Missouri Tigers defensive backs preview 2022 SEC football season
When the 2022 season begins for Missouri against Louisiana Tech, the defensive field will include plenty of experience.
The group has some seasoning as the Tigers return six players with starting positions in this area, despite the losses of Akayleb Evans, Allie Green and Ishmael Burdine, among others, to the transfer portal and the NFL.
Before fall camp begins, here’s an introduction to all of the defensive backs currently on the Missouri roster.
A starter for the Tigers will be one of the team’s representatives at SEC Media Days on Monday. Manuel finished last season with 77 tackles, good for third on the team.
The Rock Bridge product also had one interception and four passes defended. He started all 12 games as a junior captain. He decided to forfeit the NFL Draft and return for his senior season in January.
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Charleston traded to Missouri from Clemson this offseason. He announced his intention to transfer at the start of the 2021 campaign, but was the regular starting safety for these Tigers in 2020.
He finished his career at Clemson with 62 total tackles.
The St. Louis native played in every game last season, making one start. He finished the year with 18 solo tackles, plus two pass defenses.
Abrams-Draine came to Missouri as a wide receiver in 2020, during which time he had three rushing yards in five games played.
Prior to last season, he switched to defensive back.
The move was a success, as the Spanish Fort (Ala.) product started 10 games and played in all 13 as the first nickel in then-defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ defensive scheme. He broke up seven passes to lead the team and also contributed to three interceptions.
Abrams-Draine was also involved in kick returns in 2021, throwing for 484 yards, including a 100-yard touchdown that was one of the few highlights in Missouri’s loss to Tennessee.
The second played two games last season, against the Army and South Carolina. He played his high school football at Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania.
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Hewitt joined the Tigers this offseason after having 18 tackles and a pick for Holmes Community College last year. He spent the spring at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The Orlando sophomore didn’t play a game last year as a rookie. He came to Missouri as a three-star prospect, picking the Tigers over NC State, Vanderbilt and Indiana, among others.
Carlies started 12 games for the Tigers last season facing Manuel at safety. He finished the year with 61 solo tackles and 15 assisted tackles.
He was one of the Tigers’ greatest playmakers with four interceptions and four passes defended. Carlies came to Missouri as a three-star recruit from Orlando, Florida.
Ennis Rakestraw Jr.
The Tigers will hope Rakestraw returns to form this season after his 2021 campaign ended with a torn ACL. He played four games before the injury, making 13 total tackles.
In 2020, as a rookie, Rakestraw started all 10 games of the abridged season, finishing the year with 24 tackles and six pass breakups, which led the team. He was a three-star prospect out of high school, playing his prep ball in Duncanville, Texas.
Carnell came to Missouri ranked as a four-star prospect. He played his high school football in Ben Davis, Indiana.
He finished last year with four total tackles but made a strong impression in the Tigers’ spring game. He intercepted Tyler Macon early in the exhibition and returned the pick for a touchdown.
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McKeithin did not appear in a game for Missouri last season. He played the 2019 campaign at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
Butler did not play last season. He was at Texas Tech for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, appearing in one game.
The redshirt junior from Columbus, Ohio has been on the Missouri roster since 2019. He didn’t play in a game during that time but made the SEC Academic Honor Roll last year.
Hibbler played in two games last season, including the Armed Forces Bowl against Army. He kept his red shirt.
Jackson had five pass breakups last season, playing 11 games as a rookie, with three starts. He came to Missouri as a three-star cornerback from Dallas, rejecting offers from Kansas, Kansas State and Washington State, among others.
Norwood joined the Tigers in the offseason after playing in 2021 at Texas A&M. He retained his redshirt with the Aggies, playing two games.
Norwood was a four-star prospect from Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The redshirt freshman played in one game last season, posting no stats against Southeast Missouri. He chose Missouri as a three-star prospect over offers from Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others.
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Cheney joins the Tigers as a true freshman this season. He played his high school prom at Whitewater in Fayetteville, Georgia.
Marcus Scott II
Another true freshman, Scott comes to Missouri as Conroe’s four-star prospect in Houston. He had four choices as a senior in high school.
Thompson was a four-star prospect coming out of St. Louis University High School. He chose the Tigers over Arkansas, Texas and Nebraska, among others.
Matt Stahl is the Missouri sports reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.