Eli Drinkwitz likes his offensive linemen to be big and mean. Curtis Peagler fits both of those descriptions.
Peagler, a 3-star prospect out of Demopolis, Alabama, was the Tigers’ final commitment of the 2022 class. A classic signing day surprise, Peagler appears to be the replacement for former 4-star commitment Deshawn Woods. Woods reportedly had some qualifications concerns and ultimately decided to sign with Wyoming instead.
I’m not sure you could find two more dissimilar playing styles at offensive tackle than Woods and Peagler. Woods was your classic athletic offensive tackle who could probably transition to center if necessary. Think Mitch Morse-esque. Peagler is a mauling tackle in the mold of Larry Borom.
Peagler fits the recent criteria the Tigers have been looking for. He’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 340 pounds (!!!!), and he plays to his size. His HUDL highlights are aptly titled “pancakes for days.”
Somehow, it wasn’t his regular season film but rather his the AHSAA North-South All-Star game which helped Peagler’s recruiting status. Prior to that game his best offer was West Alabama. After it, the Tigers suddenly came into the picture for the first time.
You would think a player of his size might struggle on an island at offensive tackle in pass protection, but his highlights show a player comfortable playing in space. He moves his feet well for his size and he’s so incredibly powerful that once he gets his hands on an edge defender, the battle is over.
That won’t work every time in the SEC. Edge defenders with speed around the arc could give him trouble. But those kinds of players give everyone trouble. Peagler has only been playing offensive line for two seasons and his upside is more than worthy of a ‘take’ in this class.
Where he fits: This is an interesting question. I think Peagler has the ability to stick at offensive tackle, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if he kicks inside and ends up playing offensive guard in college. That’s just how it tends to work with his size. That said, you don’t have to go that far back to find someone with a similar profile. Larry Borom was a 6-foot-6, 335 pound offensive tackle when he arrived at Missouri in 2017. He was a fifth round pick last year by the Chicago Bears where he started eight games at tackle.
The Tigers lacked numbers on the offensive line a couple season ago. Now they’re overflowing with options.
- Tackle: Hyrin White, Javon Foster, Zeke Powell, Connor Wood, Connor Tollison, Bobby Lawrence, Valen Erickson, Curtis Peagler
- Guard: Xavier Delgado, Luke Griffin, E.J. Ndoma-Ogar, Connor Wood, Mitchell Walters, Dylan Spencer, Armond Membou, Trystan Wilson
When he’ll play: It could be a minute. White and Foster are almost certainly your starters at tackle next season. Wood and Tollison appear to be the next men up. Delgado, Wood and Griffin are the favorites to start at guard with Ndoma-Ogar as another option on the outside looking in.
I say all of that to say this - it’ll be an uphill climb for Peagler to work his way up the depth chart. That’s how it should be, especially on the offensive line. It takes a while to adjust to the speed and strength at the next level, especially in the SEC.
What it all means: The Tigers added a lottery ticket with the potential to be an overpowering offensive lineman, whether that takes place along the interior or at tackle. Peagler was an under-recruited player who the Tigers were able to land late in the process. This is the kind of player Gary Pinkel identified late in the process who ultimately helped build the program. It’s impossible to know what the future holds for Peagler, but I have a feeling he’s the type of player Mizzou fans will root for.