Tackling-machine Brothers is leading Mizzou defense

Brothers has been the heartbeat of Missouri's impressive defense
L.G. Patterson/AP

Missouri ranks No. 8 nationally in total defense. As is the case with any very good defensive unit, it need quality pass rushers off the edge. Missouri has that with the duo of Charles Harris and Walter Brady. 

It also needs effective play in the secondary. The Tigers are equipped with experienced standouts in Kenya Dennis and Ian Simon. 

Perhaps more than anything, a talented defense needs a quarterback at the heart of its defense. In other words, a defensive signal-caller that can make calls at the line of scrimmage. It also includes having the ability to tackle exceptionally well. 

Missouri redshirt senior linebacker Kentrell Brothers checks off every one of those boxes. 

The Oklahoma native leads the nation with 91 total tackles. He has 19 more than the next-best individual (Michael Mudoh of Tulsa). It truly demonstrates just how dominating he’s been through the first seven games of the year. 

Brothers is also averaging 13.0 tackles per contest to go along with 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two interceptions. 

At this point, it’d be shocking (barring injury) if Brothers wasn’t a finalist for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.