Nick Bolton has become one of the best defenders in the SEC this season, and the junior linebacker for Missouri has been described by his coach as a “unicorn” for how many tackles he makes in an average game playing on special teams and defense.

But Saturday’s game with Arkansas may be one of his last in Columbia, if not the last if the Georgia game is not made up. The first glimpse came when the program tweeted a list of players to be honored on Saturday during Senior Day activities, and Bolton was on the list. Bolton has not publicly shared his plans for next season, but leaving for the NFL would not be a surprise.

The Frisco, Texas native who is listed at 6-feet and 232 pounds is mentioned by some NFL mock drafts as being taken near the end of the first round. Bolton is seventh in the SEC in tackles with 76 tackles, including 17 tackles against Tennessee and 14 tackles against South Carolina. Bolton also has 2 sacks, 7.5 tackles for a loss and 4 passes broken up.

Bolton has built on a great 2019 season when he earned a season-grade of 91.1 from Pro Football Focus, which made him the SEC’s top-graded linebacker. He also earned All-SEC First Team honors from both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press after posting a team-best 107 tackles.

It’s safe to say Bolton has exceeded expectations from when he was a consensus 3-star prospect coming out of high school.