New Missouri head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz has filled the top remaining position on his coaching staff with a familiar face to Tiger fans.

Drinkwitz will retain Ryan Walters as defensive coordinator, the role he held under former head coach Barry Odom the past two seasons.

Drinkwitz told local reporters Wednesday afternoon that he was impressed with the performance of the MU defense under Walters' leadership and also encouraged that by having seven returning defensive starters for 2020, the Tigers already have an understanding of his system.

"In my evaluation of whether or not to bring an outside coordinator in or whether or not to keep coach Walters, being around him, I felt like he matched my philosophy of low ego, high output," Drinkwitz said. "Ryan is an incredibly talented football coach and I think he has the ability to relate to players. He's got an outstanding scheme. He's well respected in the SEC for what he's done defensively. And I think he's somebody that can help me and help Mizzou win a championship."

Walters came to Missouri in 2015 as safeties coach and was promoted to his current position before the end of the 2017 season. At that time, he was also given primary play-calling responsibilities for the defense.

Missouri ranked in the top 20 nationally this past season in several defensive categories, including total defense at 312 yards per game (14th in NCAA, third in Southeastern Conference) and scoring defense at 19.4 points per game (17th in NCAA, sixth in SEC).

The Tigers were also eighth in the FBS and second in the SEC with 179.3 yards passing allowed per game in 2019.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to continue to build on what we’ve done defensively this past season,” Walters said in a statement Wednesday. “We’ve got a good group of guys coming back and they’re excited to get to work. Columbia has been very good to me and my family, and we’re thrilled to be part of the community and Mizzou.

"I’m excited to work with coach Drink — he’s one of the most respected, bright minds in our profession — and I’ve been impressed with his energy, organization and vision in our short time together. I’m looking forward to competing under his leadership and getting us on top of the SEC East.”

Walters is the second member of Odom's staff retained by Drinkwitz. Assistant head coach Brick Haley agreed Sunday to stay with the Tigers.

Drinkwitz's staff is currently comprised of six assistants, including newcomers Charlie Harbison, Erik Link, D.J. Smith and Casey Woods, who all signed to come to Columbia over the past week.

Drinkwitz indicated Wednesday that David Gibbs, defensive backs coach on Odom's 2019 staff, would also return, but the program has yet to make an official announcement.

Walters is slated to have two years remaining on his contract, making $800,000 per year.