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2014 Missouri Walkthrough: Penton is confident, fast, and young

The Walkthrough series resumes for the home stretch!

Bill Carter

Aarion Penton

5'10, 185, So.

2013: 14.0 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU

Bill C.: We know that the Missouri passing game has struggled at times in fall camp, and we know that the second stringers haven't done just a ton of damage. That could be cause for concern regarding the Mizzou offense, but on the flipside (and all practice news has a flipside), it could also say very good things about Mizzou's first-string cornerbacks.

In 2014, we'll learn all we need to know about the balance between experience and athleticism. In losing starters E.J. Gaines and Randy Ponder from the 2013 squad, the Tigers are getting much, much younger at corner this year; true sophomore Aarion Penton, in fact, now leads Missouri's CBs in career tackles. This is a clear and obvious concern for the fall. But a) both Penton and John Gibson have shown dramatic upside over the last year, and b) man oh man, is this unit going to be good in 2015-16.

In the present tense, there will be breakdowns. That's just the way it is when you've got a unit this young. But experienced safeties could help with that, and if Penton, Gibson, and the backups can at least keep the glitches to a respectably low number, the defense could be quite strong once again.

countrycal: Aarion started two games last year as a true freshman while filling in for E.J. Gaines and was quite impressive. He played in all 14 games and proved he was ready to play defense in the best league in the country less than a year removed from high school. We can’t say we will not be losing anything, because E.J. was exceptional . . . but we can say we have a speedy, fearless true sophomore who will challenge any quarterback to throw very often to his side of the field and more often than not make the better play.

AlaTiger: Given what Aarion showed last year, just the normal freshman-to-sophomore progression should yield an excellent player.

switzy227: Penton and Gibson both flashed in their time filling in for an injured E.J. Gaines, and in spot duty otherwise. There is little question that this unit will suffer some setbacks in losing two long-time players, but we should see growth from both players throughout the season, and be setup for big rewards down the line.

CapnCribbs: Penton showed flashes of being a prototypical Mizzou cornerback. Keep the offense in front of you, be an excellent tackler, etc. Replacing E.J. Gaines is no easy task, but with time Penton looks like he could be a very similar player.

The Beef: Two starts may not mean much, and they certainly don't amount to much in the eyes of those previewing our team from afar, but I don't think we can undersell the value of those starts for Penton. How amazing would it be for this defense for Penton to quickly cement himself as the shutdown corner of the unit as a true soph. I know we are talking about 2014, but goodness this defense could be really good in 2015.

wooderson (code names): neon piano rat, noon ape train