Coaches on the Class: Defense
Missouri announced the signing of 22 players on Wednesday. We talked to the Tiger coaches about every one. Here is what the Missouri defensive coaches had to say about the signees on that side of the ball.
Defensive line coach Brick Haley on his relationship with Daniels from Texas: "I think he's a lot more mature young man. He went to junior college and has grown up a little bit and done some things to help himself become a better player. We thought he was a really good player coming out of high school and we think the same thing now. Really excited about him being a part of this family. I think the relationship was probably the reason why we got him. We've been knowing each other a while, been knowing the family, recruited him once so this was an easy deal."
Haley on Daniels' relationship with Jordan Elliott: "That was pretty good. I think they do have a really close relationship and I think that was a big issue on us getting to where we needed to be with him."
Brick Haley: "That was a long one. That one was in the 12th hour. I spent a lot of time on the phone last night visiting with him and his family, trying to make him understand that this was a good fit for him and I think he realized that later, somewhere around 12 o'clock last night. When he did it was great and we were happy about it, but we still weren't sure about it until we got the papers."
Haley on Robinson's game: "Just his physicality, his build, his quickness. There's some things he does that you just can't teach. We're really, really excited to get him. He had a bunch of good schools that were recruiting him and we were able to come in there and have an opportunity to get him there at the end so we're excited about it."
Haley on Robinson's position: "I think right now he could be both. He could do both."
Haley on his position: "Right now he can start out at end, but just seeing his body frame and his hands, he's going to grow tremendously. He can start at end and then slide inside just depending on where we go with it and his growth and all the things that we're expecting out of him once he gets here."
Haley on getting into Tulsa Union: "That's really, really special for us to be able to go over and do that. I think coach Brian Odom did a great job of laying the groundwork to get us there, so we're excited about it and hopefully we can continue."
Linebackers coach Brian Odom on his position: "He's gonna be a guy that we've talked about since I've been here that he's going to be able to come in, the thing that jumps off his film, you see him do a lot of stuff not only offensively, but just knowing the kid and some of his other athletic traits, his athleticism jumps off the tape. He was a 6-8 or 6-10 high jumper as a sophomore. Since we've communicated, almost a year, he'll send me windmill dunks and all kinds of stuff. When you look at things for that (nickel) position as we've talked many times, athleticism's got to be the biggest thing. They've got to be able to do so much stuff. He's shown the ability to be able to play man coverage, he's shown the ability to tackle and he's been electric with the ball in his hands on the offensive side of the ball and also in the return game. Now, do I see him being a punt returner and a kick returner here? I mean, if he needs to, he'll do it, but his role's going to be that player on the defense that's going to be overhang, then use him in coverage and use him in the post safety as well."
Odom on his recruiting process: "He was always kind of an under the radar guy. We offered him and he comes down on a visit on his own in the spring and came and saw everything and really kind of fell in love with the school and the staff and the roster and he never wavered from it. We were concerned with probably some of the local schools that he lives near that would come in the summer. We talked about that often, but he stuck with us and never wavered. He had a great senior year and getting to know him and his family has been awesome. I don't know if you guys saw the write-up on him leading into the playoffs. He broke his hand two weeks before the state championship game. I didn't even know about it until I went and saw him after his state championship game on an in-home visit. Let's talk about your hand. He said, 'I broke it. I knew I didn't want to have surgery and miss the chance to play in the state championship game" so he stuck it out, didn't say anything about, just kind of played through it and showed a lot of toughness with that. I'm excited about getting him up here."
Brian Odom: "He's a guy that actually I was able to see on the way to go see Aidan (Harrison) last spring. I saw him in person and anybody that knows anything about that high school, they're a perennial power and they do a great job. He was another under the radar type guy and as you walk through his workout in spring and watch those guys work out, they got this guy being recruited by this person and this, that and the other. All of a sudden, it's like, who's this kid? Well, he's a guy that's kind of developing. He has great size, he has great athleticism and he ended up having a really, really good senior year. He's got a lot of size potential, speed potential and he can play a number of positions. I'm sure he'll play inside linebacker here, but he's a guy that we're all really excited about."
Cass Tech alum/Wide Receivers Coach A.J. Ofodile: “I think obviously Cass Tech is, if not the, one of the flagship programs in the state of Michigan. Great academics, great tradition in the program, so any time you can get a young man from there it’s obviously an exciting thing, just what they typically tend to bring to the table. He was a little bit under the radar, little bit of a late-bloomer, so one of the things that we talked about, I felt like if he as a junior this year, he would be a guy that would be more of a national type recruit, just based on what they’ve had in the past and his length and size, athletic ability, physicality, all those things. He’s got great tools...I didn’t realize until we started recruiting him, me and his mom graduated high school together, so it’s kind of a small world.”
Brian Odom: "He's still playing. He's got a huge game this weekend. It's being billed as kind of one of the biggest state championship games. They always have really good state championship games down there, but this one in particular, you've got two undefeated teams, one from Houston and one from Dallas. Obviously Stacy's from Duncanville and they're representing Dallas. I've actually seen both of those schools practice in the recruiting period and it's gonna be a great game. Stacy has come on, again, another one of those guys that has unlimited athletic potential. His athleticism jumps off the film right when you see it. I can remember the first time I saw him. It was like a weight room workout and he was sitting on the ground and he stood up and he just kind of kept on going. He's got great size, he's got a great pedigree as far as where he comes from in high school. Those guys coach them hard, they play hard, they're well-coached and they care about ball. Stacy's a guy that's going to come up here and make a difference and we're lucky to get him."
Defensive coordinator/secondary coach Ryan Walters: "It's funny, he started off playing football in high school at receiver and they moved him I think during his sophomore year. You could see potential there, but he didn't really know how to play the position yet. Then last year toward the end of the year he started playing a little bit better and went out and saw him in the springtime and you saw what he could be. Another really tall, long, he's going to be a really big kid too, so just the flexibility of being able to play that nickel or that safety spot, just depending on what we need. He's tough as nails. He really is. Long, rangy, he's really fast. We're really excited about him. We thought he was one of the more underrecruited guys in the MetroPlex for sure."
Ryan Walters: "What I like about him too is he can go inside, play some nickel in some sub package stuff. We measured him when he was on campus 5-11, I think he was 185, 186, so he's a put together kid and coming from IMG they're pretty rigorous in their program so he'll be a plug and play guy. He'll be here in January. Smart kid, wants to work and humble as well so I'm glad we got him."
Walters on coming from IMG: "It's competitive as all get out there. Kind of being away from home, only being around each other, that's all they do is just compete with each other whether it's playing video games or working out or out at practice so it'll be an easy adjustment period for him when he gets here."
Walters on his recruitment: "He's a great kid. We had a really good relationship. He's a home grown kid so I'm sure he grew up dreaming about playing with that uniform on. He made a huge jump going from his sophomore to junior year and then really had a good track season as well. What we were looking for was how is he going to mature and develop and he passed with flying colors and had a really good senior year so we're happy he's going to stay home."
Walters on his position: "Don't have an idea really until he gets here. You never really know until you get to work with him one on one, but we signed him with the anticipation he'll be playing safety."
A.J. Ofodile: “I knew him as a pup. Eighth-grade kid and maybe even seventh-grade, and just to watch him, I remember having him in the weight room as a young kid, how determined he was with every lift. On max days, we’d power clean, and if he missed a lift, he’d try it 10 times, and it was really impressive. That’s how he went about every day, and so it’s really based on his mindset and based on what his athletic traits were at the time, not surprised at all that he’s developed into the player that he is. Awesome kid, does it in the classroom, he’s a character guy, he’s a leader amongst his peers, and then you start checking off athletic boxes, he’s a fast guy, he’s physical, one of the best competitive temperaments that you’ll ever see. So we're really excited about Martez, and for me personally, having seen him at the very beginning of it and having a chance to coach him as a young kid, it’s really exciting to be able to get that second chance to be around him and help him keep developing.”
Ryan Walters on his ability to play right away: "You guys have seen our track record with freshmen. They're going to get a shot. Jalani's another kid that will be here in the spring and graduating early. He'll be right in the fire in terms of workouts and then going to spring ball and getting reps. There's a reason he had just about every offer out there because he's a special kid, talented kid, a lot of potential, got a great head on his shoulders. He wants to be a coach after he's done playing. I'm really, really excited about the prospect of getting him here."
Walters on his ability: "He's long. He's 6-2, but when you look at him he looks like he's taller because he's so long. He's thin right now, but he's got broad shoulders. I think he's in the mid-170s right now, but he's got the ability to put on a whole lot of weight. Just the range, the length, the attitude with which he plays, he's got a chance to be really, really special."
Walters on his recruitment: "It's about relationships. I think he saw that he could reach his goals and do everything right here. I think the perception of Missouri in their minds was different than when they got on campus and they saw what we're about, the momentum and the culture of what's going on here. I think he wanted to be a part of that. He wanted to be a part of the things that are taking place here and be part of the rise to where I think we can get to. It speaks volumes to the type of guy he is that he just knew what he wanted to and that was stay home and play at Missouri."
Ryan Walters: "He's gonna be a corner. He's tall, rangy. He's got the skillset to play corner and he's got the length that we're looking for out there. He's another guy that will be here in January."