CFB Recruiting 2013: Preseason Power Ranking the Top 10 DB Prospects
For over the past week, we have been ranking the top prospects at each position. We've ran through everything from quarterbacks to offensive linemen to linebackers and in between. Today, we cap off our preseason power rankings with the defensive backs.
From time to time, you have heard me refer to them as the "backend" or "third-level defenders" among other terms. The secondary has become more important to a team's success due to the advancement of the spread offense in all of football. Having about six good defensive backs is needed these days to ensure defensive success in the passing game.
Here are 10 defensive backs that are the best back end defenders in the country for 2013 recruiting.
10. Tahaan Goodman, S
Goodman is a 6'2", 190-pounder from Southern California that can play both safety spots. He's fluid in space and has good speed to get off the hashes as a deep middle defender.
Goodman can transition well out of his backpedal and fly up to jump a passing lane, or if he sees that he can't make the pick, he'll turn into an enforcer an lick a pas catcher with a crushing hit.
Goodman, who is still wide open in his recruitment, has the ability to squeeze in the box well to stop the run like a SS.
9. Priest Willis, DB
A huge corner at 6'2" and almost 200 pounds, Willis could grow into a safety in college. He is very intriguing because for such a big cover man, he can actually cover the slot very well.
With his loose hips, smooth transition, quick feet and athleticism, Willis figures to be a weapon as a secondary member in college. His length is used effectively and he will press and mirror receivers as the release of the line.
Willis is still pretty early in his recruitment, but LSU, Nebraska and Michigan will get visits for sure, shows Scout.com.
8. Max Redfield, S
Our third straight West Coast player on this list, Redfield is a free safety and free safety is where he should play. He's 6'2", 200 pounds, extremely athletic and displays awesome ball skills.
At his best when asked to covered deep thirds and halves, Redfield can backpedal while reading routes and QB's shoulders, get out of transition with quickness, drive with speed and use great hands and ball skills to jump a passing lane for an interception.
He's committed to USC.
7. Vonn Bell, DB
Bell is a 6'0", 190-pound DB that can play both FS and SS while also being able to play some CB too. He is from Tennessee but plays in Georgia and could be headed for the SEC.
Bell has amazing play speed and ball skills, showing great instincts and cover awareness. He can make plays for the football like a WR, or if he wants let you feel him, you'll suffer a big hit from him.
With so much versatility, Bell is a hot name on the trail and a DB that I think has a tremendous future.
6. Mackensie Alexander, CB
Alexander doesn't like to do much press or interviews, but he's the type of corner that you love to have. The 5'11", 175-pound Florida native has a great deal of confidence in himself.
A fantastic athlete, Alexander has quick feet and the speed to carry defenders all around. He can press at the line thanks to having great adjustment ability and recovery speed in his back pocket and he can steal a pass from a receiver if given the chance.
He's one of the most complete football players in Florida this year.
5. Antonio Conner, S
A 6'1", 200-pound classic strong safety prospect from Mississippi, Conner can do an array of things, but I think he fits best at the SS position.
Conner quickly reads the run and will squeeze down into the box quickly with speed, athleticism and instincts. He can sniff out the ball-carrier quickly and is a very productive tackler. In fact, Conner is one of the best open field tacklers in this year's defensive class.
Expect for him to stay around the SEC.
4. Eli Woodard, CB
Woodard hails from New Jersey and is one of the smarter and instinctive corners in the country. I like his size and frame at 6'0", 185 pounds and his athleticism, speed and quickness.
Yet Woodard has great technique, discipline and awareness. He plays with his mind first and can really excel in off-man and zone schemes.
He's strong to press at the line and can attach to a receiver firmly in man to man coverage. Woodard is headed to Ohio State, where he will be one of the Buckeyes' future cornerstone defensive players.
3. Su'a Cravens, S
Cravens is an incredible athlete at 6'1", 205 pounds. He can play strong safety, free safety and could play corner if he needed to for his team.
From Southern California, Cravens figures to be a Troy Polamalu-type of defender at USC. He is terrific to play with instincts, football fast, quick and plays the run very well.
Cravens has the range to play on the back end and the ball skills to insert himself in passing lanes for interceptions. He may not be the best man to man cover guy, but he's a football player that can do a little bit of everything.
2. Kendall Fuller, CB
From Maryland, Fuller goes just about 5'11" and 190 pounds on the hoof. He has blessed athletic talents to where he physically has everything needed to be a top-flight, elite man to man cover corner.
Fuller has a quick and stout jam to press at the line, great hips and feet to mirror a WR trying to release and the short area quickness to come clean out of his transition, plant and drive on the football to make a play.
He'll be an All-ACC CB in a few seasons at Virginia Tech and has the potential to be the CB a team deploys on it's opponent's No. 1 WR week in and week out.
1. Vernon Hargreaves III, CB
A coach's son, Hargreaves plays with outstanding technique, positioning, instincts, vision, route recognition and play smarts.
From Florida, the 5'11", 180-pounder can play press-man, off-man and zone coverage techniques. He can slow down a play, processing information and then quickly break to make a play on the ball, or just be an annoying sticky cover man.
Hargreaves has the smarts, technique, speed, quickness, hips, feet, anticipation, route recognition and savvy to make an early impact at Florida.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects & writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.