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Missouri Spring Football Preview: DBs

The Missouri Tigers return two of four starters from the defensive secondary last season.

New University of Missouri football head coach Barry Odom is expecting a lot from his secondary next season even though the Tigers lost two starters from last fall.

Cornerback Kenya Dennis and free safety Ian Simon have exhausted their eligibility, but cornerback Aarion Penton and strong safety Anthony Sherrils are both back to lead the secondary. 

“With Coach (Greg) Brown and Coach (Ryan) Walters coaching both spots, corners and safeties, those guys working together, the continuity of some of the guys returning,” Odom told Mizzou Network, “the language has changed a little bit, but how they play off of each other, some of our man techniques and then our zone concepts, they’ve been through this system a year so there should be some carryover. Starting Day 1 I expect them to play at a pretty high level.”

Penton, a 5-10, 190-pound senior, will go into his third season as one of the Tigers’ starting cornerbacks. He recorded 59 tackles, one interception, eight pass breakups and one forced fumble in 2015.

Sherrills, a 6-foot, 200-pound redshirt junior, was third on the team with 64 tackles last season and added six pass breakups, one interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. 

Candidates to fill the starting spot vacated by Dennis opposite Penton include redshirt senior John Gibson, juniors Logan Cheadle and Anthony Hines and redshirt sophomore Finis Stribling IV. 

Cheadle had 14 tackles, one sack and two pass breakups last season, while Gibson had 12 tackles, one interception and two pass breakups and Hines added two tackles. 

The Tigers have less depth at safety — in addition to Simon, Cortland Browning also used up his eligibility — but have some players looking to step up. Among them are junior Thomas Wilson, redshirt sophomore Tavon Ross and redshirt freshman Ronnell Perkins, who is expected to move to safety after starting his college career at wide receiver. 

Wilson had 14 tackles and one fumble recovery in 2014. 

The Tigers’ secondary will add some players this summer in signees Greg Taylor, Demarkus Acy, Christian Holmes and Jerod Alton. Taylor, a junior college transfer, and Acy are safeties, while Holmes and Alton both project as cornerbacks.  

Missouri Spring Football Previews

• QUARTERBACKS

RUNNING BACKS

• WIDE RECEIVERS

TIGHT ENDS

• OFFENSIVE LINE

DEFENSIVE LINE

LINEBACKERS

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


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