ATLANTA — There are five receivers Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III has matched up against that stick out in his mind.
Three of those currently reside in the NFL: Alabama’s Amari Cooper, and LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. The fourth, Ole Miss’ Laquon Treadwell, is a sure-fire first round draft pick should he enter the NFL Draft this year.
The fifth, well, he’s just a freshman.
That would be the Crimson Tide’s Calvin Ridley. Hargreaves is a three-time All-SEC player, but he places Alabama’s star freshman in the same class as some of the SEC’s most prolific wideouts of recent memory.
“You could definitely throw him on there too,” Hargreaves said of Ridley Wednesday. “Very exciting player. Has a bright future ahead of him. He can run, he can do anything he wants.”
Hargreaves matched up against Ridley last Saturday in the SEC Championship game, during which the freshman caught eight passes for 102 yards, including a tremendous grab near the goal line over the junior defender.
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The Florida cornerback likened Ridley to Cooper, who he said was “without a doubt” the best receiver he has ever gone up against.
“He does some of the same moves, some of the same things,” Hargreaves said of Ridley. “He can run very well, he can catch the ball very well, he understands the offense. I think more than anything they are both competitors, the ultimate competitors. They want to compete and when the ball is in the air they are going to come down with it. That’s their mentality and that’s what you want to cover as a DB.”
Ridley has amassed 893 receiving yards on 75 catches in his first season with the Crimson Tide. He has potentially two more games to catch Cooper’s freshman receiving total of 999 yards.