Tigers Hoping For Big Spring From Brantley

With the Missouri Tigers losing a future first round NFL draft pick from their defensive tackle position, the search is on this spring for a suitable replacement to take his place. Red-shirt freshman Harold Brantley is working to be the one.

Last fall, ShowMeMizzou.com reported that true freshman DT Harold Brantley looked like he might very well play in his first year on campus. Brantley has only improved since then, and he has his sights set on a starting job. During the first week of spring practice, Brantley spoke with ShowMeMizzou.com.

“I wasn’t happy about being red-shirted (last season),” said Brantley. “But, I definitely think I had a really good year, and made the most of it because of our strength staff. They really push us, and I hit a lot of big weights that I’m happy about.”

The 6’2” Brantley currently weighs “about 290” pounds. He wants to add another 5-10 pounds, but he’s more focused on just improving his overall conditioning, and lowering his percentage of body fat. In looking at Brantley, and seeing the strides that he’s made, it’s evident that he has the potential to develop into an extremely strong and amazingly athletic interior lineman.

“I hit thirty-one reps at two-twenty-five,” said Brantley. “I benched four-twenty-five. I squatted six-forty. I’m pushing big weight now……………………………………… I just want to get my body in the best physical shape possible, so that I can contribute to the team.”

Brantley is coming off of a hamstring injury that prevented him from completing some of the pre-camp testing, and had him wearing a red pull-over for the first two days of practice. Still, he said that he ran a 4.9 forty the week before practice began, although he said that he is faster than that when he’s 100% healthy.

Brantley was cleared to go full speed on the Tigers’ first day in pads.

“It was so nice to be able to go one-hundred percent, because I don’t like missing out on things,” said Brantley. “I’m trying to earn my spot, get in the rotation, maybe even start. I want to go a hundred percent, so I can prove myself.”

Coach Pinkel has taken notice of his red-shirt freshman DT.

“Brantley is a very talented young guy that has a lot of explosiveness,” said Coach Pinkel. “He can run. He’s got quickness."

Brantley is currently running second-team, but he has his sights set on a starting job. He talked about what he needs to do to get better.

“I think (I have to improve) my quickness off the snap of the ball,” explained Brantley. “And then, my endurance in-game. Because, I can make any conditioning test, but it’s a lot harder with pads on, and then you’ve got a man in front of you. You’ve got to be physically tough and mentally tough. That’s just something that I’ve got to work on.”

Brantley will certainly be good enough to play for the Tigers this season. But, I think with his work ethic, and his competitiveness, that he’ll just continue to get better and better during his time at Missouri, particularly as he improves his overall conditioning.

“I think the conditioning makes a big difference in what you can do,” explained Brantley. “And, I don’t want to come off of the field.”

Brantley benefitted from getting a close up look at Sheldon Richardson last season. He said that he recognizes that he needs to continue to get better. He talked about some of what he needs to work on.

“I do think my strength is good, but I can always get stronger,” said Brantley. “I think one of the things about Sheldon was his hands were so good……………………………………. I think working on my hand technique will just make me a lot better.”

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