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It’s time to give Kobie Whiteside the credit he deserves

Kobie Whiteside is one of the most productive Mizzou interior defensive linemen of the last 20 years. It’s time for him to get the credit he deserves

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“D-Line Zou” became a slogan at Missouri because of the Tigers’ defensive ends. The defensive tackles have stolen the show the last couple seasons.

First it was Terry Beckner, Jr racking up seven sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss in 2017. He followed that up with a solid 3.5 sack, 11 tackles-for-loss performance in 2018.

Jordan Elliott and Kobie Whiteside broke through a year ago with a combined 10 sacks and 16 tackles-for-loss.

Elliott’s production made him into a top 100 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Whiteside is still waiting for the respect he ultimately deserves.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Whiteside is one of the most productive Missouri defensive tackles of the last two decades. The entire list of Mizzou defensive tackles in that stretch with at lest 7 sacks and 7 tackles-for-loss in a single season: Terry Beckner, Jr and Kobie Whiteside (per Sports Reference).

But it’s not just the flashy numbers. The advanced numbers tell the same story. This stat, from our resident numbers nerd, Nate Edwards, is just ridiculous.

“He is the only guy on the 2020 defensive roster that has a negative yardage per play average. Ideally, a player’s yards-per-play average should be as low as possible, since it determines how many yards were gained when the player made a tackle... Whiteside averaged -0.7 yards per play made in 2019, not easy to do!”

That’s insanity. No returning defensive lineman in the SEC had more sacks a year ago than Whiteside. This is one of the most productive interior disruptors in the best defensive line conference in the country.

And yet his name is a relative unknown outside of Columbia, Missouri. I have a feeling that will change after this season.