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Rickey Hatley might be the most underrated player on the Missouri roster

You need someone to do the grunt work so stars can be stars. He relishes the grunt work.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Rickey Hatley

6’4, 285, Sr.

Atlanta, TX
2015: 18.0 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1 sack
2014: 9.0 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF

Oscar Gamble: I have been low-key been talking up Rickey Hatley for a couple years, but it’s easy to see why he is overlooked. I like his positional flexibility. He’s the sort of defensive lineman who can switch between a 3-technique tackle and a 5-technique end, which makes him valuable for a defense that wants to present multiple fronts.

He’s not flashy, and he wasn’t a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school. He is simply solid and will be a key contributor for Mizzou this year, just as he has been the past two years. He may be destined for a Lucas Vincent-like career. Also: I’m pretty sure Hatley is over 300 pounds now (source: him).

Working to get that #DLineZou #SEC @rickey_hatley

A video posted by Neal Renna (@coach_renna) on

davidcmorrison: Over the past couple of seasons, Hatley’s always kind of been the guy who hangs around near the top of the depth chart and fans say “oh, he’s only up there because the coaches are trying to send <insert name of player who is more popular on the message boards> a lesson.”

But then he stays there. And plays just as much, if not more, than aforementioned player who’s a First-Team Message Board All-American.

That’s because Hatley is very sound in everything that he does. Very consistent. He doesn’t make many highlight reel plays because that’s not what Missouri’s defense asks of him. The Tigers ask him to do grunt work and play assignment ball, and (dare I say) he may be just about the best on the defense when it comes to that.

You need a Rickey Hatley doing the downlow stuff every snap so the Josh Augustas and Terry Beckners and Charles Harris(es?) can make the stuff that shows up on the replays.

Plus, he can play a little gigantic end for you if you really need him there. Ask Brandon Allen about that.

Pboggs: Hatley is another by product of coach Kool. Overlooked and underrated for his potential coming out of high school, but now shows what he is capable of. He is a solid contributor to the defensive line, and gives good depth when the highlight reel players are tired. He has good experience and should help show younger players what D-Line U is all about.

Bill C.: I almost called him a glue guy, but that feels a bit like a backhanded compliment. David’s right -- the dude does exactly what he’s asked to do and frees up other guys to make plays. He also made 4.5 tackles for loss and does this sometimes. That’s more than glue.

Honestly, Hatley is probably the most underrated player on the roster. I find myself feeling the same things about him that I felt about Michael Sam heading into 2013 — he was easy to forget and vital to Mizzou’s success.

Hmm. So uh, you heard it here first then. Rickey Hatley: SEC defensive player of the year.