PowerMizzou.com will get Tiger fans ready for fall camp like no one else. Camp opens on Thursday, August 4th. Between now and then, we will provide an in-depth preview at every position on the roster. Today, we look at the secondary.
This is the only spot on the field where Missouri has to replace more than one starter. Three of last year's top four are gone. Kenji Jackson is the lone returner and will start at one safety spot. Matt White is atop the depth at the other safety, but should get a serious push from Tavon Bolden (who was listed third for reasons unknown). At corner, Kip Edwards played plenty last year and should be joined by E.J. Gaines, who is coming off a stellar freshman season.
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Bolden, Kenronte Walker and redshirt freshman Braylon Webb should be in the mix at safety along with White and Jackson. At corner, Trey Hobson and Robert Steeples bring plenty of experience with Tristen Holt and Xavier Smith coming off redshirt seasons. The Tigers also signed four more defensive backs in the 2011 class.
What to Like
Edwards was probably Missouri's best cover man last year and whispers around the program are that Gaines could end up the best corner of the Pinkel era. Those two should allow Missouri to be plenty aggressive on defense and go with man coverage quite a bit. Jackson rebounded off a disappointing sophomore season to play well as a junior. There is plenty of depth at the corner position with Hobson and Steeples having been around for quite some time.
What to Wonder About
What happens at the second safety? Does anyone separate from the pack and prove a strong replacement for Jarrell Harrison? It is really the lone question in the secondary. While Gaines and Edwards didn't start, they are proven players and inexperience should not be a major concern.
This isn't the strongest position on the defense, but with Gaines, Edwards and Jackson, Missouri is in good shape. The emergence of Bolden, White or Walker will answer just how good the secondary can be this season.
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