We continue our series looking at the best of the SEC position by position. The 2021 best SEC cornerbacks list highlights the top returners from a season ago. The conference is loaded with talent on defense, specifically at the cornerback spot. When the season begins in September, these players are a must-watch. All throughout the SEC, there is top talent at the position. But which players should be in the top five?
2021 Best SEC Cornerbacks
5. Derek Stingley Jr. – LSU
Derek Stingley Jr. has been a prominent force on the LSU Tigers’ defense for two seasons. While his 2020 campaign wasn’t stellar, he still lands on the list. Last season, Stingley Jr. finished with 27 total tackles and five passes defended. The Tigers star failed to record a single interception last season. However, his presence was still known in the secondary. The future NFL Draft pick has been dubbed as one of the best overall talents in college football since his first game in 2019.
He will certainly have to improve his production in 2021. But under a new defensive coordinator and fully healthy, Stingley Jr. should shine this season on defense for the Tigers.
4. Josh Jobe – Alabama
Josh Jobe from Alabama might be the Tide’s best defensive secondary player that is returning. He plays at a high level and had a fantastic 2020 season. The incoming senior finished last season with 55 tackles, two sacks, and 11 passes defended. Like Stingley Jr., Jobe failed to record an interception in 2020. But his dynamic playmaking ability could land him as a first-round draft selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Jobe rarely gets beat on a route and makes clean tackles.
3. Kaiir Elam – Florida
Kaiir Elam was a dominating factor for the Florida Gators’ defense in 2020. He finished off his Sophomore year with 39 total tackles, one fumble recovery, and two interceptions. Heading into 2021, the junior has the opportunity to stake his claim as one of the best cornerbacks in all of college football. Elam plays with a ton of poise and is active in every play. He can lock down receivers and know exactly where the ball is going.
2. Jay Ward – LSU
Jay Ward is another LSU star in the making. The choice here was between Ward and fellow cornerback Eli Ricks. But by the numbers, Ricks had the better season in 2020. However, from a play perspective, Ward might be the Tigers’ number two cornerback entering 2021. The incoming junior finished with 29 tackles, one forced fumble, six passes defended, and three interceptions. Those numbers were stellar considering the lack of defense LSU had in 2020.
Entering the season, Ward could end up on the watch list for a few awards. He could also become an All-SEC selection at the season’s end if he produces the way he did last season.
1. Roger McCreary – Auburn
An Auburn Tigers defensive standout, Roger McCreary put up solid numbers last season. He finished with 45 tackles, one forced fumble, six passes defended, and three interceptions. With Auburn under new leadership in 2021, it will be interesting to see how well he plays this season. If he can replicate his 2020 numbers, McCreary could rise up the draft boards ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. The Senior will be a key factor in Auburn’s secondary success this year.