College football took a devastating hit at the Cornerback position with the loss of Jalen Ramsey of Florida State, Vernon Hargreaves III of Florida, Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech (although injured in 2015), Mackensie Alexander of Clemson and Eli Apple of Ohio State
But, there are some potentially very good players coming up. This list is subject to huge changes as the season gets underway.
1. Jalen Tabor – Florida: Suspended recently, but he should be back and he’s about as good as they come at Cornerback. Tabor has good size at 6-0, 190and he’s a ball hawk with 4 interceptions in 2015 and 2 of those he returned for Touchdowns. Tabor also broke up 14 passes and is good in run support. Tabor started as a true freshman and every year since. Probably, he will be the first Cornerback taken in the 2017 NFL Draft after he leaves early.
2. Adoree Jackson – USC: Super explosive player that makes a difference on both sides of the ball and on special teams. He’s a great cover Cornerback as well as a play maker at Wide Receiver and an incredible return guy on punts, or kicks. He appears to have Deion Sanders type of talent. I saw on ESPN, that some geek listed Jackson as one of his overrated players. Play some chess, geek, Jackson is a talent. Yes, he did get beat by Notre Dame’s Fuller on deep pass last year. But, Jackson bought
on a fake and never caught Fuller from behind which not many others could do, either. Jackson is a top talent with great closing speed on the ball. As a true freshman, Jackson returned 2 Kickoffs for Touchdowns and as a sophomore, he returned 2 punts for scores. Last season he caught 27 passes and two scores. He had only 1 Interception, but of course, he returned that 1 for a Touchdown. He totaled 35 tackles and broke up 8 passes.
3. Jourdan Lewis – Michigan: Lewis is not a big Cornerback, but the Wolverines sic him on every top Wide Receiver they face. The Detroit native generally came through with flying colors which was proven by his 20 pass break ups in 2015. He was one of the team’s best tacklers a year ago with 52 which is good for a Corner and he had 2 Interceptions, 1 of which he returned for a Touchdown. The Wolverines coaching staff also used Lewis on Kick returns and he averaged over 25 yards on 15 returns. Lewis is very scrappy and aggressive and he covers ground quickly. He is only around 5-10, 175 and probably won’t get a lot bigger which will cost him money on draft day, but Jourdan Lewis is a player.
4. Desmond King -Iowa: What? Another big 10 Cornerback here? The 5-11, 200 King could even be rated closer to the top since he had an incredible junior season. Like Lewis, King is also from Detroit and he was also very productive. He had 72 tackles on the season and he was second in the nation in Interceptions with a very impressive 8. he returned one pick for a Touchdown and he broke
up 13 passes. King also was the chief return man for the Iowa Hawkeyes averaging over 24 yards per kick return and 14 yards per punt return. Like Jourdan Lewis, Desmond King elected to return for his senior season at Iowa which is great for college football.
5. MJ Stewart – North Carolina: Arlington, Virginia native Stewart was one of the best players on the Tar Heel defense a year ago. He was 4th on the team’s leader board in tackles with 62 which is high for a Cornerback and may say something about the front 7 of North Carolina last season. Stewart also picked off 4 passes and broke up 14 more. He’s 5-11, 200 and solidly built with the ability to play the run and the pass with equal fury. Stewart is a man to keep an eye on for the 2016 season.
5. Cameron Sutton – Tennessee: Sutton is from Jonesboro, Georgia and he’s possibly the top punt return man in the country. He’s a gifted athlete and also a top Cornerback returning for his senior season at Tennessee. The Volunteers have been right on the edge of great things the past 2 seasons and this may be the year of the Vol. Sutton had 28 total tackles a year ago, with 6 passes broken up and an Interception. He averaged nearly 19 yards per punt return and scored 2 Touchdowns as the Vols had one of the better special teams in the country, or at least in returns. Sutton will be a Cornerback to watch for 2016.
6. Tre’Davious White – LSU: Having received the famous #18 voted on by coaches and teammates, White is one of the Tigers best defenders. The 5-11, 190 White is also a top punt returner taking 1 back for a Touchdown in 2015. The LSU Tigers are always loaded and 2016 will not e any different
with White and other Defensive Backs receiving pre and post season honors. White totaled 44 tackles with 7 pass breakups as well. Watch for White, Jamal Adams and Kevin Toliver among others in the Tiger’s secondary.
7. Cordrea Tankersley – Clemson: Tankersley is the only returning starter in the secondary for the Clemson Tigers, but the Tigers have plenty of talent and depth. They will just lack experience outside of Tankersley. Tankersley Mackensie Alexander was the shut down Corner last year and now Tankersley will be counted on for that role in 2016. He will be assigned the task to cover the other team’s best Wide Receivers. Tankersley is one of the faster players on the Clemson team and totaled 48 tackles a year ago. His best stat may have been the 5 Interceptions and the 1 Touchdown that he had when picking off the passes. Tankersley also broke up 9 passes and he’s 6-1, 195 which should make him really popular with NFL scouts and draft day.
8. Carlton Davis – Auburn: True freshman Davis from Miami, Florida moved into the starting lineup pretty quickly at Auburn and played really well for a new guy. He was one of the Tiger’s top tacklers a year ago with 56 total tackles including a couple for loss and a fumble forced. He also picked off 3 passes and he broke up 8 more on his way to freshman All American honors. Davis has a bright future ahead of him and he’s good sized for a Cornerback at 6-1, 190. Auburn hasn’t been known for great defense in recent seasons, but Davis and a few others want to change that.
9. Minkah Fitzpatrick – Alabama: Another freshman last season was Fitzpatrick from Old Bridge,
New Jersey. Fitzpatrick started at Cornerback for the national champions and he had 45 tackles with 3 for loss and 2 Quarterback sacks. Fitzpatrick is an electrifying type of player that picked off 2 passes and he returned both of them for Touchdowns. Fitzpatrick is 6-1, 195 and with a bright future ahead of him at Alabama and beyond.
10. Chidobe Awuzie – Colorado: It’s unheard of for a Cornerback to lead his team in tackles, that’s just not a Corners main job. But, Awuzie led his Buffaloes in tackles last season with 85. Of course, the Buffaloes had a bad record, but they were competitive in many games that they lost and Awuzie is their best defender. He also had 4 Quarterback sacks and 12 tackles for loss while breaking up 7 more passes. The San Jose, California native is also 6-0, 195 making him attractive for NFL scouts.
11. Kevin Toliver – LSU: Toliver was a 5 star Cornerback recruit for the LSU Tigers last season and he started right away. Toliver is the perfect sized new age Cornerback at 6-2, 195 and he is destined for greatness. Last year, as a freshman, Toliver recorded 35 tackles with 2 for loss and he broke up another 5 passes. Expect the duo of Toliver and Tre’Davius White to be one of the best sets of Cornerbacks in the country at any one school. The LSU Tiger defense should be even better now with the addition of Defensive Coordinator Dave Arranda.
12. Marlon Humphrey – Alabama: The son of former Alabama Running Back Bobby Humphrey is in for good times ahead. At about 6-1, 195 Humphrey should be a great Corner at this level and the next. He tied fellow freshman Cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick with 45 total tackles and he had 3 Interceptions as well. Humphrey and Fitzpatrick should team up to form the best two Cornerbacks in the country on the same team for the next 2 seasons before they declare for the NFL Draft. Humphrey had 8 pass break ups in addition to everything else and 2 forced fumbles.
13. Rashard Fant – Indiana: Scoff if you feel the necessity, but Fant is a player. Indiana has never been known for great football, or great defense, but Fant was a very impressive and productive Cornerback for them. The Atlanta, Georgia native was one of the nation’s leaders with 22 pass break ups, and he was one of his team’s leaders in tackles with 52 total. The Hoosiers had a very young secondary a year ago and Fant was one of their leaders along with true freshman Safety Jonathan
Crawford who like Fant is from the deep South. Fant, with all of his pass break ups, only came away with one Interception which will have to improve this season. He’s only 5-10, 175, but he is something of a lock down Corner.
14. Iman Marshall – USC: Long Beach, California’s Iman Marshall was a 5 star Cornerback recruit for the USC Trojans and like 5 star Adoree Jackson before him, he started as a true freshman. Marshall got beat some at Corner, but he was also 4th on the team in total tackles with an impressive 67. Marshall had 3 Interceptions and broke up another 9 total passes. He is about 6-2, 200 and a very solid Cornerback that should do nothing but improve at USC.
15. Sidney Jones – Washington: Jones signed with the Huskies out of Diamond Bar, California and he started almost immediately. The 6-0, 180 Jones is a big play guy proven by his 4 interceptions with 1 returned for a Touchdown and 2 fumble returns with 1 of those also returned for a Touchdown. He also forced another 4 fumbles and totaled 46 tackles and 10 passes broken up. The Washington Huskies had the best defense in the Pac 12 last year and Jones was one of the better players.
16. Tarvarus McFadden – Florida State: The heir apparent to Jalen Ramsey, McFadden is a former consensus 5 star recruit for a program that doesn’t get the recruiting attention that it should nationally. The Seminoles have been recruiting lights out for the past couple of years, bringing in some of the nation’s best players and McFadden is among that group. What’s best about McFadden is his size at about 6-2, 200. He played sparingly as a freshman and then he looked sensational in the Spring and the Spring Game for the Seminoles. Look for McFadden to maybe be the best in the ACC and in the nation as soon as this year.
17. Gareon Conley – Ohio State: The product of national powerhouse Massillon Washington High School is the only returning starter for the Buckeyes in the Defensive Backfield. At 6-0, 195, Conley has the size to move early on draft day and he is talented like so many Buckeye players. He should be closer to the top of this list and he probably will be at season’s end. Conley had 49 total tackles, broke up 5 passes and picked off 2 more. If the Ohio State Buckeyes win the Big 10 Conference this season after losing so much talent, Urban Meyer should be coach of the year.
18. William Likely – Maryland: It’s not likely that there are many players smaller than William Likely out there, and there are not many better players out there, either. Likely is only about 5-7, 175, but he is super explosive and very exciting to watch. Coming back for his senior season was a no brainer because of his lack of size. Likely is another one of the new Iron Men players like Adoree Jackson, Jabrill Peppers and Jordan Whitehead. He played Cornerback, Running Back, Wide Receiver and returned Punts and Kicks last season. Likely is super explosive in the return game returning 2 Punts and 1 Kick for Touchdowns last year. The Belle Glade, Florida product has 6 career returns for scores with another year remaining. He had 6 Interceptions as a sophomore, and of course, he returned 2 of those for scores as well. He’s more than likely way too small to play Cornerback in the NFL, but he should make a squad as a return man and he’s definitely one of the top Cornerbacks
in college ball.
19. Ishmael Adams – UCLA: If not for two things, Adams would be at the top of this list. He doesn’t make good decisions off of the field and he is 5-8, 180. The Woodland Hills, California native is definitely a top player on the field. Adams had an incredible 2014 season, but 2015 was not his best. He has moved to Wide Receiver for his senior year to give the Bruins a deep threat, but if he plays at the next level I believe it will be on defense. I could be wrong. Every time this guy touches the ball, he is a threat to score, but he’s also a great cover man at Cornerback.
20. Brad Watson – Wake Forest: Round Rock, Texas native Watson is one of the more productive Defensive Backs in the country and a good sized Cornerback at 6-0, 190. He totaled a really impressive 72 tackles and broke up 16 passes while Intercepting 2 of the opponents passes. Watson was all over the field last season and now returns for his senior season. Wake Forest was able to score him from right under the noses of the University of Texas and others in the area, but he was not heavily recruited at all.
21. Treston Decoud – Oregon State: Seriously? A 6-3, 205 Cornerback? If he can truly hold up there, he can be a great one because of the trend towards taller Wide Receivers. The Covington, Louisiana native was one of the top tacklers on the Beaver defense a year ago with 50. The only negative is he didn’t have any picks last season, which did cost Clemson’s Mackenzie Alexander on draft day this year.
22. Kevin King – Washington: 6-3, 190? Where are these tall Corners coming from? Well, this one hails from Oakland, California and he has the potential to be a big timer at the next level. He had 39 tackles last year and he picked off 3 passes. If he can prove he can play in man coverage, he should be a really popular guy with NFL scouts.
Jamar Summers – UConn: 6-0, 185 with 8 Interceptions
DeAndre Scott – Akron: 6 Interceptions last season.
Jordan Thomas – Oklahoma: Could have easily been on top list with 5 picks as a sophomore.
Trumaine Washington – Louisville: 56 tackles and 4 picks last season.
Tony Bridges – Ole Miss:Very good Cornerback with 3 Interceptions a year ago.
Kareem Orr – Arizona State: 5-11, 195 6 picks 1 td, 38 tackles, only 2 pass break ups.
DeVon Edwards – Duke: He’s small at 5-9, 180 3 kickoff returns for scores in 2015
Aaron Davis – Georgia: 6-1, 190 Cornerback with good cover skills and could be one of best.
Malkom Parrish – Georgia: Another good SEC Cornerback.
Corn Elder – Miami: 5-10, 185, 41 tackles, 2 picks, 1 punt return and 1 kick return for tds. 11 pbu.
Sheldrick Redwine – Miami: He may not even start at Miami, but then again.
Andre Brown – Indiana: Freshman starter at Cornerback with 35 tackles.
Greg Mabin – Iowa: 6-2, 200 and very productive.
Damontae Kazee – San Diego State: 8 interceptions lands Kazee on a player to watch list.
Vayante Copeland – Michigan State: Up and coming talent with good size.
Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State: Replaces Eli Apple at Corner.
Shawun Lurry – Northern Illinois: Small but led the country in Interceptions with 9.
Darius Phillips – Western Michigan: Broke up 16 passes and picked off 5.
Boise Ross – Buffalo: Broke up 18 passes
Latrell Gibbs – Appalachian State: great small school player
Matthew Harris – Northwestern: Picked off 4 passes and broke up 13 moree. ;
Channing Stribling – Michigan: 6-2, 180 with 2 picks.
Jeremy Clark – Michigan: 6-4, 205 Cornerback with 3 Interceptions. Its a new day.