Missouri landed a big addition — literally and figuratively — for its 2017 football recruiting class late Wednesday night when Fayetteville (Ark.) High defensive tackle Akial Byers committed via Twitter.
He signed with second-year coach Barry Odom’s program Thursday morning.
Originally, Byers (6-4, 265) committed to Alabama, but he signed with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College instead after it appeared he wouldn’t be eligible to enroll next fall.
It’s unclear what changed since early February, but the Crimson Tide’s loss appears to the Tigers’ gain.
Byers — who also had offers from Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Iowa State, South Carolina, Purdue and Washington State among others — is listed No. 151 overall in the 2017 ESPN 300.
He’s a four-star prospect ranked first in Arkansas and No. 13 among defensive tackles.
Scout also lists Byers as a four-star prospect, No. 13 among defensive tackles and No. 246 overall.
Rivals and 247 Sports both peg Byers as a three-star recruit. He’s listed as the No. 2 player in Arkansas and No. 24 defensive tackle overall by Rivals, while 247 Sports ranks Byers as the No. 42 defensive tackle.
Byers is a lightning-quick tackle-for-loss machine with a penchant for big hits in the backfield.
He’s got power, speed and terrific frame for the interior line with an affinity for shedding blocks and getting up the field.
Byers — who played in high school with Taylor Powell, who signed with Missouri in February after flipping his pledge from Wake Forest — isn’t expected to have any eligibility issues and should be in the defensive-line mix during fall camp.
Defensive tackle was a position of need entering the offseason for Mizzou, which lost Rickey Hatley and Josh Augusta to graduation.
Two other Tigers, Terry Beckner Jr. and Markell Utsey, are coming off an ACL surgery after season-ending knee injuries last season.
MU addressed the shortage of interior defensive linemen in February by signing five defensive tackles.
Rashad Brandon from ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., enrolled early and impressed during spring practice.
The Tigers also signed former Eastern Arizona Junior College teammates Malik Young and Walter Palmore, Alief Taylor High’s Kobie Whiteside from Houston, and Northlake Christian’s Caleb Sampson from Covington, La., in the 2017 recruiting class.
The only other defensive tackles on Mizzou’s roster are senior A.J. Logan and sophomore Tyrell Jacobs.