First-Rate: Defensive Backs

(Photo: Matt Cashore, 247Sports)

13) Navy (FS- Sean Williams, CB- Jarid Ryan)
The Midshipmen perennially are exposed to a large play after ranking 114th in yards per attempt, 91st in execution commission (61.3) and 102nd in interceptions (7). Now they contingency pierce brazen in ’18 though final year’s starting cornerbacks – Elijah Merchant (46 tackles, 4 PBUs) and Tyrus Wooten (36 tackles, 12 PBUs). FS Williams is a good one (76 tackles, 4 PBUs, 1 interception) after alighting 3rd-team all-AAC honors. CB Ryan was prolific final year as good (43 tackles, 3 PBUs). But they’re immature during reserve conflicting Williams (sophomore Jake Springer) and immature during dilemma conflicting Ryan (sophomore Micah Farrar). It’s flattering easy pickings conflicting Navy’s secondary.

12) Syracuse (SS- Evan Foster, CB- Christopher Fredrick, CB- Scoop Bradshaw)
Irish fans bemoaned 0 interceptions from a reserve position a year ago. Imagine going a final 8 games though an interception…by anybody! That’s what a Orange did en track to only 4 interceptions on a year and a No. 89 mark in execution commission (60.9). They do have talent entrance behind in SS Foster (64 tackles, 4 PBUs, 1 interception), CB Fredrick (43 tackles, 4 PBU, 1 interception) and CB Bradshaw (21 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, 6 PBUs). Part-time receiver Antwan Cordy has talent during FS. But they mislaid 116 tackles total in Rodney Williams, Juwan Dowels, Jordan Martin and former Notre Dame CB Devin Butler. The new FS will be beginner Andre Cisco, sophomore Devon Clarke (DNP in ’17) or red-shirt beginner Ifeatu Melifonwu.

11) Vanderbilt (FS- LaDarius Wiley, CB- JoeJuan Williams)
Half of a tip producers in a delegate are left — including SS Ryan White (80 tackles, 3 PBUs, 2 interceptions) and CB Tre Herndon (11 PBUs) — for a section that had only 7 picks in 12 games. FS Wiley is a plain football actor with a team-leading 88 tackles, 5 PBUs and an interception in ‘17. CB Williams might be a best defensive actor a Commodores have to offer after nearing in Nashville as 247Sports’ No. 18 cornerback in a country. Sophomore SS Zaire Jones and comparison CB Donovan Sheffield are in line for starting spots, though have singular front-line reps.

10) Ball State (SS- Bryce Cosby, CB- Josh Miller, FS- Brett Anderson, CB- Antonio Phillips)
The Cardinals move behind a delegate intact…and one that gave adult proceed too many large plays in ’17. There were only 5 teams in a nation that authorised some-more than a 8.9 yards per try of Ball State foes. Plus, a Cardinals managed a insignificant 6 interceptions. And nonetheless 8 DBs that started during slightest one diversion a year ago are back, including SS Cosby (59 tackles, 2 interceptions), CB Miller (37 tackles, 13 PBUs, 1 interception), FS Anderson (29 tackles) and CB Phillips (19 tackles, 4 PBUs). A fifth front-liner – CB Mark Walton – has 21 starts, 95 tackles, 13 PBUs and 3 interceptions to his credit. Yeah, they were flattering bad final year, though they’ll be improved with so many personification knowledge entrance back.

9) Virginia Tech (Rover- Reggie Floyd)
The Hokies are this high on a list since of final year’s prolongation and a repute of DC Bud Foster. But no group on a Irish report had a some-more scattered off-season than Virginia Tech, that mislaid a ton of talent with a death of eligibility AND a severe post-spring run. Gone is first-round breeze choice FS Terrell Edmunds (50 tackles, 4 PBUs, 2 interceptions), 1st-team all-ACC CB Greg Stroman (11 PBUs, 4 interceptions, 7th-round pick), and CB Brandon Facyson (19 tackles, 5 PBUs). Loose cannon CB Adonis Alexander (27 tackles, 4 PBUs, 1 interception) was a plant of academics this spring. JC send CB Jeremy Webb also was mislaid for a year with an Achilles injury. Even semi-projected starter CB Caleb Farley contingency rebound behind from a ’17 knee injury. Roverback Reggie Floyd (72 tackles, 3 interceptions) is a anchor. Sophomore FS Divine Diablo (3 PBU, 1 interception) is entrance off a damaged foot. Yes, Virginia Tech tied for initial with Wisconsin in execution commission (48.6), though that was achieved by guys who will not minister to a means this fall.

8) Wake Forest (FS- Cameron Glenn, CB- Essang Bassey, CB- Amari Henderson)
The Demon Deacons surrendered 380 yards flitting per diversion over a final six, though copiousness of offense authorised Wake to separate those final half-dozen tilts. They mislaid a good one by Wake Forest standards in SS Jessie Bates (79 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 5 PBUs and 1 interception), who smartly bypassed his final year of eligibility and parlayed it into a 2nd-round breeze collect by a Cincinnati Bengals. But several peculiarity football players lapse in a Demon Deacon secondary, led by FS Glenn (team-leading 98 tackles, 7 PBUs, 2 interceptions), CB Bassey (75 tackles, 16 PBUs, 3 interceptions) and CB Henderson (62 tackles, 12 PBUs, 2 interceptions). Senior SS Chuck Wade, who held 19 passes for 245 yards with a TD during WR final year, will reinstate Bates. There’s talent around that to build on a behind finish if a pass rush can convene from a post-Mike Elko hangover in ’17.

7) Pittsburgh (FS- Damar Hamlin, CB- Dane Jackson)
The Panthers mislaid a span of fourth-round breeze picks in FS Jordan Whitehead (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and CB Avonte Maddox (Philadelphia Eagles). But everybody else is behind on a section that finished 29th nationally in execution commission (55.2). FS Hamlin (41 tackles, 1 interception) is a former four-star partisan with a ton of upside. CB Jackson (40 tackles, 9 PBUs, 2 interceptions) is on a arise as well. Red-shirt beginner CB Paris Ford is a really highly-touted partisan from a Class of 2017. FS Bricen Garner (30 tackles, 1 interception) started 6 games final year. Junior Phil Campbell moves into a starting lineup with Whitehead’s departure. The Panthers managed only 9 interceptions in ’17, that should urge with an total defensive line returning to request pressure.

6) Northwestern (CB- Montre Hartage)
One of a best reserve tandems in a Big Ten is left following a depart of Godwin Igwebuike (78 tackles, 9 PBUs, 2 interceptions) and Kyle Queiro (60 tackles, 5 ½ tackles for loss, 9 PBUs, 5 interceptions). But this was a delegate decimated by injuries final year, that means a harmed are behind and a ones who played in their place gained experience. The Wildcats finished 15th in a nation in interceptions (17), led by Queiro and CB Hartage (57 tackles, 7 PBUs, 3 interceptions), who will be a three-year starter this fall. CBs Trae Williams, Alonzo Mayo and Roderick Campbell all lapse from injuries. Sophomore FS J.R. Pace (2 interceptions) showed big-play ability. SS Jared McGee moves from a nickel to a starting spot.

5) Florida State (CB- Levonta Taylor)
The pre-season magazines have a Seminoles ranked many aloft since of a talent recruited. We get it. But we can’t remove a first-round breeze choice during dilemma (Derwin Jones), a 2nd-team all-ACC dilemma (Tavarus McFadden) and a integrate of safeties with 62 total tackles (Trey Marshall and Nate Andrews) and afterwards only place Florida State during a top. Led by those three, Florida State finished 29th in a nation in execution commission (55.2). CB Taylor (18 tackles, 3 PBUs, 2 interceptions) put adult medium numbers though had a lowest passer rating conflicting In a ACC. He’s top-notch. Three sophomores expected will join Taylor in a starting lineup – CB Stanford Samuels III (27 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 5 PBUs, 2 interceptions), SS Cyrus Fagan and FS Hamsah Nasirildeen (29 tackles, 3 PBUs), a latter of that is deliberate a budding star. Plenty of talent, though many to infer after vigour adult front forsaken sacks from 51 in ’16 to 29 in ’17.

4) Stanford (SS- Ben Edwards, FS- Frank Buncom, CB- Alijah Holder)
The depart of 2nd-team All-America FS Justin Reid (99 tackles, 6 PBUs, 5 interceptions), a third-round breeze choice, and CB Quenton Meeks (66 tackles, 8 PBUs, 2 interceptions) is substantial, though so is a talent returning in a delegate for a invulnerability that was 12th in a nation in interceptions with 18. The Cardinal need to tie adult their pass coverage (109th during 63.3 percent). But a lapse of CB Holder from damage and a reserve tandem of SS Edwards and FS Buncom should offer Stanford well. Red-shirt beginner Paulson Adebo – once a Notre Dame fasten – expected takes over a starting mark conflicting Holder unless comparison CB Alameen Murphy (46 tackles) emerges. SS Brandon Simmons gives a Cardinal abyss on a final line of defense.

3) Notre Dame (CB- Julian Love, CB- Shaun Crawford, FS- Nick Coleman, SS- Jalen Elliott)
While many focused on what a Irish reserve corps didn’t do final deteriorate – make an interception – a delegate frequency gave adult a large play, that is a covenant to essentially sound play while ranking 16th nationally in yards per try (6.3). (Notre Dame was one of 5 teams in a nation to not concede a pass play longer than 50 yards.) To be sure, there’s many to infer by an Irish reserve corps that still isn’t staid with Navy send Alohi Gilman fasten obligatory Elliott (43 tackles, 2 PBUs) on a behind end. FS Coleman (44 tackles, 3 PBUs) also will work during nickel. Cornerback is a opposite animal with CB Love (68 tackles, 20 PBUs, 3 interceptions, 2 TDs) branch in one of a biggest seasons ever by an Irish defensive back. Nickel behind Crawford wore down as a deteriorate progressed, though he still managed a prolific deteriorate (32 tackles, 5 PBUs and 2 interceptions). CB Troy Pride Jr. (22 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 interception) is a budding standout. It could be a dermatitis deteriorate for a Irish delegate during cornerback…and maybe even safety.

2) USC (CB- Iman Marshall, CB- Isaiah Langley, FS- Marvell Tell)
The word around Troy is that a Trojans surrendered too many large plays (122nd in 20-yard pass plays, 115th in 30-yard pass plays), that is a thoughtfulness of DC Clancy Pendergast’s ultra assertive proceed adult front that leaves a defensive backs on an island. The Trojans still finished 22nd in execution commission (54.3) and 19th in interceptions (16) with 3 that were returned for touchdowns. USC postulated dual poignant waste in a secondary: SS Chris Hawkins (88 tackles, 6½ tackles for loss, 1 interceptions) to graduation and CB Jack Jones (40 tackles, 8 PBUs, 4 interceptions) to academics. But there stays a ton of talent, led by 1st-team all-Pac 12 FS Tell and CB Marshall, both of whom still have untapped talent. Tell (85 tackles, 3 interceptions) is good conflicting a run and as a blitzer. The Trojans need him to be improved conflicting a pass. Marshall (52 tackles, 10 PBU in ’17; 6 career interceptions) can be as good as he wants to be. CB Langley (38 tackles, 6 PBUs) is solid, though still comparatively fresh with 4 starts. SS Ykili Ross (2 interceptions) moves into a starting lineup…unless sophomore Bubba Bolden beats him out. Freshman FS Talanoa Hufanga tender in a spring.

1) Michigan (CB- Lavert Hill, CB- David Long, FS- Tyree Kinnel, SS- Josh Metellus)
In some respects, Michigan is in a identical vessel with Notre Dame in that conjunction SS Metellus nor FS Kinnel has proven himself to be top-notch. But they were partial of a invulnerability that authorised only 48.8 percent completions (3rd nationally), a small 150.1 yards flitting per diversion (1st) and 5.9 yards per try (6th). Mix in a inhuman pass rush (an startling 88 sacks in 2016-17) and a behind finish of a Wolverine invulnerability is firm to shine. The stars are CBs Hill and Long, any of whom had a span of interceptions final year. There might not be a improved one-two press-coverage twin in a nation than a dual juniors, both of whom could leave early for a NFL after a ’18 season. Utah grad send SS Casey Hughes (35 tackles) started 11 games final year for a Utes. CBs Ambry Thomas and Brandon Watson will contest for nickel duties.

First-Rate (Through 7 of 10 categories)

1. Michigan (18 – QB 1st, RB 2nd, WR/TE 3rd, OL 7th, DL 1st, LB 3rd, DB 1st)
2. Stanford (24 – QB 8th, RB 1st, WR/TE 1st, OL 1st, DL 8th, LB 1st, DB 4th)
3. Notre Dame (32 – QB 4th, RB 7th, WR/TE 8th, OL 2nd, DL 4th, LB 4th, DB 3rd)
4. USC (36 – QB 10th, RB 6th, WR/TE 7th, OL 3rd, DL 6th, LB 2nd, DB 2nd)
5t. Northwestern (41 – QB 9th, RB 8th, WR/TE 5th, OL 6th, DL 2nd, LB 5th, DB 6th)
5t. Florida State (41 – QB 7th, RB 3rd, WR/TE 9th, OL 5th, DL 5th, LB 7th, DB 5th)
7. Virginia Tech (49 – QB 3rd, RB 11th, WR/TE 4th, OL 9th, DL 3rd, LB 10th, DB 9th)
8. Wake Forest (51 – QB 11th, RB 4th, WR/TE 2nd, OL 4th, DL 11th, LB 11th, DB 8th)
9t. Pittsburgh (65 – QB 12th, RB 9th, WR/TE 12th, OL 12th, DL 7th), LB 6th, DB 7th)
9t. Ball State (65 – QB 13th, RB 5th, WR/TE 6th, OL 10th, DL 13th, LB 8th, DB 10th)
11. Syracuse (68 – QB 5th, RB 10th, WR/TE 10th, OL 8th, DL 10th, LB 13th, DB 12th)
12. Vanderbilt (69 – QB 2nd, RB 13th, WR/TE 11th, OL 11th, DL 12th, LB 9th, DB 11th)
13. Navy (78 – QB 6th, RB 12th, WR/TE 13th, OL 13th, DL 9th, LB 12th, DB 13th)

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