Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Braylon Webb isn’t the loudest player on the Missouri football team.
But the strong safety from Gilmer, Texas, is making himself heard in his senior season as he takes charge as one of the team’s four captains.
“Braylon, he’s like a coach back there,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “He’s been back there so often. He’s always accountable. He’s always reliable. He’s a really good athlete. He makes plays. He’s a good leader, certainly by example.”
Example was about the only way Webb led before this season. Linebacker Michael Scherer referred to Webb as a “quiet genius,” and called him the least talkative teammate he has had at Missouri since Zaviar Gooden.
“He’s one of those guys you’ve kind of got to go out of your way to talk to him,” Scherer said of Webb, “but once you do that, you’ll become good friends, and you realize how funny of a guy he is, even though he’s quiet.”
Webb lets his play do the talking for him, and he could do worse in choosing a mouthpiece. Against Vanderbilt on Saturday, he saved Missouri from its fourth game without a turnover in five contests with his fourth interception — best on the team and third-best in the Southeastern Conference. The pick was Webb’s third in two games.
Webb, who did not attend this week’s Media Day, is also tied for third on the team with 45 tackles.
Scherer said this is nothing new for Webb, who leads SEC safeties with 38 career starts.
“Braylon Webb never does anything wrong,” Scherer said. “Every week it gets posted up in the locker room, everybody’s production points and the percentages. I don’t know if I’ve seen one for Braylon that’s lower than a 95 percent, which, I’ve never came close to a 95 percent. It’s pretty ridiculous how good he is. He helps direct everybody. He’s just always in the right spot.”
Webb’s four interceptions are already a career high, as are his 89 yards on interception returns. He has contributed in all four of his non-redshirt seasons, recording at least 33 tackles each year.
“Everybody’s happy to see Braylon succeed,” fellow safety Ian Simon said. “Because it’s evident. It’s obvious how hard he works and what he’s put into this program the past five years.”
And, wouldn’t you know it, Webb is actually starting to become a vocal presence.
“I think when he got voted captain, he realized how much respect everyone on the team has for him, and that allowed him to kind of have more of a voice and speak a little bit more,” Scherer said. “He’s quiet off the field, but when we get on the field, he can really help people out.”
Simon has noticed the change as well.
“We try to get (Webb) to be more vocal, and he’s definitely done it on his own,” he said. “This is definitely the most Bray has ever talked since I’ve been here, but I think he’s embraced the captain role.
“He understands that there are times when he needs to be vocal, and he has taken advantage of those times.”