Coming out of the spring, Missouri’s Depth Chart looked very similar at the LB position to what it did coming into the spring.
Following Spring Football, Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel had this to say about his current linebacking corps, “We’ve got one of the best groups of linebackers we’ve ever had.”
Senior Andrew Wilson, who entered the spring having moved into the middle, enjoyed his best spring as a Missouri Tiger. Playing in the middle allows Wilson to be in on every play, and ultimately to hit more people, which is what he loves to do. One of the things that I really like about Wilson is the way that he comes across and attacks the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t wait for ball carriers to come to him. He brings it to them.
The only difference in the two-deep at the end of the spring from the two-deep at the beginning of the spring was the elevation, which occurred early in the spring, of RSF Michael Scherer to the second team, behind Wilson. Scherer was very impressive this spring. To begin with, he came into the spring having improved himself considerably from a physical standpoint with his work in the off-season. And that just carried over onto the field. He showed well in pass coverage, as well as in run support. He’s physical, he’s smart, and he’s a hard worker.
Senior Donovan Bonner held down the starting SLB position all spring. Bonner’s another big hitter; a very aggressive, physical player who runs very well. In fact, he’s faster than he was before he tore his ACL heading into his second season at Mizzou. Bonner’s played all three LB positions, so he provides the Tigers with some versatility, and increases the depth at all three LB spots.
Sophomore Clarence Green spent the entire spring behind Bonner, playing with the second team. Green is a solid linebacker for the Tigers, who has practiced at both outside LB positions. Green will continue to be challenged by RSF Torey Boozer, who is a tremendous talent, but who missed most of the spring before he was cleared to play following a concussion. Once he finally got onto the field, Boozer quickly impressed. Hopefully, Boozer, who also missed most of fall camp last August due to clearinghouse issues, will be able to stay healthy going forward.
Junior Darvin Ruise began the spring as the starter at the WLB position. Early in the spring, Ruise moved down on the Depth Chart, before moving back up to the first-team defense about midway through the spring. He held onto the starting job heading into the Spring Game, and he finished the spring as the starter. Ruise is another guy who likes to hit.
Ruise is in close competition with sophomore Kentrell Brothers, another versatile talent who likes to hit. In the Spring Game, Ruise and Brothers splits reps with the first-team defense in a competition that appears likely to continue into the fall.
Behind Ruise and Brothers is RSF Donavin Newsom, an impressive young talent, who is rapidly improving at the position. Newsom is an athletic, physical player who runs very well. He made significant strides this spring toward learning the position. With his talent, once he begins to master his assignments and his fundamentals, and he can just go play, he’ll definitely be a factor going forward.
With a quartet of very talented young players, including Brothers and the three red-shirt freshmen, having shown well this spring, the outlook for the Tigers at the linebacker position is bright, very bright.
12 Darvin Ruise 6'1" 245 (J)
10 Kentrell Brothers 6'1" 240 (So)
25 Donavin Newsom 6'2" 230 (RSF)
48 Andrew Wilson 6'3" 235 (S)
30 Michael Scherer 6'3" 235 (RSF)
54 Michael Brennan 6’2” 235 (S)
49 Denzel Martin 5'10" 230 (S)
8 Donovan Bonner 6'1" 240 (S) 40 Clarence Green 6'0" 225 (So)
11 Torey Boozer 6’2” 230 (RSF)
43 Tanner Hull 6’0” 215 (F)