Frazier expected to fill Harris’ leadership role on Missouri defensive line

After announcing his intentions to enter the NFL draft on Thursday, Charles Harris said Marcell Frazier will likely take the lead of the talented group.
Junior defensive lineman Marcell Frazier, 16, stretches for a tackle during the away game against Tennessee on Nov. 19.

As Missouri defensive end Charles Harris announced he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft in April, family members, coaches and players displayed pure jubilation on their faces.

Many Tigers fans also smiled knowing a ninth Missouri defensive lineman will be drafted in an eight-year period. Those grins likely didn’t stay for long, however, when they realized what it means for the Tigers.

What now for the defensive line?

Harris led the team with nine sacks, 12 tackles for loss and finished second on the team with 61 total tackles in 2016. He played a vocal leadership role as well.

Life without Harris won’t be easy for the Missouri defense next season, but Harris said the player who will likely fill the void revealed himself last Friday against Arkansas.

“The torch will be passed on to Marcell Frazier,” Harris said. “I put that pressure on him because I know he wants that pressure. It is definitely Marcell.”

Frazier showed he can handle that pressure against the Razorbacks. His three sacks and four tackles for loss earned him recognition as Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week. Frazier, a junior, finished the season with 8.5 sacks.

Not too bad of a finish for a junior college transfer in his second season with Missouri.

“It is amazing how he came in, transferring from [junior college],” Harris said. “He picked [everything] up instantly.”

Jordan Harold and Spencer Williams will also return next season after starting at times in 2016. Harold registered 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Williams did not get a sack or tackle for loss.

Other defensive linemen who contributed in 2016 and will be back next season include freshman Markell Utsey and sophomore Nate Howard at defensive end. A.J. Logan and Terry Beckner Jr. also return and are projected to start at the two defensive tackle spots next season.

Also, watch for Tre Williams, one of Missouri’s top overall prospects coming out of high school last season.

Defensive tackles Rickey Hatley and Josh Augusta played their senior seasons in 2016 and will not be back.

Despite Hatley, Augusta and Harris’ exit, Harris is excited for the Missouri defensive line’s future.

“I have no doubt in my mind D-Line Zou will be great next year and will continue to be great,” Harris said.

Edited by Peter Baugh |

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