Last month, ShowMeMizzou.com was able to get a look at the Missouri freshmen, all of whom spent their first season at Missouri on the sidelines, on the practice field, and in the weight room. One of those who has shown some promise during his first few months on campus is CB Earnest Payton 6'4" 205.
After a freshman season spent going up against Missouri's first and second-team offense as a member of the scout team, Payton has shown promise at the cornerback position for the Tigers.
"I'm making a little progress (at corner)," said Payton. "It's getting better every time. They're teaching me the ropes and stuff. It's getting better and better as the days go on."
Payton said that he has improved his foot speed, and his press-coverage ability.
Payton told me that red-shirting was a good way to go for him.
"I'm glad that I did red-shirt," said Payton. "It went good! The older guys showed me the ropes, and it gave me a chance to feel my way around everything. There wasn't too much pressure on me. I was just going with it, (playing against the starters every day)."
Payton emphasized that playing against the regulars every day on the scout team is a good introduction to big-time college football.
There was some talk about Payton possibly moving to safety, because of his size. But based on his first season's practice performance, he's staying at corner for now.
"Yeah. I think I'm going to stay at corner," said Payton. I'm starting to love (playing) corner, now. But if they move me to safety, I'm willing to play safety."
I asked Payton about his goals?
"My first goal is to work hard," replied Payton. "My next goal is to be the starter. I want to bring it. I want to play for the Missouri Tigers. I want to step on that field."
Payton said that he's working on learning the various coverages well enough that he doesn't have to think about the assignments when he's on the field. He said that he knows the coverages, but that he needs to increase the speed with which he recognizes and processes his assignments. He said that he wants to get to where things "click in" at a faster pace.
"It can change real fast," explained Payton, talking about the instant in which assignments can change at the line of scrimmage. "It's all new to me, so I've got to get it down."
"When I step on that field, I want coach to trust me that I will succeed," explained Payton. "I'm going to learn everything that I can. It's all about building that trust. If the coach doesn't trust you, then there's no point in getting on that field. So, I'm trying to build that trust, so that I can get on that field."