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Will the defensive line transfers make a difference for Mizzou?

Blake Baker has a bolstered line with plenty of transfer additions. How much will they contribute in 2023?

Arizona State v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

As the 2023 season approaches, we’re asking our football staff to answer a series of questions facing the Mizzou Tigers. Read along to get their takes on who should start, who will shine and who will leave their mark on the season.

It would be unfair to say that Mizzou’s defensive line was ineffective in 2022. But they certainly lacked some finishing power.

Until a brief uptick at the end of the season, the defensive line spent a lot of time creating havoc without landing any decisive blows. Blake Baker saw this flaw and scoured the transfer portal for some upgrades on the ends, as well as a few on the interior. With an influx of outside talent being added to the roster, we’re wondering...

Plenty of linemen contributed in 2023, but no one, apart from Darius Robinson, played a starring role. Will the defensive line transfers make a difference for Mizzou?

Jaden Lewis, Beat Writer: The edge position is going to look a whole lot different than it did last season. DJ Coleman, Isaiah McGuire, Trajan Jeffcoat, and Arden Walker? All gone. MU did bring in Joe Moore III (Arizona State), Nyles Gaddy (Jackson State), Austin Firestone (Northwestern), and Ben Straatmann (Missouri S&T). If I had to pick who I think will be the biggest difference maker out of these transfers, I would have to go with Moore based on not only the fact that he’s had the most FBS playing experience among all of these transfers, but he’s also received praised from both his teammates and his head coach. I also expect Gaddy to contribute and rotate among the defensive line. He was a key contributor for the SWAC’s best defense last season and actually has the most playing experience and production out of the four players mentioned.

Quentin Corpuel, Staff Writer: I think Gaddy and Straatman can certainly be impactful, but I’m unsure to what extent. We’re not looking at a Jared Verse-esque situation where they annihilated FCS offenses en route to a jump up to FBS I-A football; then again, that’s a difficult and probably unfair standard to have for Gaddy and Straatman. The goal will likely be for them to become meaningful parts of the d-line rotation.

I’ll agree with Jaden in that Moore III will be the most impactful transfer, in large part because of all the positive things that’ve come out about him during fall camp. The Isaiah McGuire-sized hole on the edge is going to be tough to fill, but if any of the transfers can fill it, I’d pick the hometown hero.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 Northern Arizona at Arizona State Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Matejka, Deputy Site Manager: I, too, wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Moore III ended up having the biggest statistical impact on the Mizzou pass rush this season. But I think the novelty factor of Nyles Gaddy’s emergence on the scene will cause some teams problems early on. Gaddy is an impact defender with experience playing for a winning program and there won’t be quite as much tape on him as some of MIzzou’s other ends. I’d anticipate a handful of big moments from him in the early part of the season, with the hope that he’s able to keep it up once defenses catch on to what he’s doing.