Spreading the defense and passing the ball all over the field has become a mainstay in college football over the past decade. The value of depth in the secondary can not be overstated. Defensive backs have to not only be able to cover wide receivers, most times on an island with little help, but also help defend against the running threats in an opponent’s backfield. Cornerback is becoming one of the most difficult positions to play, with the way offenses spread the field horizontally and vertically. The need for skilled and versatile defensive backs is as high as ever. The talent pool of SEC corners is deep in 2019, much like it is every season.
Top Five SEC Corners For 2019
The NFL is filled with defensive backs that plied their trade in this conference, before making the move to the pros. Alabama, LSU, Florida, and to a lesser extent South Carolina have all seen loads of talented players leave their secondary to find success at the next level. The elite level of SEC corners will once again be as good as the best players at their position anywhere in the nation. Heading into to 2019, these are the top guys to look out for.
The individual talent in the secondary is spread well throughout the conference. When it comes to the best groups, Alabama and LSU are loaded with depth at the position. The Crimson Tide have Patrick Surtain II, Shyheim Carter, and Trevon Diggs at corner. They are a group that will give opposing coaches nightmares. Surtain II was a mainstay as a true freshman, and should continue to develop into one of the league’s best. Carter has star potential. His knack for big plays was on full display in 2018. He had two interceptions on the season, and returned both of them for touchdowns. Diggs was extremely productive when available a season ago. The senior will now look to stay healthy and expand on the promise he showed over six games in 2018.
When looking at all the talent in 2019’s pool of SEC corners, the duo at LSU definitely stands out. Kristian Fulton and Kelvin Joseph are as good a tandem at corner as there is in the nation. Fulton had nine passes defended and one interception before a foot injury ended his junior year. Joseph played in six games as a true freshman, and has the size and ability to breakout this season. This pair of Tigers also have the benefit of having Grant Delpit roaming the field behind them. He is one of the countries best safeties.
Bryce Thompson – Sophomore – Tennessee Volunteers
As a true freshman, Thompson quickly grabbed a starting spot in coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s secondary. His instincts and athleticism really jump out when watching him in coverage. Thompson had three interceptions and four passed defended when harassing opposing receivers. His versatility was also on display, as he proved to be effective all over the field. He finished the season with four tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. Developing technique and awareness will be key for him. He can be explosive with the ball in his hand, and has all the tools to be an elite cover corner.
4. Jaycee Horn – Sophomore – South Carolina Gamecocks
The son of former NFL star Joe Horn never seemed fazed by anything during his first season in Columbia. He plays with a balance of composure and swagger that the South Carolina defense needs. The 6’1″ corner will team with 6’4″ Israel Mukuamu to form one of the biggest pairings in any secondary. Horn has potential star written all over him. His instincts and range in coverage will make life difficult on opposing receivers for many years to come. He also has the physicality and attitude you would want at any position. The Gamecocks also like his ability to attack the line of scrimmage, as he had four tackles for loss and two sacks as a freshman.
Javaris Davis – Senior – Auburn Tigers
This three year starter has seen everything an offense can throw at him in his time on the Plains. He has six career interceptions, even returning one for a score as a sophomore against Mississippi State. Davis has elite speed, allowing him to make up ground on deep passes and break quickly on shorter routes. He has 21 career pass defended to go along with his picks, and has proved dangerous when he does get his hands on the ball. Davis has the instincts to be around the ball when its in the air combined with the speed to run away from everyone if he gets his hands on it.
Cameron Dantzler – Junior – Mississippi State Bulldogs
It can be hard to stand out on a defense that has three first round picks on it, but that’s exactly what this 6″2″ corner did a season ago. He is the star of the Bulldog defense now, and no one expects him to disappoint. Dantzler had two interceptions and nine passes defended a season ago, while also registering a sack against Alabama. He has good speed, and his long frame allows him to disrupt passing lanes. His physicality is not a question, as he proved with 32 solo tackles as sophomore. As offenses spread out defenses side to side as much as down the field, tackling in space becomes almost as important as coverage skills. Dantzler checks off both boxes for Mississippi State.
C.J. Henderson – Junior – Florida Gators
Anyone who has watched this conference the last two years is not surprised to see this Gator atop the list of the best SEC corners. Henderson is looked at as one of the most talented players in the country. He is another taller rangy corner, and like Dantzler and Horn, is not shy about getting physical. As a sophomore he had five tackles for loss and three sacks when blitzing from the secondary. His ball skills and tight coverage often makes quarterbacks avoid throwing his way. When they do, he has made them pay with six career interceptions. He had two pick-6s as a true freshman. Henderson is a proven play maker at the line of scrimmage and down the field.