football Edit

Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge: Ranking the defensive backs

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Andre Seldon

ATLANTA - More than 100 of the top players in the nation participated in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by adidas at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium last week. The Rivals analyst team is breaking down the status of each player at the marquee event based on their performance against elite competition. Today, we finish the series with the defensive backs.

MORE #RIVALSCHALLENGE: Farrell's final thoughts | Peers predictions | The Farrell Awards | Simmons' surprises | Mind of Mike after early sessions | MVPs | Teams that should be pleased | Coverage from throughout the day

FIVE-STAR CHALLENGE POSITION RANKINGS: QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals100 | Position | Team | State


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Jaylon Jones (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Jones was the most consistent defensive back on the field and many receivers noted how well he did in coverage. The Texas A&M commit has a huge frame for a cornerback and that made life really difficult for wide receivers and quarterbacks. Usually, 6-foot-2 cornerbacks can have a tough time in the one-on-one session and during the 7-on-7 tournament, but Jones had the quickness and instincts to excel in both situations. Jones always seemed to get a hand on the ball and was always using his length to his advantage.

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Seldon's competitive nature was well-known shortly after the camp began on Tuesday. The Michigan commit was one of the most active players in attendance, using his elite explosiveness to knock down passes thrown in front of him on numerous occasions. Bigger receivers tried to beat Seldon on jump balls, but he was able to contest almost every one thrown his way. Throughout the day, Seldon was one of the most talkative and disruptive defensive backs.

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Kelee Ringo

Ringo's 4.35 second 40-yard dash in the laser-timed Fastest Man Competition drew plenty of eyeballs, and his elite speed was easy to see throughout the drills portion of the day. He was one of the best in each of the position drills, showing off his range and footwork. Ringo started the one-on-one session with a few good plays, but his legs tightened up and he sat out the rest of the day, including the 7-on-7 tournament.

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Tony Grimes (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

One of the top underclassmen at the event, Grimes really thrived in the first session of the day. His footwork during position drills was crisp and he did a great job showing off his instincts in man coverage. Grimes excelled against receivers that tried to test him down the field. He knows how to be physical with receivers and he did a great job of knocking them off their routes.

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Johnson has a fantastic frame to build on and could be a great cornerback or safety at the next level. There were some rough spots in the drills and one-on-one sessions, but he really turned it on during the 7-on-7 tournament, and he was a big part of his team's run to the championship game. He pulled in a few key interceptions and he let his instincts take over, allowing him to play faster and be more effective. Johnson's game seemed to improve greatly when he covered from depth and was able to break on passes in front of him.

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Avantae Williams (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

A well-known prospect on the camp and 7-on -7 circuit, Williams arrived in Atlanta with a lot of expectations, and he lived up to the hype for the most part. He was good in drills and had plenty of highlights in the one-on-one session, but receivers that were able to make Williams try to turn and run with them were able to get some separation. That wasn't a problem for Williams during the 7-on-7 session, as he was able to stay on top of receivers and keep them from tripping him up.

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One of the bigger defensive backs in attendance, Covington made his mark in the open-field tackling drills and in the 7-on-7 tournament. He has good range and plays better from depth, instead of press coverage. Covington does a great job of being physical with receivers and he has a knack for making plays on the ball on a regular basis. He has the frame to continue bulking up, so it will interesting to see how he develops at the next level.

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Johnson was one of the best athletes in the defensive back group and it showed throughout the day. The Tennessee commit used his impressive explosiveness and length to disrupt the timing between receivers and their quarterbacks. Johnson was active in the one-on-one session and in the 7-on-7 tournament. He knocked down his fair share of passes and made it very difficult for receivers to find any space during 7-on-7 play.

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Darius Snow (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Snow walked into registration in Atlanta looking more like a linebacker prospect than a defensive back, but he proved his doubters wrong on the field. After seeing his muscled-up frame, Snow's physical play should not have been a surprise for receivers. He has plenty of speed and didn't allow many completions. Don't be surprised if Snow ends up playing a few different positions in the secondary at Michigan State.

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As a safety prospect, Alford had plenty of success during the one-on-one session. He was disciplined and knew how to play to his strengths. Alford showed good instincts and had a great sense of timing. Expect quarterbacks to have a hard time completing deep passes against him at the next level.