammates going to UI, and still might visit there, but the Offense-Defense All-American Game participant is a quick, good-looking prospect, and hopefully he chooses gold over orange.
Marvin Foster (6'2, 265, Ft. Worth, TX)
Foster is this class's Jimmy Burge, coming from well under the radar and committing to Mizzou very early on in the recruiting process. I believe he was injured his junior year, and nobody other than Mizzou paid attention to him, but if his Rivals film is any indication, I'm going to love this kid. Dude's quick. And how can you not like Beast Mode? Everybody always adopts a recruit as their favorite for no real reason each year...my no-real-reason favorite: Marvin Foster.
It does not appear that there are any other potential recruits in the woodwork for this class.
2008 vs 2009
While I'm overtly optimistic about the 2009 defensive ends, I'm only guardedly optimistic about the defensive tackles. Terrell Resonno and Dominique Hamilton prove themselves at least competent as redshirt freshmen, and they should both suffice as athletic redshirt sophomores in 2009. Plus, you've got at least one, maybe two, redshirt freshmen to throw into the mix. The job of Ziggy Replacement likely falls to either Resonno or Hamilton, but it will be fun to watch guys get their shots and try to perform against what should be pretty good opponents on the interior of the O-line. If I were rating my Spring Interest in given positions on a scale of 1 to 10, D-tackle would be at a solid 7.
2009 Mizzou DTs on the YouTubes
Jaron Baston talks to his old high school...
Jaron Baston babysits the Alamo Bowl trophy...
And because I mentioned it earlier...and because why not...it's the 2008 Cotton Bowl.