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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Jourdan Lewis

Jourdan Lewis

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan (NCAA): Lewis’ diving, one-handed, backhanded interception against Wisconsin wasn’t just one of the best catches you’ll see from any college football player (offense or defense) this season, it was also a clutch play that helped clinch the 4th-ranked Wolverines’ 14-7 win over the 8th-ranked Badgers on Saturday.

Wisconsin had fourth down inside their own 10-yard line with about 2:20 to go when WR George Rushing appeared to have Lewis beat. But the senior All-American cornerback leaped, hung in the air like Zach LaVine, and snatched QB Alex Hornibrook’s pass with one hand. Continue reading

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Which school is the true ‘DBU’?

Earl Thomas (12) with the Longhorns

Earl Thomas (12) with the Longhorns

The thing with unofficial titles is that anybody can lay claim to them.

And in a competitive environment such as the big-time sports industry, where everybody is looking to own something that sets them apart from the pack, that means any attractive title you can imagine could have multiple entities claiming it as their own.

In college football, one such example is the unofficial moniker “Defensive Back University,” better known as “DBU.”

Generally defined as the football program that historically produces the best defensive backs and/or sends the most DBs to the pro level, “DBU” has been ascribed to no shortage of major-conference programs: LSU, Florida, Texas, Washington State, Miami, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State have all worn the mythical “DBU” crown in recent years. Continue reading

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NFL’s Top 100: Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr. (#52)

USP NFL: SUPER BOWL 50-CAROLINA PANTHERS VS DENVER S FBN USA CA

Usually, when you don’t hear Chris Harris Jr.‘s name much during a game, it’s a good indication that he’s doing exactly what the Denver Broncos pay him to do.

As one of the premier “shutdown” cornerbacks in the NFL, Harris is supposed to blanket opposing wide receivers to the point where opposing quarterbacks don’t want to throw to them. That means Harris shouldn’t give up a lot of catches, which means he shouldn’t get making a lot of tackles and ideally shouldn’t even be getting a lot of interceptions.

But Harris was unusually active around the football during Super Bowl 50. His five tackles against the Carolina Panthers that day tied for his second-highest output of the season, and he added a sack. Which was apparently good enough for the Broncos, who won the game 24-10 and secured the championship with an overall defensive performance for the ages. Continue reading

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Dolphins’ short corners were up to tall task vs. Bears

Finnegan-Marshall-1

Size doesn’t mean everything in football, but it does mean something. Especially in the passing game.

The final game of my senior season in high school was against our main crosstown rival. Their quarterback that year was Isaiah Stanback, who would go on to play at the University of Washington and in the NFL. Their starting receivers were Ed Roy, older brother of Brandon Roy (who would go on to play in the NBA), and Roydell Smiley, who would go on to play basketball at USC. Ed Roy was 6-foot-6. Smiley was 6-foot-4. And then there was me, standing 5-8, starting at one cornerback spot for my team. Continue reading

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