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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Missouri
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  09/23/20 - Darius RobinsonSo/2023, Missouri, 6-5, 295 (DS#999 DT) + More +

  The defensive line is full of seniors, but if there's one underclassmen expected to crack the rotation it's the sophomore from Canton, Mich., who started with the first unit in the preseason's second major scrimmage. The 6-foot-6, 295-pounder, a converted defensive end, could prove to be one of Odom's best out-of-state recruits, especially considering Robinson didn't play high school football until 2017, his junior year.

Robinson attended a prep school for basketball, but when college offers never materialized, he transferred to Canton High and started playing football for the first time since sixth grade. Then, the offers poured in. He chose Mizzou over Colorado and Minnesota. "It's crazy," he added. "I was watching film of myself from high school to my freshman year to my sophomore year and I see things that I wasn't able to do before. Now it's my sophomore year, and I'm really starting to see it in the practice film. So, I just keep working and keep trusting my technique. I know my ceiling's really high, but right now I'm just working on the things I need to get done now to help this team win." - Post-Dispatch


(DS#999 DT) So/2023 DT Darius RobinsonMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  09/07/20 - Kobie WhitesideSr/2021, Missouri, 6-1, 300 (DS#18 DT) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Kobie Whiteside, Missouri,...Whiteside became a dominant force on the interior for Mizzou during his first season as a full-time starter as a junior...Tallied 27 tackles and a team-high 6.5 sacks for a loss of 51 yards...His 6.5 sacks are tied for the most among any returning SEC defender in 2020...Posted a pair of multiple-sack performances as a junior, both coming in SEC play. - Missouri Football

(DS#18 DT) Sr/2021 DT Kobie WhitesideMissouri
News Source: Missouri Football
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  09/07/20 - Larry Rountree IIISr/2021, Missouri, 5-09, 210 (DS#10 RB) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Larry Rountree III, Missouri,...Rountree III finished his junior season with 829 rushing yards on 186 carries (4.5 average), scoring a team-high nine touchdowns on the ground...Concluded his junior season with 2,748 career rushing yards, sixth-most in program history and trailing fifth-place Henry Josey by just 23 yards...Will enter his senior season needing 450 yards to become Mizzou's rushing yards leader by a non-quarterback and is just 1,541 rushing yards away from catching Mizzou's all-time career rushing leader, QB Brad Smith (4,289 from 2002-05)...His 537 career carries rank seventh-most in program history. - Missouri Football

(DS#10 RB) Sr/2021 RB Larry Rountree IIIMissouri
News Source: Missouri Football
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  09/07/20 - Tyree GillespieSr/2021, Missouri, 6-0, 210 (DS#10 SS) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Tyree Gillespie, Missouri,...Gillespie developed into one of the team's top defenders at one of the two safety spots during his junior season, finishing the year with 50 tackles, second-most on the team, while adding 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, seven pass breakups, a QB hurry and a forced fumble. - Missouri Football

(DS#10 SS) Sr/2021 SS Tyree GillespieMissouri
News Source: Missouri Football
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  09/07/20 - Joshuah BledsoeSr/2021, Missouri, 6-0, 200 (DS#15 FS) + More +

  2021 SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri,...Bledsoe had a strong junior season, developing into one of the SEC's best safeties, using his blend of speed and physicality to disrupt opposing offenses...Finished the year ranked third on the team with 49 tackles (35 solo) with 4.0 tackles for loss...Added a team-high 10 pass breakups with a fumble recovery and also forced fumble. - Missouri Football

(DS#15 FS) Sr/2021 FS Joshuah BledsoeMissouri
News Source: Missouri Football
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  09/04/20 - Kobie WhitesideSr/2021, Missouri, 6-1, 300 (DS#18 DT) + More +

  Missouri defensive line coach Brick Haley lost his best player to the NFL draft, but he's not expecting any sympathy cards this season. No returning player in the conference last year totaled more than his team-high 6.5 sacks. For a defensive front that's struggled to mount a consistent pass rush off the edge, Whiteside and Elliott overwhelmed offenses up the middle. This year, Whiteside won't have the luxury of playing alongside a proven playmaker. "It's hard to find a Jordan Elliott to play with you, you know?" he said after a recent practice. "It's about trying to prove yourself. We're blessed and I'm blessed to have other teammates to help there." There is no shortage of qualified candidates to step in and play next to the 6-foot-1, 300-pound Whiteside.

Akial Byers has played all four positions across the line but could settle into a starting role at tackle for his final season. Markell Utsey, a fifth-year senior with starting experience, should be part of the rotation, along with sophomores Darius Robinson and Isaiah McGuire, who like Byers can play on the outside, too. But for the Tigers to build a front that can consistently compete in the trenches in a 10-game SEC season, they'll need another standout season from their most established player. "I'm trying to be more of a technician," Whiteside said. "When it comes down to pass rush, I've got to find my best four moves, try to refine them. Every day in practice, just keep trying, keep trying, so I can become a bit better pass rusher, a better run stopper. Hopefully, people can see that." - Post-Dispatch


(DS#18 DT) Sr/2021 DT Kobie WhitesideMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  09/03/20 - Nick BoltonJr/2022, Missouri, 6-0, 232 (DS#2 OLB) + More +

  Bolton's progression hasn't slowed with a new position coach, DJ Smith, who came to Missouri with Eli Drinkwitz after being on his Appalachian State staff. If anything, having fresh eyes on Bolton might be exactly what he needs in 2020, people that can nitpick what he's doing after a career season. "He looks like the guy," Missouri defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said. "Nick Bolton is Nick Bolton, and that's all he needs to be for us. He's picking up right where he left off last year and the guys behind him are following suit as well." With Missouri's 4-2-5 defensive system not changing, that truly means one linebacker starting spot is up for grabs, with Bolton almost guaranteed to feature for the team.

Tigers such as Chad Bailey, Devin Nicholson and Aubrey Miller are competing for the starting outside linebacker position vacated by Garrett, with Cameron Wilkins and Nicholson taking over as starters for the final seven games of 2019. Whoever plays beside Bolton will draw comparisons to the Frisco, Texas native from a year ago: an experienced player taking a larger role next to an established starter and one of the best the Tiger have to offer. "I think he looks good...the biggest thing with him is just being consistent, being more of a vocal leader and just being that same guy day in and day out," Smith said of Bolton. - Columbia Daily Tribune


(DS#2 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB Nick BoltonMissouri
News Source: Columbia Daily Tribune
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  08/29/20 - Jalen KnoxJr/2022, Missouri, 6-0, 196 (DS#19 WR) + More +

  Missouri's new wide receivers have attracted all the attention this offseason, but a returning wideout might be the most pivotal piece in the Tigers' new passing game. You can describe him as a newcomer, too. Jalen Knox, back for his third year in the program, is not the player he's been the last two seasons. That's by design. "I feel like J-Knox is going to blow back up this year," wideout Maurice Massey said after a recent practice. "With the offense we have now it puts everyone in the place they need to be and uses them the right way." If you interpreted that as a knock on the former offensive staff, your instincts were probably right.

"Wherever you put him he's gonna make plays," wideout Dominic Gicinto added. "He's just really dynamic. He's got speed. He can get in and out of cuts. He can catch the ball. He's going to be everywhere this year." With practices closed to reporters, Drinkwitz has been careful not to disclose too much about his offense through the first week of preseason camp. But he's not keeping his plans for Knox completely undercover. "He's got incredible speed, good hands (and) he really wants to be good," Drinkwitz said after Tuesday's practice. "We've got to do a better job offensively of getting him the ball in space. We're gonna have to be creative in finding ways for him to touch it." Earlier this summer Drinkwitz even suggested Knox might return to his days as an option quarterback in certain packages. "I definitely could," Knox said, "if I needed to." - Post-Dispatch


(DS#19 WR) Jr/2022 WR Jalen KnoxMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  08/24/20 - Joshuah BledsoeSr/2021, Missouri, 6-0, 200 (DS#15 FS) + More +

  As Missouri football struggled on offense much of the 2019 season, the Tigers' defense gained experience and helped keep several games close. Defensive standouts like Jordan Elliott, Cale Garrett and DeMarkus Acy have gone on to the NFL, but a few stalwarts from a year ago have returned to Columbia and loom large for the Tigers as they prepare for a pandemic-altered, Southeastern Conference-only schedule this year. Perhaps the biggest luxury the Missouri defense has going into the 2020 season is its safety duo of Joshuah Bledsoe and Tyree Gillespie, who feed off each other in a way that benefits the Tigers' last line of defenders. Bledsoe is projected as the starting strong safety, while Gillespie has switched to the boundary safety position, vacated by Khalil Oliver and Ronnell Perkins, which is designed to free him up to move all over the field depending on formation.

MU defensive coordinator Ryan Walters said Friday the battle for the starting free safety position is between Columbia native Martez Manuel and redshirt freshman Jalani Williams. Missouri's 4-2-5 defense, implemented over the course of the past two seasons, is now the norm for the Tigers. That structure wouldn't hold together as well without the maturity and experience of Gillespie and Bledsoe. "I think they can be the best safety tandem in the SEC and in all of college football as well," Missouri linebacker Nick Bolton said. "You got two very athletic guys, very smart guys, stocky safeties...They got more experience from last year to this year with a different type of scheme. And then, adding on from last year to this year, I feel like they're going to have two big years. "They're essential for us being good on defense." - Columbia Daily Tribune


(DS#15 FS) Sr/2021 FS Joshuah BledsoeMissouri
News Source: Columbia Daily Tribune
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  08/22/20 - Nick BoltonJr/2022, Missouri, 6-0, 232 (DS#2 OLB) + More +

  Missouri football fans have plenty to worry about these days. Will a COVID-19 outbreak on campus or within the locker room jeopardize the season? Will the Southeastern Conference keep pushing to play this fall? Will the Tigers' brutal schedule slow down Eliah Drinkwitz's recruiting momentum? Here's one concern fans can scratch off their list: Nick Bolton isn't going anywhere - for now. Bolton might be the best college linebacker whose team plans to play in 2020 - Alabama's Dylan Moses is his top competition in the SEC - but the way things have unfolded in recent weeks, nobody should have been surprised had Bolton considered sitting out the upcoming season to prepare for the NFL draft.

As of Friday, nearly 80 college players had opted out for 2020, including 13 in the Southeastern Conference. Bolton made it clear after Friday's practice: He's opting in. "Personally I've not had any conversations about opting out," he said on Zoom. "I feel I've got more to prove as a team, as a unit, this coming season. So I've just been taking every day trying to get a little bit better, trying to help my teammates get better and hopefully September 26, we kick off at 100 percent." - Post-Dispatch


(DS#2 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB Nick BoltonMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  08/22/20 - Nick BoltonJr/2022, Missouri, 6-0, 232 (DS#2 OLB) + More +

  Missouri's Nick Bolton might be the best college linebacker who appears in games this fall - he's at least in the discussion - but the way things have unfolded in recent weeks, nobody should have been surprised if he considered looking ahead to the NFL draft and sat out the 2020 college season. As of Friday, a reported 77 players have made that decision, including 13 in the Southeastern Conference. Not Bolton. The junior linebacker said Friday he hasn't had any conversations about not playing this season.

"I feel I've got more to prove as a team, as a unit, this coming season," he said on Zoom after Friday's practice. "So I've just been taking every day trying to get a little bit better, trying to help my teammates get better and hopefully September 26, we kick off at 100 percent." Linebackers coach D.J. Smith, a former NFL player who spent parts of four seasons with the Packers, Texans and Panthers, said he never talked to Bolton about sitting out this year. "Nick's a competitor," Smith said. "He's a grinder. And as far as I'm concerned, he's here, day in and day out, working for us to win a championship." - Post-Dispatch


(DS#2 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB Nick BoltonMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  08/16/20 - Damon HazeltonrSr/2021, Missouri, 6-2, 215 (DS#71 WR) + More +

  The graduate transfer from Virginia Tech quickly won over Mizzou's coaches and teammates after joining the team in January and supplies the credentials to become the team's No. 1 receiver. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds he's the prototypical outside target for Drinkwitz's preferred downfield passing game. Only three players in Mizzou history have more career touchdown catches than Hazelton's 20. The best news for Mizzou: Hazelton got better since coming to campus. "In my room there's not a guy during the quarantine who took a bigger leap in his game than Damon Hazelton," receivers coach Bush Hamdan said. - Post-Dispatch

(DS#71 WR) rSr/2021 WR Damon HazeltonMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  07/28/20 - Nick BoltonJr/2022, Missouri, 6-0, 232 (DS#2 OLB) + More +

  2020 PRESEASON WALTER CAMP SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICAN: LB Nick Bolton, Missouri,...Earned All-SEC First Team honors from both the league's coaches and the Associated Press after posting a team-best 107 tackles in 2019...Also added 9.0 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and three quarterback hurries during his true sophomore season, developing into one of the nation's elite linebackers...His 74 solo tackles were 15 more than any other defender in the SEC. - Missouri Football

(DS#2 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB Nick BoltonMissouri
News Source: Missouri Football
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  07/28/20 - Nick BoltonJr/2022, Missouri, 6-0, 232 (DS#2 OLB) + More +

  When a torn pectoral tendon ended what might have become an All-American season for Missouri linebacker Cale Garrett last fall, the spotlight turned to his sidekick in the middle of the defense. Nick Bolton didn't disappoint. By season's end, the sophomore and first-year starter had become Mizzou's best player. Garrett, watching the second half from the sideline, wasn't surprised. "He's not uncomfortable being 'the guy.' He was the dude for us last year. This year he'll be the dude for them again," Garrett said this week before reporting to training camp with the Tennessee Titans. "He's able to lead our defense. That's easy to ask of him."

That's exactly what defensive coordinator Ryan Walters has asked of Bolton this offseason in Garrett's absence. While Bolton might have deferred to his older teammate last season, 2020 is Bolton's year to seize the stage for himself. "I told him he's getting all these preseason accolades, the fair expectation is he better have them at the end of the year," Walters said. "What I like about Nick is he has the same attitude as he had walking in as a true freshman, even though he has all the accolades and played at the level he played last year. He's still Nick. He's a hard worker, a very conscientious kid. He knows why he's here and what his goals are. I'm expecting him to play better than he played last year. "He's got guys in front of him that know what to do and will keep linemen off him. He understands ball and what we're trying to do schematically. A lot of what we're doing is built around allowing him to make plays." - Post-Dispatch


(DS#2 OLB) Jr/2022 OLB Nick BoltonMissouri
News Source: Post-Dispatch
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  07/27/20 - Kobie WhitesideSr/2021, Missouri, 6-1, 300 (DS#18 DT) + More +

  2020 WUERFFEL TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Kobie Whiteside, Missouri, senior, defensive line,...Whiteside became a dominant force on the interior for Mizzou during his first season as a full-time starter as a junior...Tallied 27 tackles and a team-high 6.5 sacks for a loss of 51 yards...His 6.5 sacks are tied for the most among any returning SEC defender in 2020...Posted a pair of multiple-sack performances as a junior, both coming in SEC play. - Missouri Football

(DS#18 DT) Sr/2021 DT Kobie WhitesideMissouri
News Source: Missouri Football
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