6’4″ 274 pounds
Honestly, Eli Drinkwitz is somewhat returning to the Gary Pinkel way of doing things, living off superstar edge rushers. While it starts with what Mizzou can do in the middle, which is something Pinkel didn’t have, the defensive ends than take advantage and make the plays, getting the sacks and forcing the bad throws.
Isaiah McGuire is obviously the star of that group. For the year, he has a team-leading five and a half sacks, two forced fumbles, 11 tackles for a loss and 31 total tackles, 20 of which were solo. Everything about the defense is set up so he can explode and make big plays.
Given what happened last week, Tennessee football has to start worrying again about protection. They allowed six sacks on the day, as they weren’t ready for Georgia’s blitz packages. Now, most of that was from the blind side, and left tackle is the Vols’ weakest spot. McGuire will usually be matchup up against Darnell Wright on the other side.
Although they can take some solace in that, is also puts pressure on Wright to make sure he comes through. Tennessee football can’t get its offense going without containing McGuire, and if they don’t Mizzou will do what it has been doing all season in the SEC.