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2013 Mizzou Walkthrough: Old hand versus youngsters in battle for No. 4 DT

Can Marvin Foster hold off Nate Crawford and a bounty of true freshmen to keep his spot in the DT rotation?

Bill Carter

Marvin Foster

#94 | 6'1, 300, Sr. | Ft. Worth, TX

2010: 5 games, 2.0 tackles
2011: 4 games, 2.0 tackles
2012: 10 games, 4.5 tackles

The Beef: Good lord ... we are still talking about Marvin? My biggest hope for Marvin is that he gets to run out to the 50-yard line to greet his family and/or friends wearing a full uniform, symbolizing the fact that he is playing in the game that day. If he is healthy all year, that has to be worth something, regardless of his contribution to the team.

countrycal: Has the experience and size, knows what to expect, will demand some playing time in his senior year if he stays healthy. Nice to have someone like him ready to come in off the bench without worrying about him knowing what to do or how to do it.

Bill C.: As with Lucas Vincent, injuries derailed Marvin Foster's development early on, and he has struggled to make a consistent name for himself. He played some big minutes in 2010 after Dominique Hamilton's injury, but he didn't end up with much to show for it; and in recent years, he's been surpassed by younger players like Matt Hoch and Vincent. Entering his senior year, he now has to fend off more youngsters in the rotation. He is, at worst, serviceable, so if an Evan Winston or a true freshman pass him, it probably means good things. But oh, what could have been without the early injuries.

Evan Winston

#50 | 6'3, 295, RSFr. | Muskegon Heights, MI

MizzouRugby: Lots of

The Beef: Will I mind if Winston ends up passing Foster on the depth chart? As long as it means that Winston has earned it and Foster remains healthy, I really won't. That would be a nice step in the right direction.

countrycal: Great potential, great opportunity to get some playing experience and provide some depth for a part of our team that is even more important now than it was in the Big 12.

Bill C.: Mizzou has long made a habit of the Lorenzo Williams path, turning a defensive end into a defensive tackle. (Well, in Williams' case, he was first an ILB-turned-DE, then a DE-turned-DT.) This has served Pinkel and Craig Kuligowski well through the years; you want the ready-made 310-pounder with the speed of a Sheldon Richardson, but they are in short supply. Mizzou has shown it can put pretty good weight onto players like this and build around a cast of pretty quick DTs.

Harold Brantley has gotten more pub than Evan Winston among RSFr DTs, but by most accounts Winston had a solid spring. But with Pinkel and company talking up the true freshmen below him, he'll have to fight to keep his spot on the totem pole. And that's a very good thing for Missouri.

Josh Augusta

#97 | 6'4, 300, Fr. | Peoria, IL

MizzouRugby: Potential

The Beef: Glad to hear that Augusta is going to get to campus, as he was the highest rated of the line prospects. I don't feel like he has a shot to play this year, but he, Logan and Crawford represent the future.

Bill C.: At this point, I fully expect the redshirt to come off of at least one of the true freshmen; I just don't know which one. Augusta has (KNOCK ON WOOD) stayed the healthiest so far.

A.J. Logan

#75 | 6'2, 310, Fr. | Columbia, MO

MizzouRugby: Talent

Bill C.: A.J. Logan has the back story and the natural size Mizzou often lacks at this position. Hopefully he can stay healthy and build toward a long career as a road-grader.

The Beef: I love the size of Logan and his high school coach (former Mizzou and NFL player A.J. Ofodile) has spoken highly of prowess. I will be curious to see where his weight goes (down then up perhaps, though I don't know how much bad weight he really has) and how quickly he may or may not see the field in 2014 and beyond.

Nate Crawford

#87 | 6'5, 285, Fr. | Pensacola, FL

MizzouRugby: in two years

The Beef: Crawford is the first of a few from that part of the Florida, so while he has some value to that end, 2 years and 25 more pounds may prove what other value he could ultimately have for the Tigers.

Bill C.: Almost the first thing Gary Pinkel said about any of the true freshmen this August was about Nate Crawford's competitiveness. I'm pretty sure he was about 240 pounds when he committed to Mizzou, so it's exciting to see him build up so quickly and still maintain enough quickness to get into the conversation for early playing time.

And if you need an extra reason to root for Crawford to succeed, realize that Mizzou has two 2014 commits from his high school (receiver Lawrence Lee and defensive end Rocel McWilliams, each from Pensacola's West Florida Tech), which is a nice sign of an early South pipeline. With Crawford leading the way, that's a line that could pay off.

DeQuinton Osborne

#64 | 6'0, 310, Fr. | Grand Prairie, TX

Bill C.: Perhaps the most exciting thing about the four true freshmen at tackle, other than the fact that there are four of them and Pinkel has heaped praise on them, is the diversity. In Josh Augusta and Nate Crawford, you've got longer, leaner types. (Well, to the extent than a 300-pounder can be called "leaner.") In A.J. Logan, you've got the prototypical nose tackle, perhaps capable of reaching 320 or 325 once he's been stripped of bad weight and rebuilt with good weight. And in DeQuinton Osborne, you've got the human bowling ball, five inches shorter than Matt Hoch and 15 pounds bigger.

The last signee of the 2013 class, Osborne kind of landed in Mizzou's lap after the school year had ended. He was not necessarily expected to qualify, and then he did, and Mizzou was still very interested in his services. He had a nice offer list, as well.

Again, as mentioned earlier in the DT walkthrough, there are reasons to be giddy about, say, Mizzou's 2015 corps of defensive tackles. There is depth, skill, athleticism and diversity in the mix. But the question for 2013 is whether one of these youngsters, be it Winston, Augusta, Logan, Crawford, or Osborne, can force their way into the rotation alongside Harold Brantley and the upperclassmen.

The Beef: Get low, son. Get low.