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Can AJ Logan fend off a freshman for a spot in the Missouri DT rotation?

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Logan is big and sturdy, but he might have work to do to stay ahead of Markell Utsey on the two-deep.

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Southeast Missouri v Missouri Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

A.J. Logan

6’2, 300, Jr.

Columbia, MO
2015: 14.0 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FF

Oscar Gamble: Logan, like Tre Williams, is a local Rock Bridge recruit who opted to play for the home-town Tigers. In his three years with Mizzou he’s primarily been a backup but he is always in the competition for a starting role and provides a stout interior presence even if he’s not a highlight machine. His high school coach, AJ Ofodile, is now a coach for the Tigers and could help push the still-young 300-pound Logan to new heights.

On a side note, I stumbled upon this video about Logan from his freshman year, and in it he talks about the challenges of his upbringing and becoming a father. I thought it was worth passing along, if only as a reminder that all these kids are balancing more than just school and athletics.

davidcmorrison: Logan has tried to fashion himself as another Lucas Vincent (what with looking up to him and taking his number and everything), and that’s not a bad role model to have.

At his best, Logan can be a Vincent type. Someone who thrives on heft and strength and, while his most utility will always be against the run, can also make a quarterback sweat with some pressure up the middle. The depth chart has been so stacked in front of him that he hasn’t gotten much of a chance to show anything yet but (kind of like the Hatley-Augusta-Beckner dynamic) he managed to hold off the more heralded Josh Moore as the Tigers’ regular fourth interior lineman last year.

That shows a trust in the coaching staff that should carry over, despite the purge.

Bill C.: Logan still has time to turn into a high-quality contributor, and he was something close to that at times last year. He obviously isn’t the most dynamic play-maker in the two-deep, but he’s big and sturdy and can occupy blockers for other play-makers. That’ll do for a fourth tackle.

Markell Utsey

6’4, 285, Fr.

Little Rock, AR

Oscar Gamble: The Little Rock defensive tackle was a late flip from Arizona just before National Signing Day but was somewhat lost in the commotion of Mizzou flipping QB Micah Wilson and RB Damarea Crockett.

Utsey may have to play some as a freshman, if only because the defensive tackle depth is shallow. Having already lost Harold Brantley and after this season seniors Rickey Hatley and Josh Augusta, it might be prudent to give Markell some playing time to get him ready for a bigger role next year.

davidcmorrison: There was, like, nothing on this guy when he committed to Missouri. Couldn’t find stats. Could only find a little video. Couldn’t find a scouting report. Could barely find his MaxPreps link.

DeMontie Cross described him thusly: “The concern for us was defensive tackle. We’re two-deep there right now, but the concern was if these guys are getting high-round grades, you never know if someone is going to leave. We wanted to make sure we had a couple guys in place. We already had two seniors there playing for us right now. We just wanted to make sure we had someone that also could come in, develop, learn and understand what those guys do and how well they’ve done it in the past. It was important to get a D-tackle and let him get in and start learning that.”

So...doesn’t exactly sound like an immediate impact player. But Cross seems to hold out hope for the future, and Utsey (barring injuries or other attrition) should have a little time to develop before Missouri asks too much of him.

Bill C.: Fall camp sentiment on Markell seems to shift by the week. He’s stood out at times, but my guess at this point is that he redshirts.

Mizzou does have a little bit of flexibility here, which should help keep Utsey’s redshirt on. If the Tigers suffer a run of injuries, he might have to play, but end Josh Moore is still big enough to perhaps take some reps on the interior if someone on the depth chart misses some time.