clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tyler Hunt and Trevon Walters are trying to find their niche

The Mizzou backfield is pretty crowded this year, but never forget the underdogs.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Hunt (5'11, 210, Sr.)

2014: 2 carries, 9 yards (4.5); 4 kick returns, 19.5 average

Jack Peglow: A big special teams contributor, Hunt should continue to quietly and successfully go about his job. That job, of course, being to do everything that he can with the opportunities given to him to put the Tigers in a position to win the football game.

The Beef: Tyler Hunt raised a couple of eyebrows at the Spring Game later in the afternoon, but I think some of that had to do with the fact that none of the next five guys were on the field or campus and we did not have much left to show off at that point. I think some folks would be comfortable with Hunt as the third RB, but I just don’t see it happening.

I think some folks would also be comfortable with Hunt as the short-yardage back, but considering we were 13-for-16 on fourth downs last year, in what were presumably many short yardage situations, I don’t see that either. I do see Hunt getting some time in fourth quarters if the game allows and on special teams though, and I see him being productive in both situations.

Kacc56: Guys like Hunt are always important to the team, despite their little fanfare. Hunt is a solid and experienced special teams player, who ran well at the spring game. He has good size and sees the field well. Hunt's size also makes him a potential option in a goal line situation.

Fullback U.: Tyler Hunt earned a scholarship at Mizzou through a lot of special teams work and has put himself in a position to compete for carries in a crowded backfield. He’s currently third on the depth chart and while there’s loads of potential behind him, most are inexperienced which gives him an edge. He’s also got what some might call "grustle," a combination of grit and hustle but he can move the ball effectively running or catching and I could see him providing at least one "wow" play this fall.

Bill C.: It's really easy to give former walk-ons lip service that comes across as a backhanded compliment. "He's a great effort guy, really effective, won't ever see the field." That kind of thing. But because of the position he plays, it's hard to say anything about Tyler Hunt that strays too far from that. In his minimal touches -- a couple of garbage-time carries and some "opponents are trying to kick away from Marcus Murphy" kick returns -- he looks damn solid, running aggressively and reaching a high speed in just a few steps. If he were a receiver with a similar level of competence, he would almost certainly be in the rotation.

But he's a running back, and Mizzou's got a lot of pretty exciting running backs. If Ish Witter develops as we expect him to, if Chase Abbington begins to live up to recruiting hype, and if Morgan Steward continues to heal up, Hunt's got to pass a lot of exciting guys to see the field. That probably limits him to a few touches this fall, even if those touches are impressive.

Trevon Walters (5'10, 200, RSFr.)

Fullback U.: Trevon Walters suffered an ACL injury and apparently has been handling rehab very well -- Gary Pinkel has spoken several times about trying to get him back around September. The obvious concern is Walters has already used a redshirt season, so if he can’t provide Mizzou with depth they may be more likely to burn the redshirt season of someone like Marquise Doherty or Ryan Williams.

The Beef: Another member of the walking wounded from this past spring, Walters, who was potentially primed for a nice chance to move up the depth chart, was derailed by a knee injury. Time table in the media (per the coaches) seem to have Walters perhaps getting back into game shape by around September or October, so I don’t think this coming season is a total write-off, but it very well may be.

Walters has a lot of potential (in my eyes at least) in coming from a powerhouse program in Florida, but the backfield (even with the loss of Hansbrough in 2016) is going to be pretty crowded, even for an offense which tends to run at least three (if not four) RB’s during the year. Here’s hoping Walters can press the reset button cleanly come January and make a run at a spot for next fall.

Kacc56: It's never easy to deal with an injury like that. If he's ready to play, he could develop into a nice runner off the bench, but he may be better served making sure he gets fully healthy. I loved his film from high school, he showed great vision and the ability to make one cut and get upfield immediately.

Bill C.: Walters was more highly-rated than Ish Witter in high school, and we heard a lot of exciting things about him in fall camp. It was actually a bit of a surprise when the staff chose to play Witter and redshirt Walters.

There's no real rush for Trevon, though. Five years is a long time to make an impression. Marcus Murphy was pretty far behind Henry Josey in 2010, then missed 2011 with injury, but he still had more than enough skill and potential to play a big special teams role in 2012, then make a difference in both special teams and offense in 2013-14. If he's healthy and as skilled as advertised, he'll find a role, even if it isn't until 2016.