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Mizzou football transfer portal “wish list”

With the portal having been open for over a week, a handful of talented players remain uncommitted. Here are a few that could make MU’s holiday a little happier.

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A couple of weeks ago, Rock M’s Parker Gillam took you all window shopping to see what transfers Mizzou could potentially target this offseason.

Since then, the portal officially opened, and the hoopla of the holiday season has certainly carried over into college football. Since the portal opened on Dec. 4, a handful of big names have already switched schools. Mizzou has already made a few splashes, landing Georgia State running back Marcus Carroll and Clemson cornerback Toriano Pride, both of whom were top players at their position in the portal.

However, the Tigers are far from done. Besides, Xmas isn’t for another 10+ days. There’s still a ton of talent in the portal, and with Mizzou set to lose several key contributors over the offseason, it’d be foolish to think Eli Drinkwitz & Co. are done shopping.

In a perfect world, Mizzou would land Walter Nolen, Trevor Etienne and Trey Moore, jolly holiday music would play and everyone in Columbia would be happy. Unfortunately, for all the cheerful endings you see in holiday movies, the above scenario likely won’t happen. However, Mizzou can still have a wildly successful endeavor into the portal just like they did last season.

Let’s get into the holiday spirit and make ourselves a wish list!

Aeneas Peebles I Defensive tackle I Duke

NCAA Football: Duke at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

There’ve been several parts that’ve made Mizzou’s defense a nationally vaunted unit over the past couple of seasons. One of them was not just the talent on the interior defensive line, but the depth as well.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, their IDL depth is set to take a massive hit this offseason. Realus George Jr., Jayden Jernigan, Josh Landry and Kristian Williams all likely won’t be back next season. While Williams Nwaneri will likely contribute immediately as a freshman next season, losing four defensive tackles that all contributed heavily to defensive success is a big deal. Adding a veteran defensive tackle in the portal would help out a lot.

Enter Aeneas Peebles. The Raleigh, NC native spent the past four seasons at Duke, where he registered 84 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Last season was his best yet, as he tallied 40 tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

If you’d like to learn a little more about Peebles, here’s an awesome feature from Jim Sumner of GoDuke the Magazine on his family’s decorated sports background, his journey to Duke and much more.

Since Peebles entered the portal on Nov. 27, several teams have vied for his services. According to On3, Peebles was been contacted by Miami (FL), North Carolina and NC State. His official visit list includes Louisville, Penn State, SMU and Virginia Tech. However, Mizzou certainly seems to be one of the leading contenders, as Peebles visited Columbia this past Saturday.

Chidozie Nwankwo I Defensive tackle I Houston

NCAA Football: Texas at Houston Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Two defensive tackles on the wish list? Yes, two defensive tackles on the wish list. I could copy and paste the opening few sentences from the Peebles section here. The combination of depth and talent at defensive tackle has done wonders for Mizzou’s defense over the past couple of seasons, and with that depth departing over the offseason, replacing it will be paramount.

Nwankwo isn’t as statistically decorated as Peebles, but was still very impactful for Houston over the past four seasons, as he contributed 94 tackles 11 TFL’s and three sacks. In 2020, Nwankwo became the first true freshman defensive lineman to start for the Cougars since Ed Oliver.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of clips that show Nwankwo beating double teams. For your reading pleasure, here’s a preseason feature from the Houston Chronicle’s Joseph Duarte on Nwankwo’s journey to becoming the “ringleader” of UH’s defensive line.

Along with Mizzou, Nwankwo has reportedly received interest from Baylor, Colorado, Maryland, Memphis, SMU, Texas Tech and Utah State.

Nyland Green I Cornerback I Georgia

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Sticking with the defensive side of the ball, Mizzou is set to lose Kris Abrams-Draine to the NFL Draft where, at this point in the cycle, he appears to have a Round 2-3 grade. It’s still unknown whether Ennis Rakestraw will return for another season, but he absolutely has the talent to declare for the 2024 draft.

Thankfully, Mizzou already scored a huge commitment from former Clemson cornerback and St. Louis native Toriano Pride not too long ago. However, adding another CB wouldn’t hurt, especially considering how much of Mizzou had to dip into their depth as a result of injuries.

At Georgia, Green fell victim to a crowded and talented defensive back room. Kamari Lassiter and Daylen Everette started every game at cornerback this season, and Julian Humphrey saw fairly substantial playing time as well. Combined with a handful of elite cornerback recruits bound for Athens (including Ellis Robinson, the top-ranked corner in the 2024 class), it was probably smart for Green to seek greener pastures.

Green was a five-star prospect coming out of high school and reportedly has interest from Arkansas, North Carolina and UCF. There’s certainly still a lot of juice left in Green’s tank, and it would likely benefit Mizzou’s CB room that could lose its top two players this offseason.

Makylan Pounders I Offensive tackle I Memphis

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While Mizzou’s offensive line will likely return three starters from this season (Armand Membou, Cam’Ron Johnson, Connor Tollison) as well as add highly-touted tackle Logan Reichert, Brandon Jones’ unit will still see three major departures. Xavier Delgado, Javon Foster and Marcellus Johnson will be gone, so finding another quality starter would suit Mizzou well.

Pounders certainly fits the description. He allowed just one sack this past season in 400 snaps according to Pro Football Focus. His experience could help offset potential freshman struggles from Reichert.

He currently has a scheduled visit to Mizzou on Jan. 5. He’s already visited Auburn and is planning on visiting Mississippi State.

Honorable mentions

Trevor Etienne I Running back I Florida

This right here is the big ticket item, the XBOX/PlayStation of the holiday list. With Drinkwitz’s tendency to roll with one running back throughout an entire season (Rountree in’20, Badie in ‘21 and Schrader in ‘23) coupled Marcus Carroll’s commitment, it might seem like adding another running back in the portal would be unnecessary. However, Etienne is talented enough to where a committee featuring him and Carroll could be extremely dangerous.

Unfortunately, Georgia appears to be the heavy favorite to land the former Florida star running back. Mizzou would need a Xmas miracle at this point to land Etienne.

Monroe Mills I Offensive tackle I Texas Tech

On3’s 14th ranked offensive tackle in the portal, Mills is a Columbia native, and he played his high school ball at Father Tolton. As a three-star recruit, Mizzou offered him along with several other Power 5 programs, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas and Rutgers.

After transferring to TTU from Oklahoma State two seasons ago, Mills has started at left tackle for the Red Raiders since he arrived in Lubbock.

Pete Nygra I Center I Northern Illinois

Like Marcellus Johnson, Nygra was a standout interior offensive lineman for a MAC school that could certainly make an impact at a Power 5. He allowed just one quarterback hit and didn’t allow a sack in 328 pass blocking reps last season.