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Walter Brady leads three young Mizzou defensive ends in the battle for playing time

Walter Brady (6'3, 255, RSFr.)

Fullback U: Walter Brady couldn't even practice with Mizzou until January due to an eligibility issue but assumed the starting job at the open of fall camp. He's a stout guy who looks like he's more suited to holding the edge than chasing down a QB. He's now in a battle for the job with Marcell Frazier for the LDE position opposite Charles Harris, where he'll look to replicate the role and production of Markus Golden and Kony Ealy.

The Beef: Walter Brady is such a strange and totally Gary Pinkel recruiting story, so it only makes sense that he end up having a big impact on this team and play well. He has a battle on his hands for that number one spot, mostly with JUCO transfer Marcell Frazier. But given what Brady went through last year, with his eligibility issues and how he persevered through it, I like his chances to see a lot of playing time.

AlaTiger: It’s impressive how he zoomed to the front of the pack for the other end spot after only playing spring ball. He clearly has a lot of ability and perseverance. It seems likely he’ll be in the rotation at least come September.

jaeger: After Harris, there is a lot of mystery at the DE position, so this goes for pretty much all the rest of them: I don’t know who will step up -- and I don’t think we’ll see quite the level of DE play we’ve had the last couple years -- but I expect the coaching staff to locate/manufacture enough performance at the position to keep it from being a liability.

Bill C.: Brady hasn't had the best performances in the first couple of scrimmages, and it appears that this has allowed Marcell Frazier to eke ahead of him in the starting battle. But he's going to play, and even if it takes him a while to turn potential into production -- it might take some time (as it did for Charles Harris last year) for him to hone his instincts and find the ability to truly move at full-speed in real games -- he proved his potential in the spring.

Spencer Williams (6'3, 245, RSFr.)

The Beef: The bigger of the two Williams’ish people on the defensive edge, I would hope to see Spencer getting some snaps in the same way that Charles Harris got them last year -- maybe not too many to start the season, but as it moves on, he ends up playing a noticeable percentage.

Of course, with Harris only a sophomore in front of him, Williams will likely still have some battles in the years to come for considerable playing time, but he may as well start making a contribution this year.

AlaTiger: Harris can’t play every snap. Someone will earn the remainder.

Fullback U: Currently the backup to Charles Harris, Spencer Williams, wearing lucky #13, is another young guy who'll be asked to spell out at the LDE position.

Bill C.: Williams got my attention at the first scrimmage by simply making himself really tall. He batted down two passes while in pursuit of the quarterback. That's one of the most underrated skills a defensive lineman can have. Being a good pass-defending defensive end requires you to both pursue the quarterback well and understand when you aren't going to get there. If you can't get there, make yourself big, get your hands up, and turn into a shot blocker. To succeed, Williams will have to do more than block shots, but that's a pretty good first impression to make.

Rocel McWilliams (6'2, 240, RSFr.)

The Beef: I really did not realize how many folks we had coming to us from Pensacola. I love that part of the country (along with Orange Beach and Gulf Shores). As for McWilliams it, looks like he has some work to do, as he started the fall behind both Williams and Harris on one edge.

AlaTiger: It will be interesting to see if McWilliams can make it into the rotation at end. He’s starting at the back of the pack of a ridiculously young position group though.

Fullback U: I heard a coach call Rocel McWilliams' "Rock McWilliams" and I think I'm just going to stick with that nickname until proven otherwise. He's bigger than I thought he'd look when I saw he was listed at 240 and longer than I expected for 6'2. Both are good things for a guy backing up Charles Harris at the RDE position. I think he plays a bit high coming off the edge and needs to work on keeping that low center of gravity when rushing the passer.

Bill C.: It seemed as if McWilliams was able to make the best impression of these three last fall camp (and no, Brady didn't have a chance to make any impression), but perhaps it's technique issues that have begun to hold him back a bit. He's got plenty of time to find his way -- he's only a redshirt freshman, after all -- but it has to feel like a bit of a missed opportunity for him if he doesn't carve out some playing time on such a young depth chart.