Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Top 5 College Cornerbacks

Dre Bly

In his redshirt freshman season at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Bly led the nation with 11 interceptions. He received all-American honors, and is only one of five players in NCAA history to achieve this honor as a freshman (Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Bjorn Merten, and Marshall Faulk being the others) [1]. Bly was the only football player in UNC and ACC history to receive consensus 1st team All-America honors three times in his college career. In his sophomore year, he was one of three finalists for the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Year Award. Bly held the ACC record for career interceptions (20), until he was surpassed by Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest (21
He was one of the best ball hawks that has played the Cornerback position in College. An excellent man to man cover corner. I can remember his memorable battles he had with FSU during his career. One thing that we knew about Dre, was his ability to play the ball when it was in the air. The confidence he showed while playing on the island was what made him special. And he was unwilling to back down form a WR in hand to hand combat.

Antoine Winfield

He played college football at Ohio State University, winning the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back in 1998.
I liked Antoine’s game because he was small in stature, but big in heart. He was one of the most aggressive corners to ever play college football. The hits that he made were surprising for a man his size. Many people avoided his side of the field because he would tend to shut down the WR’s he was matched up with. His tackling skills were superb and he was known for disrupting pulling guards.

Charles Woodson

Woodson played college football at University of Michigan. He became the starter after the second game of his freshman season and played in 34 straight games. In addition to playing cornerback, he returned punts and occasionally played as a wide receiver.
In 1995, Woodson was selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He was named to the All-Big Ten First Team by conference coaches, and Second Team All-Big Ten by the media. He led the team with five interceptions and eight takeaways.[5]
In 1996, Woodson set a Wolverine record for pass breakups with 15. For his efforts, he was named the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year and an AP First Team All-American. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and named to All-Big Ten First Team by conference coaches and the media.[5]
In his junior season in 1997, Woodson became the third Michigan player to win the Heisman Trophy, joining Tom Harmon (1940) and Desmond Howard (1991). Woodson received 282 more voting points than runner-up Peyton Manning.[1] He was the first and is still the only primarily defensive player to win the prestigious award. [2] Woodson led the Michigan Wolverines to an undefeated season and a share of the national championship in the same year. He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive college player.[2] He was named to the All-Big Ten First-Team for the third year and First-Team All-American for the second year. It was his second year winning the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year award and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson won the Jim Thorpe Award, an award which he was nominated for the previous year
A very physical and big corner. He had the size to play corner or safety. It was hard to throw the deep ball against him since his height would help him shield the WR from the ball. An intense leader, who was remembered for his numerous battles with David Boston. He played man to man equally as well as he played zone defensive. A consistent performer who was known for making big plays in big games.

Deon Figures

He attended the University of Colorado where he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back in 1992. He intercepted Notre Dame's Rick Mirer in the 1991 Orange Bowl on the final play of the game to preserve a 10-9 Colorado victory and capture the 1990 national championship.
A very big cornerback who also played ball well when it went in the air. A master technician who was not known for his elite speed. He used multiple techniques to display his ability in zone coverage as well as zone. The amount of techniques Colorado used was amazing and he played all of them well. He could play the two hand jam technique, the one-hand jam, the bail & jam, the fake jam and bail, etc…A true enforcer in the secondary who always seemed to be at the right place at the right time.

Kelly Jennings

An excellent cover corner that is very instinctive. He can stay step for step with WR’s because of excellent mirror ability. He easily stays in out of breaks with the quickest WR’s. I can remember seeing Kelly live and was very impressed with the quickness and smooth transition of his back pedal. His ability to turn his hips to adjust to any double moves the WR does is one of the best I have seen. The mobility of his hips and ability to keep the same speed during anticipation of the WR’s routes is excellent. It was very hard to throw on Kelly as his off man technique was just as good as his zone playing ability.

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