2013 Spring Position Preview: Defensive Back

The Missouri Tigers will open spring football practice 2013 looking to fill some spots in the defensive backfield left open do to graduation and looking to increase production there.

As Missouri heads into the spring, the Tigers return one starting corner, and one starting safety. I’d say that it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will unseat senior E.J. Gaines from his starting position at corner. And, it’s also unlikely that the Tigers will come up with two safeties this spring who are better than junior Braylon Webb.

The focus this spring will be the competition for the other starting corner and starting safety jobs. And, there will also be an emphasis on establishing depth at both corner and safety.

Entering the spring, the starting corner opposite Gaines will almost certainly be senior Randy Ponder, who manned the number three CB spot, and played extensively in Missouri’s dime package, last season. During the spring, Ponder will be challenged by a handful of young, talented corners. Among those challengers are junior Xavier Smith, sophomores Ernest Payton and David Johnson, and RSF John Gibson. Will Ponder fend off the challengers? Are Johnson and Payton ready to take charge? How quickly will Gibson move up the depth chart? It is with great interest that I will be watching this competition.

The competition at safety will be just as interesting. There are several questions to be answered this spring. Will sophomore Ian Simon or senior Matt White begin the spring as the starter alongside of Webb? Will sophomore Cortland Browning make a move, and challenge for that starting job? Are either of junior Daniel Easterly or RSF Chaston Ward ready to move up and challenge the two-deep?

What happens in the safety competition this spring will set the stage for what will occur in August. This spring offers an opportunity for one or more of Missouri’s safeties to establish themselves in the eyes of the coaches, as well as the opportunity to gain valuable practice reps working with the first and second-team defenses. It’s also critical in laying the groundwork for Missouri’s upcoming season. The Tigers need a couple of their young safeties to step it up and significantly improve their play on the field.

SS 21 Ian Simon 5’11" 190 (S0) 17 Matt White 6'0" 195 (S)

19 Chaston Ward 6'1" 205 (RSF)

10 Brock Bondurant 6’2” 215 (RSF)

FS 9 Braylon Webb 6'0" 205 (J)

5 Cortland Browning 6'1" 215 (So) 4 Daniel Easterly 6'4" 215 (J) 45 Tyler Davis 6'0" 200 (S)

18 Michael Godas 6’0” 210 (So)

CB 31 E.J. Gaines 5'10" 195 (S) 26 Xavier Smith 5'11" 185 (J) 13 John Gibson 5’11” 185 (RSF)

46 Jared Edwards 5’10” 195 (RSF)

CB

7 Randy Ponder 5'10" 190 (S) 28 Ernest Payton 6'2" 210 (So) 3 David Johnson 5’11” 190 (So)

29 Zach Edwards 5’9” 190 (RSF)

22 David Sowell 5’10” 185 (RSF)


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