#DLineZou landed another prospect with the late night commitment of Fayetteville defensive tackle Akial Byers. Byers visited Columbia this past weekend for the Tigers’ Black and Gold Spring and appeared to really enjoy his time.
A 6′ 4″, 260 pound defensive tackle, Akial (pronounced uh-KEEL) is rated a 4-star by ESPN and a 3-star by both 247sports and Rivals. Per 247sports, he becomes Missouri’s highest rated commit, moving the 2017 class rank from 47th to 42nd. The Fayetteville product originally chose Alabama over offers from Ohio State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Oklahoma. At the time of his Bama commitment he was rated as the nation’s No. 13 defensive tackle and the No. 2 overall prospect in the state of Arkansas.
That makes several top Arkansas recruits Barry Odom has convinced to cross the “Battle Line”, including RB Damarea Crockett and DT Markell Utsey as well as QB Taylor Powell this year.
In Barry Odom's first class, Missouri flipped Micah Wilson and Damarea Crockett from Boise St. This year it's Taylor Powell and Akial Byers.— Oscar Gamble (@OscarGambler) April 20, 2017
It had been reported that Byers would need to improve his ACT score and had signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C. on signing day. Rumors recently started circulating he’d improved his grades so we’re still working to clarify. If Byers can clear up his eligibility questions, he has a chance to compete for playing time right away.
Missouri currently has only three non-JUCO defensive lineman on campus: senior AJ Logan, junior Terry Beckner and sophomore Markell Utsey—the last two are coming off knee injuries but reportedly should be good to go this fall. Missouri landed the commitment of two 2017 defensive tackles in Kobie Whiteside and Caleb Sampson this past signing class.
Additionally, Missouri has JUCO DT Rashad Brandon, who’s earned high praise through spring practices, already on campus and expects JUCO DTs Walter Palmore and Malik Young to arrive this summer. Byers’ commitment would currently put Missouri at 86 scholarships, one over the cap.
Byers is a penetrating 3-technique tackle with good burst and hip-flexibility, allowing him to move around from DT to DE in some alignments. In the film below he pursues to the ball with either a bull rush or a swim move and once he’s past the line of scrimmage, shows an awareness for identifying the ball-carrier quickly. He’s an exciting prospect for Missouri fans used to aggressive pass rushers.
Welcome to the Zou, Akial!