The Missouri Tigers watched as DC Ryan Walters left for Illinois this offseason. It was part of a staff shakeup on the defensive side of the ball.

On Thursday, though, they officially announced former NFL DC and former head coach Steve Wilks as their new defensive coordinator.

In a press release announcing the hire, coach Eli Drinkwitz praised Wilks’ character and history in the pro ranks:

“We are thrilled to welcome Steve Wilks and his family to Mizzou,” Drinkwitz said. “Steve has a strong reputation as a man of character and a leader of men. His experiences both as an NFL head coach and defensive coordinator are exactly what we need at Mizzou. I’m looking forward to Steve putting his fingerprints on our defense as we continue to elevate Mizzou Football to greater heights.”

Wilks said Drinkwitz has been on his radar for a while, praising what Drinkwitz accomplished at Wilks’ alma mater, Appalachian State:

“As I took time off to reflect over the past year, I wanted to find a good program with great people that was moving in the right direction, and without a doubt, Mizzou Football has all of that,” said Wilks. “I reached out to Coach Drinkwitz when he got the job at Appalachian State as an alum, and Coach Harbison is a good friend of mine who spoke volumes about the culture and people at Mizzou. Mizzou has things moving in a great direction and I wanted to be a part of that.

“I’ve had a reputation of building relationships everywhere I’ve been, from college to the NFL. I pride myself on being a great teacher and communicator and having the ability to get the most out of my players. Players like Josh Norman, who developed from a fifth-round draft pick into an All-Pro selection, is just one example of someone who I was able to help develop. In college, you must develop players, and I believe I can bring that to Mizzou, along with being a great communicator and teacher.”

How will Wilks fare in 2021 calling Mizzou’s defense? We’ll find out as he gets his system in place this spring.