It looks like Duron Singleton will be playing at Missouri this fall, after all.
Missouri team spokesman Chad Moller confirmed Saturday that Singleton, a three-star safety from Fresno City Community College according to Rivals, has joined the team. Moller said Singleton, who was recently cleared by the NCAA, will start practcing Monday.
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The announcement came 10 days after Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Singleton would not be enrolling at MU for personal reasons, a decree that was backed up by safeties coach Alex Grinch a day later.
"There's high standards and sometimes guys disappoint you," Grinch said at the time.
However, it now appears that whatever Singleton’s issue was is now water under the bridge, as the 6-foot-1, 210-pound New Orleans native is set to join a group of safeties that could use his help. Junior Braylon Webb, a 12-game starter ago, returns but neither he nor senior Matt White, the other projected starter, intercepted a pass last season.
Webb broke up two passes in Saturday's scrimmage but was burned on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Maty Mauk to Jaleel Clark, who hauled in the pass down the sideline and eluded Webb as he strode to the end zone.
White, by the way, missed Saturday’s scrimmage with a strained groin, while his replacement, sophomore Ian Simon, didn’t record a pass breakup or an interception.
Singleton, who also had offers from Wisconsin, Syracuse and Memphis, racked up 87 tackles and four interceptions for Fresno C.C. last season.
Boehm bothered by botched snaps
After all the snapping problems Missouri had out of the shotgun last season, sophomore Evan Boehm knew he was putting a bit of a bull’s-eye on himself by moving to center this spring.
On Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Lee’s Summit West graduate – who started all 12 games at guard as a true freshman last season – got a taste of what life could be like at his new position, as he was responsible for two botched snaps that derailed the offense.
Boehm spoke to the media after he spent several minutes correcting the issue with offensive coordinator Josh Henson and offensive line coach Bruce Walker.
"I was upset at myself so I went out there and I snapped and we got it corrected," Boehm said.
Pinkel said he still has confidence in Boehm.
"Oh yeah, (he’s been) real consistent, he was doing really well," said Pinkel, who added that expectations are high. "We expect him to be very good at doing it – we should go through a whole season without a bad snap. That’s the truth."
Help is on the way?
Pinkel said a handful of true freshmen could contribute this season, even mentioning cornerback Aarion Penton by name.
Penton, a graduate of Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, earned an opportunity to play with the No. 2 defense Saturday because top backup John Gibson sat out with a sprained ankle. The 5-foot-10 Penton caught his coach’s eye by sticking with 6-foot-4 senior L’Damian Washington on a go route and breaking up the pass, even though he was called for pass interference.
"Aarion, he made some plays," Pinkel said. "He was covering a veteran receiver and he was with him the whole time, so that was certainly encouraging and positive."
Penton, a three-star prospect, was one of two true freshmen to play with the No. 2 defense on Saturday, along with another three-star prospect, 6-foot-4 defensive tackle Josh Augusta.
Augusta did not have a tackle or a sack, but Pinkel hinted the defensive line is one position that could be fortified by a freshman or two, and defensive end Kony Ealy admitted he’s impressed with the Peoria, Ill., product.
"Augusta, he’s a big, strong freshman," Ealy said. "You’ve seen his highlight tapes…he’s playing receiver and he’s a d-tackle. Come on, now. He’s another Sheldon. Just a little bit more to learn."
Yes, Ealy just compared Augusta to all-SEC defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who was taken in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
"Sheldon is just more alert, more agile," Ealy said. "But as he (Augusta) gets older and matures more, especially with learning the plays and stuff like that, he’s gonna be effective."
Ealy said Augusta’s conditioning is key to his development.
"He was at 330, he’s down to 311 now so he’s made tremendous improvement," Ealy said. "If he plays this year, he’s gonna make a big impact on our (team)."
One last freshman to keep an eye on is three-star receiver J’Mon Moore, who caught four passes for 39 yards Saturday.
"J’Mon Moore, a receiver out there, he looked pretty good," Pinkel said. "He only got a few snaps but you saw him accelerating and catching the ball."
Printz and Hosick developing
Three-star quarterbacks Eddie Printz and Trent Hosick may be freshmen, but quarterbacks coach Andy Hill said the experience of going through spring ball has been extremely help for both players, who currently sit fourth and fifth on the depth chart, respectively.
"Both those guys were impressive for various reasons," Hill said. "They do a great job of communication. They’re not quiet, they’re not bashful. They take over when they’re in there and they have made plays all through fall camp."
"Have we been consistent every single time? No. But they make a lot of things happen where you’re going ‘OK, that’s pretty sharp.’ So we’re pretty impressed with both guys. Being here last January really helped them because they’re pretty comfortable with the calls."
Of the two, Printz clearly had the better day Saturday, completing 15-of-16 passes for 97 yards. Hosick, who graduated from Staley, completed 3-of-10 passes for 21 yards and an interception.
KC kids kill it
Two Kansas City natives earned high marks from Pinkel on Saturday, as sophomore kicker Andrew Baggett (Lee’s Summit North) made four-of-five field goals while junior punter Christian Brinser (Liberty) had a sterling 43.5 average on four punts, including three that landed inside the 20.
"I thought Brinser really punted the ball well and I thought Baggett did a good job kicking," Pinkel said. "So I felt really good about that."
Baggett made kicks from 20, 24, 36 and 41 yards out. His lone miss was a 32-yarder.
Aside from Gibson and White, sophomore receiver Wes Leftwich (hamstring) sat out Saturday’s scrimmage with an injury. Walk-on receiver Sheldon Gerau suffered a sprained ankle during the scrimmage, but other than that, Missouri came out of the scrimmage unscathed.
“We came out very, very healthy,” Pinkel said. “Gerau sprained his ankle but other than that, we had nothing. So that’s awesome.”