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2014 Missouri Walkthrough: Safety unit loaded with athletic freshmen

They will have to wait their turn, but Missouri has a foursome of exciting, athletic freshmen at the safety position.

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Anthony Sherrils

6'0, 190, RSFr.

Bill C.: Anthony Sherrils is one of the fastest players on the team and could play a key role in special teams in 2014. His speed made us assume he would end up at cornerback, but he made the move to safety this spring. This could mean one of two things -- he is a potentially ferocious nickel back and/or (in theory) safety starter in 2015 and beyond, or he is an athlete without a true position. We'll find out soon enough. If he's the latter, he could still become a special teams star and potential second-stringer; if he's the former, holy moly is Mizzou's secondary going to be loaded for years to come.

countrycal: After sitting out as a redshirt last year, and entering spring practice as a cornerback, Anthony (6’0", 190 pounds) showed up on the fall depth chart as third at strong safety. It appears he is on the move in the Tiger depth chart and may very well pass a player or two above him in order to get some playing time this year.

The Beef: There's been some decent talk about this young man. He's someone else (like Chaston Ward and Shaun Rupert) who needs to contribute when he can this year in part to set up his place in the lineup for next season and beyond.

wooderson: shy rental rhinos, sly hairnet horns, horny tin slasher

Bill C.: These anagrams fill me with consternation.

Shaun Rupert

6'1, 185, RSFr.

Bill C.: By most accounts a more natural safety than Sherrils, Rupert will likely also be a special teams guy in 2014 barring injury above him on the depth chart. Mizzou's gotten away with playing smaller safeties before, but if Rupert can get up to at least 195 or so, he could be well-positioned for quality playing time in 2015.

countrycal: Shaun entered the fall as third on the free safety depth chart, probably relegating him to special team action barring a real breakthrough in the coming weeks.

The Beef: I talked about him when discussing Cortland Browning. Can he make a run this year to help cement his place in the years to come, or does he risk getting passed up by incoming players to come?

wooderson: urethra puns

Tavon Ross

6'0, 200, Fr.

Bill C.: I understand that the level of competition was less than stellar, but it's been a long time since I was as excited by a defensive signee's film as I was by Tavon Ross'. When other schools came courting him late in the recruiting process, I totally understood why, but it made me really nervous. This dude has prototypical safety size, and he was an Ed Reed for his level of competition, seemingly returning every interception he nabbed for a touchdown. He's raw, but he's got insane potential. Thanks to clearinghouse issues preventing him from attending a majority of fall practice. one has to assume he'll redshirt, but beginning with (hopefully) bowl practices in December, I'll be reading about him closely.


countrycal: If Tavon is indeed the special athlete he has been heralded to be, there is always room for exceptional athleticism on the special teams while a young player progresses up the depth chart.

The Beef: [Referencing that this was the first player Bill C. wrote about in Walkthrough prep] All I know is that you must be impressive for Bill to talk about you before he talks about everyone else (except for his Tay Jackson reference when talking about Marcus Murphy). This young man appears to have "it" in the backfield and his recruiting was a solid win for the Tigers once all was said and done.


Fascinating film
Best outside of the big three?
Fall practice will show

wooderson: savor snot, torso vans

Thomas Wilson

5'11, 185, Fr.

[Note: this was written before Wilson's name showed up on the depth chart for the South Dakota State game.]

Bill C.: Practice reports suggest that Thomas Wilson has made more plays than any other Mizzou defensive back in fall practice. Upperclassmen have raved about his athleticism. While Tavon Ross and Greg Taylor (an East St. Louis product who didn't qualify and will come to Columbia after a couple of JUCO years) garnered a lot of attention for their film and athleticism, it could very well be Wilson who sees the field first among this group. Might that happen in 2014?

countrycal: I would expect a redshirt for Thomas.

The Beef: I would expect Cal is correct.

Bill C.: Okay, well, fine.

wooderson: monolith saws, womanish slot, twins moolahs