You can read the offensive version of this article here. As in, the version of this break down about the offense, not a version of this article with racial slurs and f-bombs.
Despite the herculean recruiting efforts of Eli Drinkwitz’s staff and a hyper-active transfer portal, there are still players on the Missouri roster that were offered a scholarship under the Odom regime. And not only are they still around but a good chunk of them are projected to be major contributors on the 2023 team.
Now, yes, each player had to weigh his options and choose to stay on the team after the regime change, and, yes, the Drinkwitz staff had to choose to keep them on the team and blah blah blah...point is, I’m classifying any player who committed to Mizzou and earned their scholarship before November 30th, 2019 as an Odom guy and anyone who earned their scholarship after that date as a Drinkwitz guy. Cool?
With that bifurcation of the roster established, we’re going to review the defensive holdovers on Drinkwitz’s Missouri team that were recruited by Odom:
Chad Bailey - Linebacker - Graduate Student
Chad Bailey had a sleepy start to his Tiger career, limited to 9 games and a handful of snaps in his first two, injury-riddled years on campus. He began to see some more rotational play during the COVID season and then wrestled away the Mike linebacker start from Devin Nicholson during the ‘21 campaign. He is now, essentially, entrenched as the starting Mike for this upcoming season and, barring injury, should have another impactful season to conclude his Mizzou career.
Jaylon Carlies - Safety - Senior
Jaylon Carlies was a stud from the second he stepped on campus, getting backup snaps in his true freshman year before becoming an unimpeachable starter in ‘21 and ‘22. There were rumors he would test the NFL Draft this year but, instead, he’s returned as the guaranteed starting strong safety in what will (probably) be his last season.
Will Norris - Linebacker - Redshirt Junior
Entering his fourth year at Mizzou, Will Norris is unfortunately better known for his ability to teach Tiger fans about obscure punting rules more than anything as a linebacker. Part of that is that he’s been behind Blaze Alldredge and Ty’Ron Hopper for most of his career, which certainly isn’t a knock against Norris. Still, the local boy from Rock Bridge High School has been a steady special teams contributor and a solid depth piece in the linebacking corps.
Darius Robinson - Defensive Tackle - Graduate Student
The undisputed vocal leader and multi-year captain, Darius Robinson will once again be a starter on the defensive line. Does he stay on the interior or bounce out to the edge? It’s unclear at this point but what is clear is that he will be playing to better his NFL Draft stock and solidify his five-year career at Missouri.
Chad Bailey is for sure done at the conclusion of this year. Darius Robinson never took a redshirt year so, if for some reason he played four or fewer games, he could return next year. Same for Jaylon Carlies but...if all goes well, the most likely outcome is that neither will be back in ‘24. What that means is that Will Norris - barring a trip into the transfer portal - will be the last Odom defender left on this roster next year.
While there are only four Odom recruits left on the 41-man defensive roster, you could reasonably talk yourself into seeing those guys taking up three positions worth of starter-level snaps. As a reminder, the defense only fields 11 players so those four guys that make up 10% of the defensive roster could represent 28% of the defensive starter spots.
Odom’s recruiting efforts were questioned throughout his tenure but he did manage to have seven of his recruits get drafted in the NFL from his brief four-year tenure, with more potentially on the way after this season. You can make an argument as to whether those players always had the NFL potential or Drinkwitz helped them realize it but, the point is, Odom’s guys have played a pivotal role on Drinkwitz’s teams and this could be the last year where there is meaningful impact from the gentlemen who committed to Mizzou before November of 2019.