2016 CFN Preseason All-America Safeties. Who are the best and brightest safeties coming into the college football season?
2016 CFN Preseason All-America Safeties
1. Derwin James, Soph. Florida State
It’s easy to try to look cool by saying James might really be better than Jalen Ramsey – but James might really be better than Jalen Ramsey. Yet another Florida State defensive back taken right out of central casting, James has the athleticism to be another Ramsey-like presence in the secondary, only with a bigger desire to provide a punch making 91 tackles last year.
2. Jabrill Peppers, Jr. Michigan (LB)
Is he a linebacker working at safety, or is he a defensive back who’ll see time at linebacker? It doesn’t matter – and he might technically be used more as a linebacker – but he’s an All-American anywhere he plays. He’s the team’s fastest player, he’s got the 6-1, 208-pound size to provide a wallop as a pass rusher and against the run, and he’ll be used on offense, too.
2016 CFN Preseason Second-Team All-America Safeties
3. Budda Baker, Jr. Washington
While he only came up with 49 tackles with two interceptions, his worth to the Huskies went beyond mere numbers. He’s the leader of yet another amazing U-Dub secondary with the all-around skill and talent to do it all. At 5-10 and 184 pounds he’s not all that big, but he could play corner if needed, or he can play either safety spot.
4. Jamal Adams, Jr. LSU
Is he a top five pick in next year’s draft? Maybe, but first he’s going to be one of the key stars of one of college football’s most dominant secondaries. At 6-1 and 211 pounds he’s got the right size, the right speed, and the right talent to be a force again from the start after coming up with 67 tackles with four interceptions – he’s going to be even better.
2016 CFN Preseason Third-Team All-America Safeties
5. Marcus Maye, Sr. Florida
It’s not like he was totally overlooked last season, but he was the fourth-best player in the secondary – no shame there considering the talent in the Gator defensive backfield. He’ll be a top 50 pick in next year’s NFL Draft after spending another year as the tone-setting hitter for the Gator D.
6. Quin Blanding, Jr. Virginia
He’s an NFL defensive back around for one more year, and he’ll show off as one of the key pieces to Bronco Mendenhall’s defense. A great-hitting 6-2, 205-pounder, he’s tremendous in the open field with the coverage ability to become a bigger playmaker when the ball is in the air.
2016 CFN Preseason Honorable Mention All-America Safeties
7. Nate Holley, Sr. Kent State
8. Tony Conner, Sr. Ole Miss
9. Jordan Sterns, Sr. Oklahoma State
10. Jordan Whitehead, Soph. Pitt
11. Josh-Harvey Clemson, Sr. Louisville
12. Max Redfield, Sr. Notre Dame*
13. Johnathan Ford, Sr. Auburn
14. Xavier Woods, Sr. Louisiana Tech
15. Randall Goforth, Sr. UCLA
16. Dominick Sanders, Jr. Georgia
17. Tiquan Lang, Sr. Marshall
18. Zach Edwards, Sr. Cincinnati
19. Eddie Jackson, Sr. Alabama
20. Weston Steelhammer, Sr. Air Force
21. Fish Smithson, Sr. Kansas
22. Ahmad Thomas, Sr. Oklahoma
23. Asantay Brown, Jr. Western Michigan
24. Dante Barnett, Sr. Kansas State
25. Dameon Baber, Soph. Nevada
*Redfield’s ranking stays, for the moment, despite recent off-the-field issues.