The dismissal of incumbent starting defensive end Walter Brady opened the door for one of the better position battles during Missouri's fall camp.
It turned into one of the better stories, too.
On Monday the Tigers announced that walk-on junior defensive end Jordan Harold, a transfer from Division II Northwest Missouri State, had won the starting job opposite Charles Harris going into Saturday’s season opener at West Virginia.
“It’s everything I’ve been working for,” Harold said. “I set that goal. Whether it was unrealistic to most, it was realistic to me at the time. I’m here and it means the world to me.”
Harold, a 6-foot-2, 265-pounder who went to Northwest Missouri State out of McCluer North High School in suburban St. Louis, beat out redshirt junior Marcell Frazier and redshirt sophomore Spencer Williams for the No. 1 spot. But all three defensive ends figure to play quite a bit and will likely continue to compete for the starting spot throughout the season.
Harris, a preseason All-Southeastern Conference second-team selection, said Harold earned the job with his hard work.
“I think it’s about time,” redshirt junior defensive end Charles Harris said. “I always knew it was coming for him. He always knew himself. But it’s just his hard work. He’s been working his butt off the entire year since he first got here, so that’s a testament to him and his hard work.”
Missouri head coach Barry Odom, when he met with reporters on Monday for his season-opening press conference, also praised Harold’s work ethic.
“Consistently, Jordan, since he’s been here, he was a transfer student-athlete, he just kept his head down and he worked,” Odom said. “He picked up the defensive scheme. Last year he was ineligible because of the transfer. But then worked extremely hard on the look squad last year, the scout team, and then starting January when we reported back … there wasn’t anybody out there outworking him. He’s got a pretty good skill set too. He’s strong, he’s powerful. Uses body leverage really well. I’m excited to see him go compete in the game because he’s got a high competitive spirit.”
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