Best 1-2 Punch in 2019 class: Cornerbacks
Mark Pszonak contributed to this report.
With 2019 in the rear-view mirror, let’s take a look at the teams that brought in the best 1-2 punches at each position. Today, we continue with the cornerbacks.
The skinny: While the Gators have not experienced the level of overall team success on the field in recent years that they have become accustomed to, their defense has continued to impress. This has been especially true at the cornerback position, which has consistently produced NFL talent. Both Steele and Elam noticed this trend, which was one of the factors that brought them to Gainesville. There is a good amount of young talent in front of them, but both are athletic and versatile enough to push for early playing time.
Farrell’s take: This is a great duo as both players have size and length and can be left on an island. Steele is ready to impact now and Elam could have the higher ceiling with his athleticism and length. Florida continues its tradition of top defensive backs with these two.
The skinny: Just as with Florida, Clemson has developed a reputation for producing top-level cornerbacks. And with that, it was able to reel in two of the best in the country from Georgia and Virginia. Booth is a dynamic playmaker on the defensive side of the ball, who the Tigers will likely find a way to put out on the field this fall, while Jones has the potential to become a lockdown corner for the Tigers during his time in Death Valley.
Farrell’s take: Booth is smooth and has excellent instincts while Jones could play either cornerback or safety in the long run. Booth is ready to impact right away while Jones might take a year or so, but both will continue the Clemson defensive back tradition.
3. FLORIDA STATE
The skinny: The Seminoles may have had a disappointing class overall in 2019, one of the positions they can be proud of is at cornerback. While both Dent and Jay were being pulled in several different directions over the last couple of months leading up to National Signing Day, the Florida State coaching staff was able to fend off the many threats. Willie Taggart still needs to improve his recruiting in Tallahassee, but keeping in-state talent like Dent and Jay home is a good way to get the Seminoles back to where they are accustomed to.
Farrell’s take: Dent could be special with his willingness to tackle and his length and speed while Jay is a prospect who seems to just be starting to reach his potential. The Seminoles always make a case for DBU and these two will certainly keep that going.
The skinny: The Tide like big, aggressive cornerbacks and both Banks and Turnage fit that mold perfectly. Overall, Banks may be one of the more gifted recruits in the entire class. It may take him a little time to figure everything out, but once he does, the sky will be the limit. Turnage, who was one of the more physical corners in the country, should be able to transition nicely into the Tide defensive schemes. Both players have the potential to see the field this fall.
Farrell’s take: Banks has one of the highest ceilings of all the cornerbacks in this class and just keeps getting better each time we see him. Turnage isn’t as athletic but he’s probably closer to being ready to play early and he will thump in run support.
The skinny: Oklahoma has been able to compete for national championships in recent years thanks largely to its offense, while its defense has continued to struggle. Recruiting top-level talent to that side of the ball is one obvious way to improve this, and by adding both Washington and Davis the Sooners may have gone a long way in helping their pass defense of the future. And with the Sooners inconsistent play in the secondary in 2018, Davis and Washington will have early opportunities.
Farrell’s take: Oklahoma needs talented defensive backs and these two fit the bill. Both are excellent in solo coverage, work well in space and are solid tacklers. Each has a chance to be a difference-maker very early for the Sooners and they complement each other well.