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Aarion Penton has become one of Missouri’s best recent cornerbacks

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Can the senior be as good in the role of Barry Odom Cornerback as he was as a Gary Pinkel Cornerback?

Tennessee v Missouri Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Aarion Penton

5’10, 190, Sr.

St. Louis, MO
2015: 50.0 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 1 INT, 8 PBU, 1 FF
2014: 29.0 tackles, 2 TFLs, 3 INT, 10 PBU, 1 FF
2013: 14.0 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU

davidcmorrison: The most impressive thing to me about Aarion Penton has always been that, yes, he is a very good pass defender, but he’s also an impressively sound tackler for his size. He’s tough enough against the run that Missouri has had no compunction about working him into the box as a nickelback sometimes, and he’s a pretty good fit there as well. Can easily keep up with slot and inside receivers. Can hold his own against blocks and making tackles (41 of his 59 total last year were solo). Good stuff.

So where’s the room for growth? Let’s go with creating turnovers. During his Missouri career, Penton has 19 passes broken up and five interceptions, which isn’t the most opportunistic ratio. Take the two years he’s been a starter and those numbers are four interceptions against 18 passes broken up. And yes, this is perhaps picking nits. You would ideally like your feature cornerback to be breaking up a bunch of passes, as Penton has. But wouldn’t you more ideally (as if that were even a thing) want him getting his hands around a higher proportion of them?

Don’t know if it’s a mixture of bad luck, making good plays on balls that would be tough interceptions, minor deficiencies with the ball in the air or a mixture therein, but that next step could take Penton from a very good SEC corner to a great one.

Sam Snelling: Even if Aarion Penton ended up not being a phenomenal cornerback for Missouri, we would still celebrate him because he and his family gave us this:

MizzouBaby

One of the greatest gifs in Mizzou history.

But then Penton went on and became a good player. Like, a really good one. He’s done a great job locking down one side of the field for the last few years and has grown into a high level player.

But with a roster full of defensive playmakers we often overlook Aarion’s play. He’s on the smaller side but Penton has been able to hold his own and be the most impactful corner Missouri has had since all the way back to E.J. Gaines. Missouri will need Penton to be even more impactful and become a bigger playmaker now that the other side of the field has a few more question marks than they’ve had in a while.

Pboggs: Similar to how I felt when Gaines was on field, I just never worry about Penton getting destroyed by wide receivers. But as Snelling mentioned, Mizzou needs more turnovers and bigger stops by Penton this season.

Bill C.: Penton has been the perfect Gary Pinkel cornerback over the last couple of years: He supports against the run, and he’s able to not only play safe, sound coverage against the pass ... he’s also fast enough to make up ground and separate receiver from ball quite a bit.

Now we get to find out if he’s also the perfect Barry Odom cornerback. From everything we’ve read, that might mean stickier coverage on the outside and fewer run responsibilities. I mean, that seems like a pretty much perfect role for him, doesn’t it?

NCAA Football: SE Missouri State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports