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Recruiting Reset: D-Line Zou is getting some reinforcements

Three-star defensive tackle Montra Edwards adds a much-needed infusion of youth into an aging core of defensive tackles.

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

D-Line Zou is bringing in some reinforcements. The Tigers became known for their defensive line under Craig Kuligowski. Barry Odom is hoping to bring that swagger back to the defensive line unit, adding another key cog on Tuesday by way of Montra Edwards.

Edwards is a 3-star defensive tackle out of Lexington, Mississippi. He’s a big dude with a whole lot of production to his name. According to Edwards’ HUDL profile, the 290-pound defensive tackle racked up more than 100 tackles, including 25 tackles for loss and 13 sacks as a junior. His film shows a player capable of overpowering offensive linemen at the high school level. He seems to have an impressive ability to disengage with blockers at the point of attack, allowing him to flow down the line to make a play at or behind the line of scrimmage. He also seems to have a frame capable of putting on some more weight as he gets into Mizzou’s strength & conditioning program. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s well over 300 pounds by the time he leaves Mizzou.

Edwards is the 14th known overall commitment for Mizzou in the 2020 class and the Tigers’ fourth known defensive line commit.

Where he fits: Edwards projects to play inside along the defensive line at Mizzou. In fact, he very well may project to play at nose tackle one day. His highlights show an impressive ability to plug the middle by taking on and shedding blockers with good hand use and a strong anchor.

When he’ll play: Mizzou doesn’t have much of an immediate need along the interior of the defensive line. The top six players listed on the depth chart at defensive tackle are all juniors, and most project to be back in 2020. The only exception could be Jordan Elliott if he has the season many believe he’s capable of having.

The opportunity opens up starting in 2021. Barry Odom was in a tough spot when he first arrived in Columbia with both starting and depth issues along the defensive line. His solution - and it worked - was to load up with defensive tackles in the 2017 class. He found junior college players like Walter Palmore and Rashad Brandon who could come in right away and play, while also landing high school commitments from Kobie Whiteside and Akial Byers.

Edwards is the first high school defensive tackle commit since Whiteside and Byers, so the path to play immediately may not be self-evident. But the need for youth and depth at the position couldn’t be more obvious.

What it all means: Missouri could still use another high school defensive tackle commitment in this class, but Edwards is a good start. He’ll get a year of development in the system next year while the 2020 seniors hold it down. We should expect to see Edwards on the field for the Tigers in 2021.

Edwards fills an obvious need. Defensive tackle has been a relative strength for the defense over the last couple years, but that could be coming to an end soon without much-needed reinforcements. Edwards is a nice start to what should be another youth movement along the interior defensive line.