With NSD less than a week away ESS is going to break down the class of 2016 cornerbacks. This year is pretty solid overall and the depth of the position is also very good. You have guys like Trayvon Mullen who have topped the list all season but some players have closed the gap like Chauncey Gardner, Tyler Byrd and Carlos Becker. Overall this is about as good of a group of cornerbacks as you can have in any one season. There will be some under the radar prospect in this group who out does all of them, we will just have to wait and see who that player is.
1-Trayvon Mullen-Coconut Creek-6’2-175-Mullen is a complete cornerback. He has size (6’2) and great length. He also has the mentality to play the position. He wants to line up on your top player anytime Mullen is on the field. He is very smooth and with his talent we expect him to make an instant impact on the field next season.
2-Chauncey Gardner-Cocoa-5’11-190-(Committed to Florida) One thing we like about Gardner is not only is he confident, Gardner will back it up on the field. He is a big, physical cornerback that will not back down from a challenge. Gardner can also help out in the run game. You are looking at one of the more complete players at his position nationwide.
3-Tyler Byrd-Naples-5’11-160-(Committed to Miami) Byrd showed why in the Army All-American game why he is one of the best cornerbacks in this class. He has very good cover skills and forgets trying to get open on him. His technique is very good for a defensive back.
4-Carlos Becker-6’2-175-Becker has quickly risen up the rankings. He has great size (6’2) and length. He is also versatile enough to play multiple positions in your secondary. His performance late in the season has propelled him close to the top of this list. We feel that Becker will play safety in college but right now most project him as a cornerback.
5-Aaron Robinson-Deerfield Beach-6’1-175-(Committed to Florida) Robinson is the true definition of a shutdown corner. He has the size and length to match up against pretty much any receiver that you can put on the field. He is one of the most underrated players in Florida this year and it would not surprise us at all to see him hearing his name called early in the NFL Draft in a few years.
6- Deion Jackson-Hallandale-6’1-185-(Committed to Miami) the best cornerback based on potential is Jackson. He is big and very physical. Forget trying to get open on him as Jackson will physically manhandle a receiver at the line of scrimmage. He is a big time talent that just needs to get it figured out off the field. Jackson may have to go the juco route. If that is the path for him, we expect Jackson to be the number 1 cornerback when he comes out of junior college.
7-Henry Miller-Gateway-6’3-195-(Committed to Pittsburgh)-Miller is one of the better athletes on this list. He has played quarterback while in high school. He is a play maker on both sides of the football. While Henry gives you a bigger type cornerback it would not shock us to see him eventually grow into a linebacker. He is a very good prospect with the type of upside any college coach would like.
8-Malek Young-Coconut Creek-5’10-175-(Committed to Miami)-We first saw Young as a freshman at a 7 on 7 events in Palm Beach. Three years later he is one of the top players at his position. Young reminds us of Terrence Brooks who ended up at safety at Florida State before moving onto the NFL. He is not real tall (5’10) but Young is built like a fire hydrant. He is a physical player that gives you everything he has on every play. We like him as a cornerback but look for him to start at nickel in college.
9-Craig Watts-Admiral Farragut-5’10-180-(Committed to USF)-Watts is the type of player that goes to USF and ends up an All-Conference player before getting drafted into the NFL. He has good size and speed. He should be able to make an impact on special teams right away.
10-Tyrek Tisdale-Oakridge-6’0-195-Tisdale is a prospect that played receiver and eventually moved over to defense. The move will end up helping him as Tisdale while raw as a prospect has nice upside. He is not as fluid as some of the players above him but his size and length should help him against the bigger receivers that you face in college.
11-McArthur Burnett-Pahokee-5’11-180-(Committed to Florida)-Here is a prospect we first saw a couple of years ago and came away very impressed. He makes plays on both sides of the football. McArthur is a prospect that believes in his talent. He is a very confident player and we expect that to carry over to college. He played running back as well but it is as a cornerback we feel is highest ceiling. It would not surprise us to see him have a better career then some of the guys we have listed above.
12-Jayvaughn Myers-Pasco-6’1-175-Myers has come out of nowhere this past season to put his name on the map. He is a solid athlete who can play either cornerback or safety in college. He is a guy that is going to have to play on the boundary at the next level.
13-Ke-Shan Pennamon-University Christian-5’11-190 (Committed to Wisconsin)-You want to know why University of Wisconsin has success in the state of Florida, it is because they take players like this one. He is a good athlete that should provide help right away on special teams. He has good coverage skills.
14-Antwaine Richardson-Atlantic-6’0-175-(Committed to Maryland) Richardson has flown under the radar most of the season. He committed to Michigan early on but has since changed to Maryland. He should do very well in the Big 10. Richardson gives you a cornerback with both the size and speed to match up against most receivers.
15-Dontye Carriere Williams-Saint Thomas-5’10-175-(Committed to Wisconsin)-Wisconsin signed a cornerback out of Plantation a couple of years ago who is very similar in skill set to Williams. Williams some time to develop physically but once that happens he should do very well in college. He does not mind challenging a receiver and wants the challenge of going against the very best another team has to offer.
Best of the rest….
*James Wiggins-South Dade-5’10-165-Turn on any South Dade game and Wiggins is making plays on offense and defense. He can play receiver, cornerback or safety in college. What is crazy is Wiggins is still available.
*Khalil Ladler-IMG Academy-5’11-175-(Committed to Virginia Tech)-He did not have the success many thought he would have at IMG and slipped a little. He is the type of kid that goes to Virginia Tech and ends up having a very good career.
*KJ Sails-Gaither-5’10-175-Sails is much underrated. He displayed good coverage skills when we saw him live. He is a very active player who does not mind the challenge of what you will face at cornerback. Someone is going to get a solid starter for a couple of seasons.
*Dedarllo Blue-Armwood-6’0-190-(Committed to Toledo)-You want to know why Toledo plays for MAC Titles, players like Blue are the reason. He is a player that has slipped down to the MAC and we expect to have a very solid career.
* Amari Thompson-Lake Minneola-6’2-180-(Committed to Georgia Southern)-Here is a player that has also flown under the radar. We like his size and length at the cornerback position. He is versatile enough to play anywhere you ask him in the secondary.
*Romelo Webster-Hallandale-5’10-175-(Committed to Iowa State)-He can play inside on the slot or outside. He is a physical cornerback that likes to come up and play in man. He should do well in a Conference that likes to air the ball out.
*Antoine Webster-American-5’11-175-(Committed to FAU)-FAU has done a great job of identifying under the radar defensive backs. This one is no different as Webster can be a shutdown corner. He has good size and the speed to match up against another team’s fastest receiver.
* Hamp Cheevers-Trenton-5’11-175-If Cheevers plays on defense in college he will have a very successful career. He has very good speed and quickness and his body is built to play cornerback. You are looking at a player who was the MVP of the state title game this past December.
* Josh Dunn-Lake Wales-5’11-190-(Committed to USF) One thing players from Polk County bring to your team is toughness. Dunn is no different. He gives you a physical presence in the secondary. Look for him to make an impact right away on special teams.
* Brandon Shuman-Gulliver Prep-5’11-160-(Committed to Purdue)-Shuman has had a very quiet but productive career in high school. He has the height (5’11) but will need to put some weight on his frame to play right away. A red-shirt year to develop physically would do Shuman wonders.
* DiCaprio Bootle-Southridge-5’11-170-(Committed to Nebraska) you may be looking at the fastest defensive back in this year’s class. For a team that needs some speed in their secondary, Bootle brings that to Nebraska. We would not be surprised to see him returning kicks and punts from day 1 just to get him on the field.
* Malik Bell-Miami Palmetto-5’11-175-If not for an injury during his junior season Bell would have multiple offers. He gives you a cornerback with elite level speed (4.4) and above average size for a cornerback.
* Trevor Merritt-Viera-5’10-190-Merritt is a prospect that does everything well on the field but may be better of it. He is a player that should go on to college and have a very good career.
Honorable Mention-Tino Espinoza-West Florida Tech-6’0-175-(Air Force), Rayshard Lewis-Bishop Moore-5’10-160-(Utah State), Evan Cruz-Viera-5’8-170, Michael Hampton-Hillsborough-6’0-180, Bakhari Goodson-Wekiva-5’11-175 (UMASS), Elijah Daniels-Cardinal Gibbons-6’0-190-(Maryland), Frank Coppett-St Thomas-6’0-175-(Vanderbilt), Shemar Jean Charles-Miramar-5’11-175-(Bowling Green).