Kony Ealy, 2011-13: One of the most athletic defensive ends in Missouri history, Ealy racked up 9 1/2 sacks as a junior last season then declared early for the NFL Draft. He was a second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers. Ealy led Missouri with 14 quarterback hurries in 2013. He finished with 14 career sacks and had 27 1/2 tackles for loss over three seasons.
Michael Sam, 2010-13: Matched Aldon Smith’s single-season record with 11 1/2 sacks as a senior en route to SEC co-defensive player of the year and unanimous All-America honors last season. Sam, who finished fourth in Tigers history with 21 sacks and is seventh with 36 tackles for loss, was the MVP of a 12-2 campaign that included a breakthrough SEC East Division championship.
Aldon Smith, 2009-10: Set the Missouri single-season record with 11 1/2 sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2009 en route to Big 12 freshman of the year honors. Smith, a Raytown high graduate who finished with 17 career sacks for the Tigers, went on to become an All-Pro defensive end for the 49ers, with 42 sacks in 43 games after being picked seventh overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Brian Smith, 2003-06: Smith is Missouri’s career sack leader with 31 1/2, nine more than any other player in Tigers history. He had at least seven sacks in each of his four seasons at Missouri, including eight as a freshman in 2003 and a career-best nine as a junior two years later. Smith’s senior year and subsequent NFL career were cut short by a broken hip.
Never miss a local story.
Justin Smith, 1998-2000: Tied for second in Missouri history with 22 1/2 sacks in three seasons. Smith, a Jefferson City graduate, was the Big 12 defensive freshman of the year in 1998 and posted a then-record 11 sacks as a junior before being selected No. 4 overall by the Bengals in the 2001 NFL Draft, which tied for the highest draft pick in Tigers history. Now with the 49ers, he has 82 sacks in 13 NFL seasons, ranking ninth among active players.