Who are the best cornerbacks coming into the 2018 college football season? Here are the projected 30 top players.
Preview 2018: Top 30 Cornerbacks
Based on projections for this college season – and not necessarily based on pro talent and potential – here are the 30 best cornerbacks coming into the season.
30. Harrison Hand, Soph. Baylor
The 6-0, 190-pounder came up with a fantastic freshman season for a bad team – he was one of the few bright spots. Tough, he came up with 42 tackles – 31 in the open field – with an interception and eight broken up passes.
29. Chase Lucas, Soph. Arizona State
Who doesn’t want to be Herm Edwards’ star defensive back? The 6-0, 175-pounder had a great first season with 59 tackles with two interceptions and eight broken up passes. Very fast, very athletic, and versatile enough to be moved around to difference spots if needed, he’ll grow into more of a lockdown defender now that he knows what he’s doing.
28. Shelton Lewis, Sr. Florida Atlantic
A nice part of the defensive back puzzle as a sophomore, he grew into a force as a junior, picking off four passes with 47 tackles in an all-star season. The 6-0, 185-pounder is the team’s No. 1 corner in a loaded secondary, and he can return punts, too.
27. John Reid, Jr. Penn State
The speedy corner and punt returner earned all-star honors in 2016, making 36 tackles with an interception and five tackles for loss. Just when it seemed like he was ready to take off, he suffered a torn ACL and missed all of last season. Ready to roll again, now the Nittany Lions get a fired up defender who should be among the Big Ten’s best.
26. Parnell Motley, Jr. Oklahoma
There were a few sketchy moments, but overall, the 6-0, 182-pounder turned in a fantastic year, making 63 tackles with two interceptions and nine broken up passes. Tough enough and athletic enough to be used in a variety of ways, he can get into the backfield, too.
25. Sean Bunting, Jr. Central Michigan
After showing promise as a freshman, he blew up as a sophomore earning all-star honors making five interceptions with 49 tackles. At 6-1 and 180 pounds, he’s long with good closing speed, and as last season went on, he became a force at attacking the ball.
24. Jordan Wyatt, Sr. SMU
The SMU secondary and defense had a rough season, but the 6-0, 195-pound Wyatt did what he could, making almost all of his 49 tackles in the open field. Despite missing a few games, he followed up a four interception season, taking two for touchdowns with another four interception season, taking two for touchdowns.
23. Rashad Fenton, Sr. South Carolina
A good starter for the Gamecocks over the last three seasons, Fenton has 5-11, 186-pound size and the speed to be a fantastic kickoff returner. He made 48 tackles with a pick and eight broken up passes. A sure hitter, he doesn’t miss in the open field.
22. CJ Henderson, Soph. Florida
Along with fellow sophomore Marco Wilson, Henderson is growing into another great Gator corner, he was great out of the gate with 22 tackles and four interceptions, taking two for touchdowns in back-to-back games against Michigan and Tennessee. At 6-1 and 186 pounds, he’s got the size to go along with the ball-hawking instincts.
21. Ryan Pulley, Sr. Arkansas
Back after missing almost all of last year with a pectoral injury, the 5-1, 199-pounder should be ready to jump right back into his All-SEC form. Two years ago, he picked off two passes with 13 broken up passes and 47 stops. He’s got the toughness to someday be a whale of a free safety, but for now, he’s about to be a big help for one of the SEC’s worst pass defenses.
20. Brian Peavy, Sr. Iowa State
The All-Big 12 star over the last three seasons came up with a career-high 88 tackles – he has 232 stops in the last three years – with six tackles for loss and two interceptions. He’s a bit smallish at 5-9 and 194 pounds, but he’s feisty enough to work at safety if needed, or once again, be an all-conference corner.
19. Levonta Taylor, Jr. Florida State
The 5-10, 191-pounder hasn’t one much as a tackler so far – with just 34 stops in his first two years, and he came up with just two picks last season, but he erases just about everyone he covers and doesn’t get thrown at. He needs to come up with more big plays to get some all-star recognition, but the former superstar high school prospect is well known by the NFL types.
18. Tyler Horton, Sr. Boise State
The First Team All-Mountain West performer picked off two passes, broke up 11 passes, came up with 44 tackles, and took a fumble return for a score. He can tackle, but he’s at his best using his quickness to deal with No. 1 targets.
17. Kris Boyd, Sr. Texas
Not everyone is gone from the Longhorn secondary. The 6-0, 195-pound Boyd takes over as the new star of the defensive backfield coming off an All-Big 12 season. Lightning fast, he intercepted two passes, broke up 15 passes, and came up with 57 stops. Get ready for February – he’s going to rip up the NFL Combine.
16. Trayvon Mullen, Clemson
A favorite of the NFL scouting world, he showed last year he could tackle, making 40 tackles with three picks. At 6-2 and 190 pounds, he’s got great size and the hands to do even more to come up with picks. On this defense he won’t have to do it all, but the tools are there to be even more of a lockdown force.
15. Essang Bassey, Jr. Wake Forest
Amazing against the pass as a high school prospect, has has grown into one of the nation’s most productive all-around corners, picking off three passes last year – taking one for a score against Boston College – and broke up 16 throws. Despite being just 5-10 and 185 pounds, he’s a tough run stopper making 75 stops with six tackles for loss.
14. Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State
On pure talent, he might be the No. 1 player on the list, or close to it. He was a huge recruit for the Buckeyes, and he’s everything the NFL scouts want in a prospect. He’s got decent 6-0, 193-pound size and blazing speed with sub-4.3 speed. Now the former JUCO transfer has to pick off a pass. He broke up nine, and was tough against the run with 40 stops, but he’s the team’s top corner now.
13. Lavert Hill, Jr. Michigan
A pure corner who’s great at staying with and shutting down good targets, he only made 24 tackles with two picks in his sophomore year, but his coverage skills were enough to earn All-Big Ten honors. A few more tackles would be nice – he failed to come up with a stop in three games – but he fills his role well on the amazing Wolverine D.
12. Donnie Lewis, Sr. Tulane
A broken up pass machine, he busted up 11 with two picks. While he’s not a big hitter, he’s been a reliable tackler over the last three years who’s great in the open field. At 6-1 and 185 pounds, he’s a decent-sized defender who’s among the most consistently productive defenders in the country.
11. Amani Oruwariye, Sr. Penn State
The pro talent is there to have taken off, but instead he’s back for one more season as one of the anchors of another strong Penn State defense. The 6-1, 201-pounder has the size to be a safety if he ever wants to make the conversion, but he only has 56 career stops. However, he upped his game as a thief, taking away a career-high four passes with seven broken up throws.