The last line of defense is the defensive backfield. When you play safety or corner the pressure is always on, when a defensive back makes a mistake it is usually a costly one.
Defensive back is a position that you can turn from goat to hero or vice versa in one play. You can get a close-up getting burned for a game-winning touchdown or making the game saving interception.
Is there a more manic position in football? One play you’re up, and the next play your down.
This week Pac10Recruiting will be profiling some of the most sought after defensive backs in the west. There are other players who could be listed here, but this is a good start.
Derrick Bradley, Kenneth Frank, Chad Green, Damon Jenkins, Freddie Parrish, Desmond Reed, Lorenzo Sims Jr. , Ryan Smith and Terrell Thomas are some of the best in the West, and he’s a quick look at what makes them special.
Bradley plays for Mukilteo (Wash.) Kamiak and stands 5-foot-10, weighs 180 and has been clocked in the 40-yard dash in 4.4. He is considered the top cover man in the Northwest.
“Derrick is a player who does everything right,” Kamiak coach Dan Mack said.
Bradley was an all-conference selection as both a DB and a return man. The Huskies have stepped out and offered Bradley a scholarship. Oregon, Oregon State, and Washington State are also showing interest.
Frank hails from Cerritos and stands 6-foot-2, weighs 190 and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5. Frank is a standout on both sides of the ball as a defensive back/running back.
It looks like Frank will end up on the defensive side of the ball. He was the CIF division VI defensive player of the year after accounting for 96 tackles, six picks and two sacks. Frank was also a first-team all-CIF and all-division choice from his defensive back position.
LSU, which has been very aggressive out in the Golden State, has already offered the talented Frank a scholarship. Others in the hunt are Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Washington, and Fresno State.
Green is an outstanding corner from Van Nuys (Calif.) Birmingham. He stands 6-foot-0, weighs 175 and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. Green burst onto the scene when he put the blanket on Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft superstar wide receiver Steve Smith their sophomore year.
What did Green do for an encore? He shut Smith down again as a junior. Birmingham won both games. Green was selected all-valley and all-city his junior season and is a two-time all-league performer.
Along with LSU, USC, UCLA, Oregon and Michigan are also in pursuit.
Maybe the best pure cover corner in northern California this season will be Jenkins from Concord (Calif.) DeLaSalle.
Jenkins has been seldom challenged during his career at DeLaSalle. He is a two-time all-state and all-league selection. Jenkins had three interceptions and four sacks as a junior.
The list of schools competing for the attention of Jenkins is a virtual who’s who of D-I powerhouses. UCLA, Arizona, ASU, Oregon, Washington, Ohio State, UNLV, Wisconsin, Colorado and a host of others are recruiting the talented DB from DeLaSalle.
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly is home for Parrish, who is one of the fastest rising defensive back prospects on the West Coast. Parrish saw his stock rise even higher after his strong showing at the Nike Camp held at Stanford this past Saturday.
Parrish recorded the fastest shuttle time at the combine with a 4.01 and ran an outstanding 4.5 40-yard dash. He is 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.
After a performance like Parrish had at the Nike Camp, it is easy to see why he currently has offers from Stanford, Washington, WSU, ASU, Oregon State and Notre Dame.
Many feel that Stanford is the team to beat, but when you have the options that Parrish has, anything can happen.
Reed from Temple City, Calif., is 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
A superb athlete, Reed is a standout on both sides of the ball and in track. It’s easy to see why he projects as a pure cover corner, Reed accounted for 62 tackles, nine picks and three forced fumbles. He returned three of his interceptions for touchdowns. This blanket has had 18 interceptions over the last two years.
As a wide receiver, Reed caught 57 passes for 1,598 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also an outstanding return man who has returned three punts and one kickoff for touchdowns.
Reed is getting recruiting action from Florida, UCLA, USC, LSU, Cal, Oregon and more. The Arizona Wildcats have offered.
Another player that had a solid Nike Camp at Stanford was Lorenzo Sims from Fresno (Calif.) Edison.
Sims is a two-time all-league selection. He is a great hitter and fantastic in run support. Sims was second on team with 115 tackles as a junior and he was stellar in coverage picking off seven passes.
Edison is a school known for developing defensive backs. The list includes Tierre Sams (Fresno State), Paul Holland (New Mexico State), Ricky Manning (UCLA) and most recently Aaron Miller (Oklahoma). Sims looks to be next in line to get a D-I scholarship.
LSU and USC have already given Sims written offers. He has pending offers from Oregon, UNLV, Oklahoma, UCLA, Nebraska, Utah and Fresno State.
If there is a sleeper in this group then it’s Smith from La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat. Smith stands 5-foot-10, weighs 175 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
Smith racked up 23 tackles; had six passes broken up, two picks and was an all-league selection for his efforts. Not bad stats when you consider that opposing avoided Smith’s area like one who would avoid the plague.
“Ryan is as good as they come as a cover corner. He makes the man he’s covering disappear,” Bishop Amat coach Mike DiFiori said.
High praise when you consider the school Smith plays for Bishop Amat has had terrific corners in the past, most notably Daylon McCutcheon (USC) and Ralph Brown (Nebraska).
Both are making a living on Sunday.
There are no offers yet, but Smith is getting recruiting action from the likes of UCLA, USC, Washington, Cal, Oregon, and Colorado.
Talk about high praise, Thomas from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., sure received his share when a former coach of Ronnie Lott said Thomas is at the same caliber of Lott at the same stage of their development.
Thomas is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4. He has been selected all-league as a sophomore and junior as a safety.
Like Lott, Thomas is a tough, hard-nosed football player with outstanding character.
“Terrell is a great kid,” Rancho Cucamonga coach Bill Mulvehill said. “Terrell is a tremendous worker whether he’s in the classroom or the gridiron.”
Thomas has already received offers from Oregon State and Washington State, while he’s hearing from several other schools. He is very open regarding his favorite schools at this early juncture and will most likely take all five official trips before making a decision.