The Missouri defensive line will get a familiar face back for Saturday’s game against Idaho when senior nose tackle A.J. Logan returns from a six-game suspension.
Logan, a Columbia native, was suspended for the first half of the season by the NCAA as part of its ongoing investigation into academic fraud allegations that began last November.
Yolanda Kumar, a former tutor in the Tigers’ Total Person Program, claimed to have performed schoolwork for more than a dozen student-athletes. The investigation is ongoing.
Logan’s role in the allegations was never specified but he said he “fully cooperated” with the university and NCAA in a statement released before his suspension.
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On Monday during his weekly news conference, Tigers coach Barry Odom praised Logan.
“I’m so proud of that guy,” he said. “He’s going to graduate in December. He’s done an unbelievable job at handling this situation, really quite honestly and frankly a lot better than I did probably.”
Odom said Logan helped the team out by working on the scout team defense while he was suspended and by volunteering to line up as an offensive lineman when Missouri was short of players.
During team meetings Sunday night, Logan approached Odom about possibly helping out on kickoff returns. Missouri safety Tavon Ross, a standout on special teams, is suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against Idaho for his targeting penalty in the second half against Georgia.
“He’s going to help on defense as well,” Odom said. “He wants to play as many snaps as he can play because he knows he doesn’t have many left. It’s pretty awesome.”
Missouri’s defensive line has multiple newcomers this year, including three true freshmen and a junior-college transfer in Walter Palmore. Logan is a fifth-year senior who has played 27 career games.
▪ Odom said the team is working on a third-down package for the defense because Missouri has done well on first and second downs but has struggled to force teams into three-and-outs. Missouri safety Cam Hilton has taken snaps at cornerback, nickelback and both safety spots.
▪ Cornerback Christian Holmes, who went down in fall camp because of a separated shoulder, is “getting close,” Odom said.
Odom compared Holmes’ injury to the shoulder injury former defensive end Charles Harris suffered a few years ago.
“If we can get him out there and he didn’t have to have contact then he can go play, but the whole contact thing is kind of slowing us down a bit,” Odom said.
▪ Missouri’s Oct. 28 game at Connecticut will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Central time and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Missouri football coach Barry Odom talks about his team's pass defense during news conference Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.Aaron Reiss The Kansas City Star