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2015 Missouri recruiting recap: The front seven reloads, retools its personality

Missouri's defensive front seven will take on a different personality in 2015, not only because of the loss of Shane Ray and Markus Golden, but also because of the change in defensive coordinator from Dave Steckel to Barry Odom. How might the 2015 #DLineZou signees impact what Odom wants to do defensively?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A recruiting cycle unfolds however it unfolds. Early on, Mizzou loaded up on offense, securing commitments from a host of running backs and receivers (and, technically, potential DBs). Despite the growing #DLineZou rep, Mizzou didn't actually have any defensive line commits until December and didn't have any high school commits until January. But they flowed in at the end, didn't they?

Terry Beckner Jr.

The Trib: Top prospect Terry Beckner chooses Mizzou
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Projecting Terry Beckner Jr.
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: DT Terry Beckner Jr.
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): More from the Terry Beckner Jr. announcement
The Trib: Coaches confident Beckner, others will qualify
Fox Sports MW: Mizzou beckons, Terry Beckner Jr. responds: Coveted recruit is a Tiger
The Missourian: Soft-spoken top recruit Terry Beckner Jr. picks Missouri football
PMTV: Beckner Jr. talks commitment - Video
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou wins battle for Beckner
Post-Dispatch (Gordon): Quiet Beckner will make big noise at Mizzou

This was great for him, given the school's track record for producing NFL-caliber linemen.

This was great for his family, since he will be playing home games about 2 hours down Interstate 70.

This was great for Mizzou, which scored a rare five-star signing and maybe, just maybe, reopened the talent pipeline to the talent-rich Flyers program. A lot of folks at that school seemed very, very happy with the Tigers on Wednesday.

For Mizzou, a player of this magnitude is a tremendous get. Great prospects want to play with other great prospects and this signing could help the Tigers all around the country, not just in East St. Louis.

Marcell Frazier

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: DE Marcell Frazier

Where Does He Fit?: Frazier is a former defensive end/tight end prospect from Oregon who signed with UNLV out of high school but didn’t qualify. So then he tried one junior college in Iowa but got cut and sat out a year. He got another chance at Siskiyous -- which had recruited him out of high school -- and made the most of it. He’s got three years to play three, so there’s no time to wait. And, with the Tigers needing immediate depth behind Marcus Loud and Charles Harris, they’ll probably put him to work early.

Nate Howard

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: DE Nate Howard - Coaches on the Class

"Nate was one that we had to try to get back. I think sometimes our process is a little slower than others and he had already made a commitment to Wisconsin. It was uphill, but again, I thought the product that we have, that we're selling, that it is here, is attractive. Again, if you're playing defensive line at his position and what we do and what other schools that he was looking at and all the other programs, man, you can't have a better situation 90 minutes down the road. It's a perfect fit and Nasty Nate is perfect for what we do."

Josh Moore

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: DL Josh Moore
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou Announces 2015 Signing Class

A dynamic two-way player in high school, his big frame along with his pure athletic ability and great lower body strength is what caught the attention of the Mizzou coaches … An All-State selection each of his last two years, he had 530 receiving yards and four touchdowns as a senior, after grabbing five touchdowns and 600 receiving yards during his junior season of 2013 … A three-star recruit by Rivals, ESPN and 247Sports, he ranked as high as the No. 3 prospect coming out of Kansas this season, doing so in the ESPN rankings … Is the fifth-best prospect in Kansas according to 247Sports and the sixth-best according to Rivals … Was a two-way star at Olathe North, also playing tight end …  A three-star recruit by, which ranks him as the 16th-best tight end nationally … Also has been a standout basketball player for Olathe North, lettering four years on the hardwood

Tyrell Jacobs

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: DT Tyrell Jacobs

In His Coach’s Words: "He's a big body, long arms. Plus he's such a hustler. He can run. A lot of times, you have a defensive tackle that's just stuck on the interior of the line and, once a play moves from side to side, they don't go over there. He's going to run people down and make tackles downfield. He can move for a big kid." -- Jay Roth, Archbishop Rummel

Terez Hall

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: LB Terez Hall
PowerMizzou: Hall picks Mizzou

The late interest in Hall stemmed from the release of his senior film, Kashama said.

"He didn't get much playing time last year," his coach said. "He kind of went off the radar for some people, and they didn't know about him. But we moved him to linebacker, and that was a better fit for him. With his speed and explosiveness at linebacker, it really showed what he has."

His positive attributes extend off the field, however.

"He has the best character in the building," Kashama said. "He's truly a student-athlete, and he does everything you request of him, leading-wise.

"He's a guy that others look up to and he guides these guys. When you see his film, you see what a special kind of guy he is. I wish I had him for one more year."

Franklin Agbasimere

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): MISSOURI SIGNEE: LB Franklin Agbasimere
The Missourian: Franklin Agbasimere's journey to Missouri football started in Nigeria

Agbasimere had never played a down, but he quickly caught up to the other players on the team. His hard work was as much a part of that, Treweek said, as his athletic ability. Treweek said his first year of playing was definitely his learning year, but by his second year he got a hold of the game. Agbasimere’s teammates recognized his hard-hitting and fast play in practice and nicknamed him "Smash."

"He wasn’t holding back, ya know? He was playing faster than everyone on the field," Treweek said. "Once he got it figured out, he knew where he was going, and he wasn’t thinking so much. He was just playing. It just really started to show."

No, highlight film doesn't automatically translate to college success. But quick: tell me whose highlights (defensive players only) you've seen that were more fun/exciting/explosive than Terez Hall's.

The Beef: I don’t typically watch a ton of highlight film (as in, I don’t seek it out, but will watch a little if the link is put right in front of me). I don’t remember seeing anything like Hall’s. Yes, it is a highlight film which you cut and edit, so of course it is going to look good. But the speed at which he plays, the angles which he employs and the finishing ability is REALLY impressive. Certainly not saying he makes the field this year (though…good lord…what does that kid do if placed on special teams as a true frosh?), but the future is bright I feel.

dcrockett17: I haven't watched Hall's highlights yet. But I will remind everyone that Tavon Ross' highlights were pretty bloody magnificent.

AlaTiger: It was fun to watch. It held my attention a lot longer than the typical highlight video, which I’ll typically pause before the halfway point.

Fullback U: Terez Hall's film was pretty impressive. To me he looks like the kind of attacking OLB that Mizzou and Barry Odom will really enjoy using to apply pressure to opposing quarterbacks.

I think the coaches have already told Hall he'd start on special teams and will be groomed for early playing time.

Bill C.: His film is certainly 'Spoonish in its explosiveness, and as with Tavon Ross, it sets the bar pretty high considering we've never actually seen him play a down of college ball yet.

Hall's commitment actually completed a second layer of exciting young guys at linebacker -- the Tigers get Mike Scherer, Kentrell Brothers, and Donavin Newsom/Clarence Green back in tact for another season (and Scherer and Newsom will again be back in 2016), but now there's a glut of explosive, hard-hitting guys to fight it out for jobs in 2016 and beyond: Eric Beisel and Joey Burkett will be just sophomores in 2015, four-star Brandon Lee, Grant Jones, and Roderick Winters will be redshirt freshmen, and now Hall and Agbasimere will be true freshmen. That's seven guys fighting for one starting job in 2016 and three in 2017. Odds are pretty good that three strong ones will emerge.

Barry Odom said last week that he basically plans to operate out of a 4-3 structure, but with pieces of 3-4 flair. What do you figure that means for Beckner? Assuming he is ready to play in 2015, do you think he gets time at DE at all? Does he basically just start as a backup to Brantley/Augusta in the middle?

The Beef: This part is a little interesting to me. Based on the depth chart, we lost both DT’s (Hoch and Vincent) and return both NG’s (Brantley and Augusta). I think, as fans, we’ve felt those four to be somewhat interchangeable (and perhaps they are), but it is important on some level, then I am intrigued to see if Brantley is moved over so he is a starter alongside Augusta (as I suppose I assume they will be). Anyway, where does Beckner factor in? Where are people like Evan Winston, AJ Logan and Ricky Hatley (who has moved between DE and DT)? I think it is likely Beckner sees the field this year, but I don’t think his seeing the field will be based on a particular look.

As for a 3-4 flair, Augusta in the middle with Beckner and Brantley on each side with Scherer and Beisel in the middle and Harris and maybe Brothers (because of his speed) on the edges? Oy.

dcrockett17: I think he sees minutes at both NG and 3-tech, then at DE when they show a 3-4 look.

AlaTiger: You’ve got to figure Augusta at the nose (given his size) and Brantley at the 3-Tech NT. Beckner will probably back them both up but be listed at the NT. Depending on how rapidly Beckner adapts, you could see all three of them on the field at once in a 3-4, especially as DT/LB looking to be the strength of the defense with DE down a notch.

Fullback U: Beckner will be a starter from day one and will line up as primarily as a 3 technique lined up beside him at the 1 technique will either be Harold Brantley or Josh Augusta. The DEs will be Charles Harris on the strong side and Marcell Fazier at the WDE. When Mizzou wants to mix things up or on obvious passing downs like 3rd and long we'll see Josh Augusta at the NT, Terry Beckner Jr at the SDE and Harris at the WDE.

Mizzou will have a host of players who can be brought on the blitz from either formation, starting with Donavin Newsom who I think Barry Odom will use even more than departed DC Dave Steckel. I think Nate Howard/Terez Hall will also be playing the OLB/DE hybrid pass rusher out of a 3-4 look.

Bill C.: I do figure Odom is going to find a set of personnel quite amenable to 3-4 looks when he chooses to unleash them. Beckner and Brantley could both do a little bit of work as 3-4 ends (with 330-pound Josh Augusta serving as the Mount Cody-style NG), and guys like Frazier, Howard, and of course Hall and Agbasimere could be athletic enough to do damage as OLBs. Odom could move from three down linemen to four from play to play without really changing the personnel on the field. That's exciting.

That said, yeah, I figure Beckner's the top backup tackle to start the year. I really like Brantley, and I think Augusta is more than ready for a larger role. I'm more concerned than some about the defensive end position this year -- Craig Kuligowski will milk solid production from Charles Harris, Marcus Loud, Rickey Hatley, and the redshirt freshmen, but "solid" still isn't "spectacular." And Mizzou's ends have been spectacular the last two years.

If you had to ever lose Steckel, though, now's not the worst time to do it. Odom is young and creative, and if the personality of the defense was going to change anyway, changing DCs as well might not be awful. It will just be interesting to see how Odom uses certain pieces (like Newsom, as mentioned above) to make up for the drop-off in DE production.

Were you as excited as I was to see Marcell Frazier listed at 6'5, 265 instead of the 245 his recruiting profile listed? And how sad is it that our happiness is tied to listed heights and weights?

The Beef: That is exciting and that is sad. We are who we are.

AlaTiger:  I didn’t notice, and I’m not judging. Do what you do.

Fullback U: I think I'd be more excited to see those measurements being made in person so I knew I could trust them. Just today we're seeing stories about how Shane Ray may be as "small" as 6'1" and despite the fact that there has been a host of players, Dwight Freeney to Von Miller, who've demonstrated that's an acceptable size, it is an understandable concern for a player to hold up against jumbo packages running right at him.

I think there is something to be said that Fazier looked at Mizzou and thought "they can get me into the league" and with his size we could be looking at a Kony Ealy/Markus Golden style player.

Bill C.: We do what we do.