Steeples ready for a starting role at Mizzou

Gary Pinkel has said a few times that there are new stars on his team that no one knows about. Is red shirt freshman Robert Steeples one of those stars. The standout defender is hoping for playing time this spring and fall. Go inside this story from to get his thoughts of the spring season so far.

Cornerback Robert Steeples was one of the top recruits for the Tigers in 2008, but he spent his first season at Mizzou as a redshirt.

This spring, Steeples is looking to compete for playing time in a crowded Mizzou secondary.

So far, Steeples has looked ready for the challenge of winning playing time.

"It's pretty early in the spring," Steeples said. "Right now I'm just knocking some dust off, restoring my memory on the fundamental things, and I'm getting ready to build on that."

One thing I have noticed about Steeples in the first 2 days of practice is his ability to shift his hips. He shows nice change of direction when dealing with fast receivers.

Steeples has the height (6-2) and the speed (4.5 40 time) to stay with some of the best receivers in the Big XII.

Right now, Steeples is listed as the second cornerback on one side, just behind last year's only returning starter, Carl Gettis. He is definitely excited at the opportunity to get a lot of playing time.

"I'm just trying to be a lockdown cornerback," Steeples told "I want to be a jack-of-all-trades, via the hit, via the coverage. I'm just trying to be a leader, eventually."

Steeples spent all last season as a redshirt, but he feels like he shed the redshirt title a long time ago.

"I felt that my redshirt year ended at the end of last football season, so now I've just been working towards the best player I can be," he said.

The Tigers defense struggled a lot last season, so they will need good production from a lot of young players. Watch out for Steeples to be one of the young players who gets a lot of playing time on the defensive side of the ball.

He has all the skills to be a good cornerback for the Tigers.

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