How Mizzou football's training camp defensive depth chart looks in first week of practice

If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
Mizzou football defensive coordinator Blake Baker has no shortage of experience returning for the 2023 season, and the early portions of training camp suggest the Tigers are going to use it.
Here’s a glimpse at Missouri’s potential depth chart for their season opener against South Dakota on Aug. 31 at Memorial Stadium:
Defensive end
Darius Robinson
Joe Moore
Johnny Walker Jr.
-or- Nyles Gaddy
-or- Austin Firestone
In glimpses, there have been tell-tale signs of what the new-look edge might look like, and the Tigers appear to be leaning on the side of experience in Baker’s system.
Starting defensive ends Isaiah McGuire and DJ Coleman are both in NFL training camps. Trajan Jeffcoat is at Arkansas. Arden Walker is at Colorado. That bled the Tigers dry.
But some nifty portal work brought in Gaddy (Jackson State), Firestone (Northwestern) and Moore (Arizona State) all provide necessary depth, but when the presumed first team — corners, safeties, linebackers and all — took the field for a red-zone drill, it was Robinson and Walker rounding out the line.
Defensive tackle
Jayden Jernigan
-or- Darius Robinson
Josh Landry
Kristian Williams
Realus George Jr.
The Tigers have returned their top five tackles from 2022.
“It’s unique, because it’s the exact same room,” Williams said Friday. “We’ve got a great set of guys coming in, and we have the same best (players) that came from last year. So we’re just stacking the days and just building on the foundation that we started.”
Baker switches up his front pretty regularly, and he’ll have the tools to do that. Williams was a tremendous addition to the line last season, George and Landry both have high ceilings, Robinson will slide inside from time to time and redshirt freshman Marquis Gracial is up to 331 pounds and appears to be competing for looks.
Dameon Wilson
-or- Chad Bailey
Ty’Ron Hopper.
Chuck Hicks
-or- Triston Newson
Take it from Baker.
Not many offenses are going to be thrilled to see Hopper staring them down.
“He’s one of those guys, when I talk about seeing someone’s personal growth over the last 12 months — his has been second to none,” Baker said. … “He’s been a phenomenal, phenomenal asset to this program, but also, you can see how motivated he is to prove to the country how good he is.”
Bailey, a team captain last season, likely will recapture the starting role at some point in camp, but he missed at least parts of the Tigers’ first couple practices, leaving the role open for Wilson to fill in the portions open to the media. Bailey was arrested in March for driving under the influence, but has now returned to practice.
Kris Abrams-Draine
Marcus Clarke
Ennis Rakestraw Jr.
Dreyden Norwood
Oklahoma wide-receiver transfer Theo Wease Jr. quickly learned what Mizzou’s corner tandem is all about. Abrams-Draine and Rakestraw both decided to return and have a shot to improve their NFL draft stock
“I am blessed to go against them two every day. I embrace that to the full,” Wease said Friday. “Two great athletes. I’m lined up across from them? I’ve gotta come with it every day. It’s a blessing to go against them every day.”
Norwood and Clarke both shape up to be capable backups, but don’t expect the starting pair to sit too often now they’re back.
“When (Abrams-Draine) told me he was coming back, I was still undecided whether I was going to leave or go somewhere else,” Rakestraw said. “But I talked to him, he made me feel confident that we’re going to do this thing together again.”
Joseph Charleston
Tre’Vez Johnson
JC Carlies
Marvin Burks Jr.
-or- Sidney Williams
Daylan Carnell
Tre’Vez Johnson
If anyone is going to buck the experienced bunch in Columbia, cast an eye toward Cardinal Ritter grad and true freshman Marvin Burks Jr. Baker said he will start on special teams while backing up Carlies as more of a rover safety at the beginning of the season but then take it from there.
“He’s gonna be a good one,” Baker said.
The defensive coordinator also struck a positive tone for Johnson, a Florida transfer, and his versatility, suggesting that he might be able to play any of the Tigers’ three positions.
But for now it’s Charleston and Carlies, and for good reason. They were solid in every capacity in 2022. They both ranked in the top three in the team for total tackles. Carlies had a team-leading three interceptions, one ahead of Carnell, who spent most of the season as Martez Manuel’s backup.
Carnell took his chance when it came his way while a backup to Martez Manuel last season with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, and all signs suggest he’s taken another leap as the starter.
“He’s just got a really good feel for the game, he’s really smart, really instinctual, processes things really, really well,” Baker said. … “I think he’s realized how good he can be.”

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