Missouri sophomore linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper announced that he will be returning to Columbia in 2023 on Tuesday.
After transferring from Florida last off-season, Hopper ranked second on the team in total tackles and tackles for loss with 77 and 13.5 respectively in 2022.
His coming out party came in the first game of the season against Louisiana Tech, where he registered six tackles and two tackles for loss. Arguably his best game of the season, however, came in the regular season finale. He tallied 11 tackles and two tackles for loss in the win over Arkansas.
From the start of this season, Hopper emerged as an elite SEC linebacker with great sideline-to-sideline coverage ability. The amount of times he burst through the offensive line or chased down a RB/WR for a tackle is hard to count, and his tendency to create negative plays made him a fan-favorite in year one. Blake Baker and the rest of the staff knew what Hopper was capable of in the off-season, but even they were surprised with his production in 2022.
Hopper returns as one of the leaders of this defense, looking to make his mark in Columbia before he departs for the NFL, where he figures to be a top 2-3 round pick in the future.
He will be charged with leading the linebacking corps alongside fellow veteran Chad Bailey next season. Dameon Wilson and Will Norris figure to provide depth behind them with the departures of Devin Nicholson and Zachary Lovett to the transfer portal.
It goes without saying that this is major news for the Tigers in 2023, and we can expect to see Hopper on plenty of preseason All-SEC teams when next August rolls around.
With Ennis Rakestraw, Kris Abrams-Draine, Jayden Jernigan, Darius Robinson, Jaylon Carlies, Realus George, Bailey and now Hopper all opting to return, this Tiger defense has the potential to be even better next season.