If there’s one thing you can count on in the SEC this fall, it’s good cornerback play.
Take a look at recent history. The league had five cornerbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, including Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III and Alabama’s Cyrus Jones, but there are many more former SEC greats dominating the NFL.
Who will be the next players to join that list? Let’s take a look at the SEC’s best cornerback tandems heading into 2016.
Tre’Davious White and Kevin Toliver II – LSU
LSU’s secondary is scary to think about. Tre’Davious White and Kevin Toliver are considered two of the best in the conference. White made 44 tackles in 2015, while also racking up seven pass breakups. Toliver had 35 tackles, two tackles for loss, an interception and five pass breakups as a true freshman.
The talent doesn’t stop there. Dwayne Thomas is also among the SEC’s best corners, and he totaled 34 tackles, three tackles for loss and six pass breakups last season. So quarterbacks beware, the Tigers are loaded.
Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey – Alabama
Surprise, suprise. A Nick Saban-coached team features two of the best cornerbacks in the SEC. Despite the loss of Jones, the Crimson Tide are still in good shape with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Marlon Humphrey. The duo is looking to take a big step forward after an impressive freshman and redshirt freshman season in 2015, respectively.
Fitzpatrick put up fantastic numbers in his debut season in the SEC. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound corner totaled 45 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups. Humphrey wasn’t far behind as he racked up 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, eight pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson – Florida
Not many teams can lose the conference’s best corner and still return arguably the best corner in the league, but that’s what the Florida Gators are doing this fall. Florida is without the services of Hargreaves, but Jalen Tabor is ready to fill his shoes. The 6-foot, 191-pound Tabor totaled 40 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions, and 14 pass breakups last season.
Tabor isn’t the only reliable guy in the Gators secondary. Junior Quincy Wilson is looking to take advantage of more opportunities this season. Last season, Wilson had 29 total tackles, two interceptions and five pass breakups. Wilson should see more balls coming his way with Tabor locking down the other side of the field.
Tony Bridges and Kendarius Webster – Ole Miss
Although they had their ups and downs in 2015, Tony Bridges and Kendarius Webster have the potential to become stars for Ole Miss this fall. The duo was a part of a secondary that finished among the SEC’s worst in pass defense, but with a year of starting experience, don’t be surprised to see Bridges and Webster combining to be one of the league’s toughest cornerback tandems.
In his first season after signing with Ole Miss from junior college, Bridges totaled 36 tackles, two tackles for loss, three interceptions and nine pass breakups. Webster showed flashes of brilliance during his first year as a starter for the Rebels. The 5-foot-11, 180 pound corner put up 41 tackles, three tackles for loss, one interception and 11 pass breakups.