It’s been quiet on the Mizzou football recruiting front. Some would say too quiet. That all changed on Wednesday night.
ElI Drinkwitz sent out the “Bat Signal” Tweet signaling a new commitment, but there was a twist - this was a 2023 commit. Suddenly there was another commit, this time for a commit that would join the team for the 2022 season.
We now know that commit is former Jacksonville State edge rusher/linebacker/defensive end DJ Coleman.
This is a big pickup, and one that comes as a bit of a surprise. The Athletic ranked DJ Coleman as the seventh best prospect currently available. He’s considered to be an instant impact player. He should factor into the defensive end rotation from day one.
From The Athletic: “The 6-foot-6, 245-pound edge defender had a very productive four-year career with the Gamecocks, earning all-conference honors in each of the last three seasons and producing 179 tackles, 30.5 TFLs and 18 sacks. Coleman was a second-team FCS All-American in the 2021 spring season and has logged 35 career starts, most of them coming in a hybrid “Bandit” role as a stand-up end/linebacker. He’s picked up Power 5 offers from Georgia Tech, Baylor, Missouri, Kansas and Duke so far and has visited Miami and Marshall.”
Where he fits: This appears to be an open-ended question. His position at Jacksonville State can best be described as an “overhang.” He played the role of a defensive end, linebacker or slot(ish) defender depending on the offense’s personnel. He’s listed at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds, so that certainly profiles as a defensive end in Missouri’s system. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone if we see Coleman drop into coverage of line up as a “SAM” linebacker at times, too.
It will be interesting to see where he fits into the rotation. Missouri has Trajan Jeffcoat, Isaiah McGuire and Tyrone Hopper as the clear top three current edge rushers on the defense. Johnny Walker Jr., Jonathan Jones, Travion Ford, Arden Walker and DJ Wesolak seemed to be battling for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. I would imagine Coleman slots in as that third edge rusher behind Jeffcoat and McGuire. He could also spend some time as a third linebacker (if Missouri uses one) this year alongside Chad Bailey and Ty’Ron Hopper.
When he’ll play: Moral of the story: Coleman is coming to play, and play right away. The expectation is he has one year left of college eligibility. He’s not coming to Mizzou to sit on the bench. He’s coming to prove he can produce at the SEC level. After watching his games against Florida State, Davidson and Sam Houston State, I think it’s at least an open-ended question as to whether or not that will happen.
Coleman comes with a lot of hype, but I don’t want to overstate the kind of player Missouri is adding. He finished the 2021 season with just three sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss against a vastly different level of competition than what he’ll see at Mizzou. Most of Coleman’s production came in the 2020 “spring” season when he racked up nine sacks, most of which came against the likes of North Alabama, Tennessee State, SEMO and Murray State.
What it all means: Missouri added a player who will likely factor into the rotation at defensive end. This is in a similar vein to the addition Eli Drinkwitz and his staff made in Tyrone Hopper. Hopper and Coleman are really solid insurance at the position in case the young edge rushers aren’t ready to make an impact just yet.