COLUMBIA, Mo. • Cornerback Ernest Payton and defensive lineman Dequinton Osborne have left the Missouri football team for undisclosed personal reasons, team spokesman Chad Moller confirmed Monday.
Payton, a redshirt junior, suffered a season-ending torn knee ligament last August while competing for a starting job in the secondary. He gradually returned to drills during spring practices but was expected to be fully ready for the start of preseason camp and figured to be a contender for playing time at a position that lost two senior starters. Payton (6-2, 210) played in just four games at MU, posting four tackles. The College Station, Texas, native shuffled between corner and safety his first three years at MU but settled in at corner last August before injuring his knee.
Osborne was a late addition to MU’s 2013 recruiting class, joining the team last summer from Grand Prairie, Texas. The 6-foot, 310-pounder redshirted last season and was part of a deep collection of underclassmen at defensive tackle during spring drills.
Payton’s departure leaves the Tigers with five scholarship players who worked at cornerback during the spring: projected starters in sophomores Aarion Penton and John Gibson, plus junior Kenya Dennis and David Johnson and freshman Logan Cheadle. Redshirt freshman Anthony Sherrils opened spring practices as a cornerback but moved to safety. Incoming freshmen Finis Stribling and Raymond Wingo are also expected to play cornerback.
Mizzou is still stocked at defensive tackle, returning projected senior starters Matt Hoch and Lucas Vincent, plus backup sophomores Josh Augusta, Harold Brantley, Rickey Hatley and Evan Winston, along with redshirt freshmen A.J. Logan and Nate Crawford.