11 College Football Recruits Who Are Turnover Machines
Playing defense is not just about letting the offense dictate to you. The best defenses do not sit back and adjust to offenses and various alignments, formations and motions all the time. Those defenses go on the offensive and only tackle ball-carriers when they can't take the football away.
You see, defense is about having 11 players on the field who are going to do what needs to be done to get the ball back to their offense. That is why you see many defensive coordinators and analysts discuss "takeaways" so much. Interceptions, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles are crucial for a defense.
Front seven defenders are taught not only to tackle with good technique but also the art of stripping the ball from offensive players. Defensive backs are taught that when the ball is thrown, it is much theirs for the taking as it is a receiver's.
Some defenders get this message a little more thoroughly than others, then there are those defenders who are extreme turnover machines. For this read, here are 11 defensive recruits from the 2014 class who appear to fit the latter mold.
Craig Evans, DT
The big 6'4", 305-pound DT is not just a space-eating big guy who'll not be productive. Evans clearly is out to force turnovers, evidenced by his five forced fumbles as a junior.
When he meets a ball-carrier, the Wisconsin native is out to swallow up a tackle and spit the football back out. Evans is more of a playmaker than a simple run-clogger.
Brandon Simmons, DB
The 6'0", 185-pound DB is always around the football. It's like Simmons forgets at times that he's on defense, sees the ball in the air and actually believes he's a WR.
As a sophomore alone, Simmons got his hands on a remarkable 18 balls while intercepting three of them. Simmons has a natural knack for being around the football, and that means he's got a knack for forcing turnovers.
Kain Daub, ILB
The big Florida State commit has been forcing turnovers in Florida for quite some time. Last year he made five offensive players cough up the football due to big hits, and that number probably will double as a senior.
Daub also flashes the ball skills to strip the ball from running backs and receivers. However, it's his big hits and wrap-tackling ability that allows him to force turnovers at a high rate.
Damon Webb, CB
Webb is headed to Ohio State, and if he continues the type of play in Columbus that he has displayed in high school, the Buckeyes' offense will love him.
Last fall, the 5'11", 180-pound intercepted seven passes, broke up another 10 and also chipped in with four FFs. That's a turnover machine and defensive playmaker's stat line if there ever was one from the CB position.
Christian Miller, OLB
Miller plays his high school ball in South Carolina, and coming into this fall, I'm sure opposing coaches will be warning their offenses all week long about him.
Aside from having 121 tackles as a junior, the turnover machine forced four fumbles. What's impressive about that stat is that Miller recovered three of those himself.
Andrew Brown, DT
Offenses do all they can to stop Brown, but they know he's going to live in their backfield. That's evidenced by out of Brown's 83 tackles last year, 14 were for loss.
He also added 14 sacks, but this is about turnovers and Brown forces them from the DT position. In 2012 alone, the 6'4", 295-pounder forced four fumbles and several of his sacks were strips.
He definitely is a playmaking turnover machine from the interior defensive front.
Jalen Tabor, CB
Admit it, the first stat you look at when you view a CB is how many interceptions he had. Well if that's the case, then you'll like Tabor, as the 6'1" CB had eight INTs as a junior, returning one for a score.
He uses his length and athleticism to go up and get balls on fades while also showing the undercut quickness to jump passing lanes. Look for the D.C. cover man to get himself 10 picks as a senior, should he be tested.
Edward Paris, S
Paris' tackle production may have dipped in 2012, but his ball production increased. The 6'1", 190-pound LSU commit picked off seven passes, returned two for TDs and broke up another 12.
He also forced three fumbles and recovered two. Since his freshman season at Mansfield Timberview in Texas, Paris has 17 career interceptions with 33 passes broken up.
Yes, Les Miles is getting a turnover machine in Paris.
Adoree' Jackson, CB
An outstanding athlete, Jackson uses his gifts to force turnovers from the CB position and get his hand on balls. The 5'10", 180-pounder has 11 interceptions over the past two seasons to go along with 17 passes broken up. As a junior, Jackson also had two FFs and recovered a fumble.
Marlon Humphrey, CB
Humphrey is the best player in Alabama this year and is also one of the best CB prospects nationally. Tall at 6'1" and lean at 179 pounds, he's a good athlete with terrific instincts and anticipation skills.
As a takeaway/turnover enforcer, Humphrey has 10 career interceptions, 24 passes broken up and also has recovered two fumbles. When he has the ball in his hands, he's a threat to score, as he has returned three picks for TDs.
Quin Blanding, S
Blanding is a 6'2", 200-pound safety who is from Virginia and committed to Virginia. He has excellent route-recognition skills, instincts and will definitely help squeeze vs. the run.
However, it is Blanding's ball skills that are what separates him from the average safety prospect, among several other factors. For his career in high school, Blanding has 15 INTs and countless PBU.
When he gets to Virginia, QBs are going to have know where he is at all times, because Blanding will be out to pick off a lot of balls and force a lot of turnovers.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.