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Two freshman safeties could play special teams roles for Missouri in 2016

Ronnell Perkins and DeMarkus Acy probably won’t see a lot of time at safety, but that special teams unit needs some shoring up.

Ronnell Perkins

6’0, 185, RSFr.

St. Louis, MO

davidcmorrison: This is the year for Perkins to get involved on special teams with an eye toward working into the rotation in 2017. In limited views during scrimmages, Perkins showed a penchant for lighting his man up as well as losing him at times, which is an encouraging sign for his fear factor but a discouraging sign for his dependability on the back end.

He’s got time. He’s one of those long, quick athletes that safeties coaches love to load their rooms up with.

Sam Snelling: This group of safeties has a load of talent, so it’s easy to see how somebody like Perkins could get lost in the mix. But I wouldn’t overlook him being able to surprise and contribute on special teams and even steal snaps from some of the higher ranked guys. Perkins is a phenomenal athlete who could have played on either side of the ball so it will be interesting to see how he develops as a defensive back.

Bill C.: It’s a first-world problem, but one of the problems with having your classes nicely balanced in a given unit is, you start to forget about some of the freshmen in the pipeline. Mizzou has two potentially strong junior safeties in Anthony Sherrils and Thomas Wilson and three intriguing sophomores in Cam Hilton, Greg Taylor, and Tavon Ross. Nobody’s going to play six safeties unless they have to, so it might be a while before we get a nice view of what Ronnell Perkins is capable of. But as David said, he seems incredibly physical, and that’s a good start.

DeMarkus Acy

6’2, 185, Fr.

Dallas, TX

davidcmorrison: Acy was an ace (oh, I’m just delightful) 200-meter runner in high school, which tells you two things. One, good initial burst. Two, he can maintain a sprint. And, if we’re talking about long, quick athletes with Perkins...yo. This guy is probably what Ryan Walters would draw on a dry-erase board if you asked him to sketch his ideal safety.

I hope he’s a better artist than me, though. Mine would just be a waving, smiling stick figure.

So add that (his athletic profile, not my drawing skills) to the fact that, beyond Sherrils, the safety depth isn’t exactly set in stone seems to set up for Acy seeing the field in some capacity as a true freshman. Whether it’s ranging downfield on punt/kick coverage, getting into the mix on returns or even seeing some garbage-time snaps early in the season with an eye toward a possibly larger role later on, he’s got plenty of avenues to take if he wants to avoid a redshirt.

Bill C.: I’ve seen that he might indeed skip the redshirt, which confuses me a little bit because I just don’t see him getting rotation time.

And then I remember how shoddy Missouri’s return units were last year. If Acy can block (or, hell, if he can return a punt), rip that redshirt off and don’t think twice.

Sam Snelling: Did you know DeMarkus is related to Quincy Acy, the former Baylor power forward who is 6’7 and 240 pounds? Now you do. I don’t think DeMarkus is going to get quite that big, but if he equals the athletic achievement of Quincy in football then I’ll be quite happy with how it turned out. Quincy was drafted in the 2nd round after a productive four year career that included 2 elite 8’s and 100 wins. Not bad. Your move, DeMarkus.

Bill C.: So basically, this is an approximate visual of your starting Mizzou strong safety in 2018:

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sacramento Kings Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Good to know.