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How immediate an impact do defensive line transfers make?

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Given the Jordan Elliott news, what sort of season can Missouri expect from the Texas transfer in 2018?

TCU v Oklahoma
Missouri could do worse than to have another Aaron Curry on its hands with transfer defensive tackle Jordan Elliott.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As you well know by now, Missouri made a move to add to its 2018 defensive line by luring transfer Jordan Elliott from Texas.

The 6-foot-4, 318-pound Elliott played in six games as a true freshman for the Longhorns last season, making eight tackles and one tackle for loss. The he decided to follow former position coach Brick Haley, who recruited him as a 3-star, 5.7 Rivals Rated recruit out of Houston’s Westside High School, to Columbia.

Missouri did a ton of scaffolding work on the defensive line with its class of 2017 and, with Elliott coming on board, looks to want to continue that trend for 2018.

But, once Elliott fulfills his NCAA-mandated redshirt year and can see the field for the Tigers, what sort of production should fans be expecting from him?

We can glean some semblance of a clue if we look at the recent history of notable FBS-school-to-FBS-school defensive line transfers.

I found 18 defensive linemen who left an FBS school and restarted their careers at another one from 2014 to 2016, and all had varying success. Though, really, the outlook is a little more optimistic than pessimistic.

2016

Dewayne Hendrix, 6-4/260

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.9, No. 78 player nationally

Old School: Tennessee (2014) -- 2 tackles in seven games

New School: Pittsburgh -- Began the season as a starter but was lost for the year to injury on the third defensive series.

Impact Rating: 0; Not really his fault, but the former O’Fallon Township star and Missouri target couldn’t make a dent in his first year in the ACC and second year on campus after sitting out 2015 following the transfer.

——-

Kolin Hill, 6-2/235

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.7

Old School: Notre Dame (2014) -- 7 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks over nine games

New School: Texas Tech -- 32 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sack in 12 games, with 11 starts

Impact Rating: 5; Played on a terrible defense, but at least he was a starter? And had to sit out a year per transfer rules.

——-

Melvin Keihn, 6-1/225

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.8, No. 226 player nationally

Old School: Virginia Tech (2014) -- 2 tackles over 13 games

New School: Maryland -- 24 tackles, 2.0 TFL over 10 games

Impact Rating: 3; Had moments during his first year for the Terrapins, but never really broke through in a substantial way on a subpar defense.

——-

Ondre Pipkins, 6-3/325

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 5-star, 6.1, No. 14 player nationally

Old School: Michigan (2012-14) -- 23 tackles, 1.0 TFL over 23 games

New School: Texas Tech -- 32 tackles, 4.0 TFL in 11 games, all starts

Impact Rating: 6; Another transfer from Missouri’s footprint (Park Hill). Again, terrible defense, but was a stalwart in the middle. Gave him a little bump over Hill because, at about 100 pounds heavier, still made about the same number of plays.

——-

Jack Powers, 6-5/305

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.5

Old School: Arizona State (2013-15) -- played offensive line

New School: Virginia -- 13 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks over 12 games, with two starts

Impact Rating: 2; Didn’t do much on a bad team. Gets a little more credit, though, because he switched sides of the ball.

——-

Gimel President, 6-4/275

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.6

Old School: Auburn (2012-15) -- 45 tackles, 7.0 TFL and 3.0 sacks over 25 games, with 10 starts

New School: Illinois -- 40 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks in 12 games, with one start

Impact Rating: 7; The Illini had a bad defense, but he played well on it. Plus, he was a graduate transfer, which bumps up the impact rating a smidge.

——-

Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, 6-1/320

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: Not rated...as far as I can tell

Old School: Utah (2013-15) -- 36 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks in 25 games, with two starts

New School: USC -- 53 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 0.5 sacks over 13 games, with 12 starts

Impact Rating: 9; This is pretty much the prototype. A big guy who is eligible to stick into the middle of a defense and play immediately, who ends up being one of the more consistent players on a Rose Bowl team.

——-

Kevin Williams, 6-2/281

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.7

Old School: Nebraska (2012-15) -- 25 tackles, 7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks over 23 games, with four starts

New School: Michigan State -- 25 tackles in 12 games, with eight starts

Impact Rating: 5; Not a great defense and not a very productive season for the oft-injured graduate transfer, though he did draw starting assignments more often than not.

——-

Gerald Willis, 6-4/285

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.9, No. 83 player nationally

Old School: Florida (2014) -- 14 tackles over eight games

New School: Miami -- 19 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks over nine games

Impact Rating: 4; Never cracked the starting lineup but was a productive backup for Craig Kuligowski during his first year coaching the line at The U. And Kuligowski has a bit of a history with turning productive backups into world-beating starters…


2015

Aaron Curry, 6-2/280

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.6

Old School: Nebraska (2012-13) -- 28 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks over 17 games, with nine starts

New School: TCU (2015-16) -- 91 tackles, 13.0 TFL, 8.5 sacks over 25 games, with 21 starts

Impact Rating: 9; Elliott, a fellow Texas native, could do worse than to follow in Curry’s footsteps. He was a two-year starter and very consistent contributor after a fresh start in Fort Worth.

——-

Kylie Fitts, 6-4/265

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.9, No. 121 player nationally

Old School: UCLA (2013) -- 1 tackle, 1.0 TFL over six games

New School: Utah (2015-16) -- 45 tackles, 11.0 TFL, 8.5 sacks over 15 games, with 13 starts

Impact Rating: 8; Had a blockbuster first year for the Utes before his second was cut short after two games due to injury.

——-

James Looney, 6-3/275

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.6

Old School: Wake Forest (2013) -- 3 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks over six games

New School: California (2014-16) -- 89 tackles, 11.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks over 24 games, with 23 starts

Impact Rating: 8; Another good one, who transferred after playing sparingly his freshman year and found a more permanent home on another defense. Still has a year of eligibility to go.

——-

Brennan Scarlett, 6-4/264

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.8, No. 138 player nationally

Old School: California (2011-14) -- 54 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks over 17 games, with nine starts

New School: Stanford -- 37 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks in 14 games

Impact Rating: 8; Wasn’t a starter but might as well have been with all the production he put in for a defense that was a bit lacking by Stanford standards, but still solid. Not bad for a grad transfer.

——-

Mark Scarpinato, 6-3/285

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.5

Old School: Michigan State (2011-13) -- 15 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks over 14 games, with two starts

New School: Pittsburgh (2015) -- 6 tackles, 0.5 TFL over eight games

Impact Rating: 1; But he had retired from football for a year before deciding for one final go-round at Pitt. So I’m not certain the Panthers were expecting all that much.


2014

Jordan Allen, 6-5/263

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.9, No. 119 player nationally

Old School: LSU (2011-13) -- 17 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks over 17 games

New School: Arizona (2014) -- 2 tackles over three games, with one start

Impact Rating: 0; Left the team before the end of September.

——-

Jalen Grimble, 6-2/297

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.8

Old School: Miami (2011-12) -- 6 tackles over 15 games

New School: Oregon State (2013-15) -- 21 tackles, 2.5 TFL over 11 games, with four starts

Impact Rating: 1; Battled injuries for his whole Oregon State career.

——-

Langston Newton, 6-3/278

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 3-star, 5.6

Old School: Kentucky (2012-13) -- Did not play

New School: Purdue (2014-16) -- 7 tackles, 0.5 TFL over eight games

Impact Rating: 0; Eh.

——-

Delvon Simmons, 6-5/295

Rivals Recruiting Pedigree: 4-star, 5.9, No. 80 player nationally

Old School: Texas Tech (2011-12) -- 40 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks over 23 games, with 13 starts

New School: USC (2014-15) -- 101 tackles, 13.0 TFL, 5.0 sacks over 27 games, with 23 starts

Impact Rating: 9; Another transfer defensive tackle coming through big-time for the Trojans. Why even recruit them out of high school anymore, right?


In conclusion, look west, young men. Curry, Fitts (minus injury), Looney, Scarlett, Simmons and Tu’ikolovatu are basically best-case scenarios when you’re looking for clues as to what Elliott can become.

The thing is, your average transferring defensive linemen is a bit higher on the recruiting ladder than Elliott was. Nine of the 18 were at least four-stars on Rivals, and four were ranked in the top 100 nationally.

Elliott, with his 5.7, is more in the Hill/Williams range, guys who made only a mediocre impact on their new teams. Then again, Curry, Looney and President were all 5.6s and turned out better than average.