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Thomas Wilson has drawn major praise in Missouri fall camp

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Mizzou needed someone to step up at safety opposite Anthony Sherrils. It appears Wilson is doing just that.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Wilson

5’10, 190, Jr.

Suwanee, GA
2015: 11.0 tackles, 0.5 TFL
2014: 13.0 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU

davidcmorrison: Somebody’s got to take the place of Ian Simon who, though he wasn’t always the flashiest, was a calming, steadying influence at the back of the Tigers’ defense, in the Braylon Webb mold.

Anthony Sherrils could fill that role, but he’s really best when he’s being a little reckless. The risk/reward quotient falls in the favor of “risk” with an athlete of Sherrils’ caliber. So Missouri needs a foil to play boring, consistent foil to Sherrrils’ wildcard.

Wilson’s been thrown into the fire as both a freshman and sophomore, though the majority of his snaps both years came in the box as a nickelback. Simon made a similar transition from Nickel to safety in 2014 and acquitted himself well over the next two years, and I can see Wilson following that path.

Wilson has a good size/speed profile and has been a prolific special teams tackler, as well, in his two seasons with the Tigers, so he doesn’t shy from the fray. Playing opposite Sherrils would necessitate more pass and centerfield responsibilities and, as long as he’s bust-averse, Wilson should do nicely there.

Sam Snelling: I was a bit surprised by reports that were excessively glowing about Wilson’s presence at the back of the defense, but it’s nice to hear someone taking over for Ian Simon in the way that Simon was valuable a year ago.

Wilson, in limited exposure, has always been a solid defender. He puts himself in the right place, he wraps up, and he brings ball carriers down. Which is the exact guy that Missouri needs opposite Sherrils, who would be allowed to be more of the heat-seeking missile. Playing as a true freshman and being a reliable backup as a sophomore seems to have prepared him to understand what he needs to do this season, be a consistent performer at the back end of a dynamic and stout defense.

Bill C.: I was pretty excited about Wilson’s prospects for playing time last year, but they didn’t really materialize. Sherrils took a leap into the starting lineup, and Wilson didn’t get many opportunities to stand out. But Mizzou really needed a safety to take charge opposite Sherrils in fall camp, and by all accounts Wilson has done just that.

Honestly, I think Wilson might be more of a natural play-maker than Sherrils is — he’s not as fast but might have better instincts. That could allow Barry Odom and Demontie Cross to get creative in how they use this safety tandem. Regardless, it’s exciting that he appears to be stepping up, and it’s hard to find too many holes in the Mizzou starting defensive lineup.