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SEC Football: Top 5 cornerbacks in 2015

Wide receivers are getting bigger, faster and stronger in the Southeastern Conference. Quarterbacks are finding ways to get them the ball in space, allowing receivers to accelerate and make plays downfield. It is imperative for a defense to have a cornerback that can not only be physical, but also display the proper technique in covering receivers and tight ends.

A cornerback that can stop the run is indispensable. It pays to have a player that takes correct angles to the football, and is able to maintain the edge against the run. The SEC returns quality players at the cornerback position, yet only five stand out from the pack. Yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine has compiled a list breaking down those five cornerbacks.

 

5. Cameron Sutton

  • Team: Tennessee Volunteers
  • Classification: Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 189 pounds

Summary: Cameron “Cam” Sutton could be the biggest cornerback returning to the SEC this fall. He takes on a leadership role next season, as linebacker A.J. Johnson is now in the National Football League. Sutton was a solid contributor last season, totaling 37 stops with 13 pass breakups and three interceptions for the Volunteers. He’s appeared in 25 games, and has tallied 76 stops with eight for loss, 20 pass breakups, five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

 

4. Tre’Davious White

  • Team: LSU Tigers
  • Classification: Junior
  • Size: 5-foot-11, 191 pounds

Summary: Jalen Collins’s exit to the NFL Draft gives Tre’Davious White a chance to shine in 2015. White was a part of a pass defense last season that allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 51.7 percent of their pass attempts. LSU’s secondary forced 10 interceptions in 2014. White accounted for 33 tackles, a sack, six pass breakups and two interceptions. He’s been in 26 games, recording 88 tackles, 13 pass breakups and four interceptions.

 

3. Taveze Calhoun

  • Team: Mississippi State Bulldogs
  • Classification: Senior
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 184 pounds

Summary: Jamerson Love is gone, but Mississippi State returns a veteran in Taveze Calhoun to its defensive backfield. Calhoun enters his third season as a starter, and his fourth season seeing action at cornerback. Mississippi State held its opponents to a 52.3 percent completion rating and forced 16 interceptions, despite allowing an average of 272.8 passing yards per game in 2014.

Calhoun was consistent last season, as he started in 13 games for the Bulldogs. He finished fourth on the team in tackles (53), and tied for the team lead in pass breakups with nine.

Calhoun has played in 38 games with 25 starts, tallying 120 tackles (5.5 tackles for loss), four interceptions, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He along with teammate and fellow senior Will Redmond will the tandem to watch this fall for Mississippi State.

 

2. Cyrus Jones

  • Team: Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Classification: Senior
  • Size: 5-foot-10, 196 pounds

Summary: He enrolled at Alabama as a wide receiver in 2012, but Cyrus Jones has blossomed into a seasoned cornerback for the Crimson Tide. Jones earned a starting spot at corner last season, and finished 10th on the team in tackles (46). He put in 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in 2014.

Jones will look to anchor Alabama’s secondary with Landon Collins and Nick Perry both in the NFL. A torn labrum in his hip caused Jones to miss all of spring practice. He’s had surgery on it and has been cleared by the team’s medical staff to take part in summer workouts.

Jones has seen action in 36 games (19 starts), and chimes in with 54 tackles, 20 pass breakups and five interceptions. His efforts last season earned him second-team All-SEC honors by the Associated Press.

 

1. Vernon Hargreaves, III

  • Team: Florida Gators
  • Classification: Junior
  • Size: 5-foot-11, 192 pounds

Summary: The sky is the limit for Florida’s junior corner Vernon Hargreaves III. He enrolled at Florida in 2013, as one of the nation’s most coveted cornerbacks. Hargreaves shined in the SEC as a freshman last season, despite a poor performance against Alabama’s wide receiver Amari Cooper. He finished seventh on the team in tackles with 50 in 2014.

Hargreaves defended 16 passes last season (13 breakups, three interceptions), and recovered two fumbles. He’s totaled 88 tackles, 24 pass breakups, six interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 24 career games. Hargreaves was a first-team All-America selection by Sporting News, ESPN.com and CBSSports.com. He was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award last season.

SEC cornerbacks honorable mention: Rico McWilliams (South Carolina) and D.J. Dean (Arkansas)

 

Stephen M. Smith is a staff writer and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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