I’m someone who searches for patterns in life. We all fall into some kind of patterns, right? Maybe it’s eating the same breakfast, or having the same number of ice cubes in your drink. Whenever you do something long enough, patterns emerge.
Following those patterns can help us identify a trend. For Missouri football, that trend is finding big, strong and athletic defensive players.
Missouri has signed a dozen defensive backs over the past three recruiting classes. Every single one of them was listed at 6 feet or taller. The two (or three, depending on where Cam Dooley plays) defensive backs in this year’s class? You guessed it. Over 6 feet tall. That’s a trend we’ve known for a while. It’s held steady. Missouri likes tall, long corners.
That criteria now also applies at defensive end.
Blake Baker was hired to be Missouri’s defensive coordinator in January of 2022. The Tigers have since added six defensive ends in the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes, and every single one of them is listed at at least 6-foot-3 and weighs at least 240 pounds. That’s a whole lot of size to add to the defensive line room, my friends.
Jaylen Brown (not the Boston Celtic) is the latest defensive end to fit into this criteria. The 3-star product of James Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama (just outside of Huntsville — the hometown of Kobe Brown!) committed to the Tigers over reported offers from Houston, LSU and Maryland. Brown joins Elias Williams and Williams Nwaneri as the three edge rushers in Missouri’s 2024 class.
He joins a relatively short list of players to commit to the Tigers from the state of Alabama in the past 20 years: Curtis Peagler (2022), Kris Abrams-Draine (2020), Jamal Brooks (2017), Walter Brady (2014), and Shaun Rupert (2013).
Where he fits: Jaylen Brown is your prototypical Blake Baker defensive end. He’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. That’s before he gets into a college weight program. This is a player who started playing football just two years ago, and has since seen his star rise at a rapid rate. His reported 82-inch wingspan would be roughly the equivalent of former Georgia star defensive tackle Jordan Davis. So, yeah, he’s got the measurables you’re looking for.
P5 Sleeper College coaches y’all need to get 6-6, 240 pound DE @jaylenbrown_93 of @JCFB_Recruiting (Ala.) to camp this summer. @GrindLab @TDARecruiting @YellowhammerFB @Jdsmith31Smith @AverageJoesSpo1 @CM_gridiron pic.twitter.com/G6RyU8e1Th— DexPreps (@DexPreps) May 22, 2023
When he’ll play: This is where things get a little more tricky. Brown’s HUDL film is impressive, but it’s important to note that he’s extremely raw and needs some serious development before he’s a fully formed SEC player. I think the first opportunities for Brown will come on special teams, especially on the field goal block unit in order to get his size and length on the field to potentially bat down a kick, as he’s been known to do in high school.
#Mizzou DE commit Jaylen Brown is a fun watch. He's big (6-foot-6, 240 pounds), reportedly has an 82-inch wingspan (longer than Jordan Davis) & he's not afraid to make a big hit. pic.twitter.com/PqgSSFM76E— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) September 26, 2023
Eventually, he’ll see the field and he’ll get his opportunities. This is the kind of upside play I like to see the Tigers making at a position where they were also able to lock in a potential day one contributor in Nwaneri. Backfill the position with instant impact players, and also some long-term projects.
What it all means: The Tigers added yet another big body to the defensive end room who projects to be a potential contributor down the road. Brown’s physical presence and athletic profile make him an ideal candidate to spend some time in the strength and conditioning program for a few years while he gets the on-field reps to develop his all-around game. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, the juice is worth the squeeze. Missouri found a potential diamond in the rough. I like the upside swing on Jaylen Brown.
Here’s to hoping it goes as well on the football field at Missouri for Jaylen as it did on the Mizzou basketball court for fellow Alabama native, Kobe Brown.