The University of Missouri football team had one of the best defenses in college football last season and returns a strong group going into spring practice and the 2016 campaign.
New Tigers head coach Barry Odom, who was the defensive coordinator last season, will be able to rely on an experienced linebacker duo in redshirt seniors Michael Scherer and Donavin Newsom to lead the way.
“They’ve played a lot of snaps and I’ve said a number of times I wouldn’t trade experience for anything,” Odom told Mizzou Network. “Those guys, they bring value in their knowledge of the game. There’s not much that gets them rattled throughout the course of a game or a practice. They’ve been around the block and we’re going to lean on those guys putting us in position to lead defensively.”
The Tigers did suffer significant loss to their linebacking corps with the graduation of weak side linebacker Kentrell Brothers, who led Mizzou with 152 tackles and added 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and three blocked kicks, but they will look to Scherer and Newsom to be even better in Brothers’ absence.
Scherer, a middle linebacker, was second among the Tigers with 93 tackles last season and Newsom, who played the strong side linebacker spot, was fourth with 63. Newsom added 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Burkett had nine tackles in limited action last season while Hall had seven and Lee added five.
Other names to watch this spring include redshirt junior Eric Beisel, redshirt sophomores Grant Jones and Roderick Winters, redshirt freshman Franklin Agbasimere and freshmen Trey Baldwin and Cale Garrett.
Baldwin and Garrett were both part of Odom’s first recruiting class that signed last month and are early enrollees who get to participate in spring practice.