As soon as the pomp and circumstance of National Signing Day 2016 (Feb. 3) had dissipated, attention immediately turned to the recruiting class of 2017.
According to Scout.com, the top cornerback in that class is Darnay Holmes of Calabasas (Calif.) High School, who recently announced that he has cut his list of colleges to seven — Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington — and will make his decision this summer.
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 185-pounds, Holmes is classified as an “athlete” instead of a defensive back by some recruiting publications, because in addition to his exploits in the secondary he is also a standout receiver and kick returner. Scout has him ranked as the No. 11 player overall in the 2017 class. Continue reading
The Big 12 conference is not known for good defense.
Six of the conference’s 10 teams allowed 30-plus points per game this past season. Kansas and Texas Tech were the worst and second-worst defenses, respectively, among 128 FBS squads in terms of yards allowed per game. Iowa State and Texas finished in the bottom 25, and Kansas State and Oklahoma State ranked in the bottom 50.
But that doesn’t mean defensive players are not valued highly in the Big 12, which has produced recent NFL draft picks like DT Malcolm Brown (2015 1st round), CB Justin Gilbert (2014 1st round), CB Jason Verrett (2014 1st round) and FS Kenny Vaccaro (2013 1st round). Continue reading
Jamel Cook, a senior at Miami (Fla.) Central High School, is ranked by Scout.com as the fifth-best safety in the national class of 2016 and the No. 88 player in the class overall. In February he verbally committed to Florida State, but is reportedly still considering Auburn, Miami and West Virginia before putting pen to paper.
Standing 6-foot-4 and knocking on 200 pounds, Cook is already bigger than some NFL safeties. But he’s no lumbering linebacker in disguise; he’s been clocked as fast as 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash. On paper and on film, he looks like a good bet — should he stay committed to the Seminoles — to add to the lineage of FSU defensive backs in the NFL that includes Deion Sanders, Terrell Buckley, LeRoy Butler, Ronald Darby, Samari Rolle, Bryant McFadden, Martin Mayhew, Dexter Jackson and Antonio Cromartie. Continue reading
There were plenty of plays that could have summed up Arizona’s 44-7 blowout of Oregon State on Saturday. But my favorite was Wildcats senior defensive back Will Parks lowering his shoulder and probably making Beavers receiver Jordan Villamin reconsider this whole football thing: Continue reading
On the surface, it’s not a football play that seems deserving of national media coverage.
A high school freshman cornerback in a freshman-level football game intercepts an anybody’s-ball type of pass from the opposing quarterback. It was a nice-looking left-handed grab by the kid, but nothing like, say, Charles Woodson‘s famous one-armed sideline pick against Michigan State from his 1997 Heisman Trophy season.
So why is Desert Ridge (Mesa, Ariz.) High School’s Michael Orr having local newspaper articles written on him and sports media outlets like FOX Sports 1 and Max Preps replaying this highlight? Continue reading
If you haven’t yet seen the Monday Night Fumble by Lions WR Calvin Johnson that led to the “intentional batting” incident that has turned into the biggest NFL controversy since … well, the Patriots and their deflated footballs a few weeks ago … you probably don’t have a TV. Or a tablet. Or a phone. Or a friend.
In case you missed it, or if just need to see it again, here’s a video of the play along with more talk about the infamous non-call from NFL.com.
Johnson’s fumble, caused by Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor and helped out of bounds by linebacker K.J. Wright, allowed Seattle to hang on for a 13-10 victory. And in a lot of ways, it was the play of the NFL season so far. Continue reading
David Long of Loyola High School (Los Angeles, Calif.) is ranked by Scout.com as the fifth-best cornerback in the national Class of 2016, and the 56th-best overall player in the class. He verbally committed to Stanford over the summer, but recently said he still plans to take official campus visits to Nebraska, Notre Dame, Michigan and Washington.
If Long stays committed to the Cardinal, he’ll be going to a program with a rich history of putting defensive backs in the NFL. Stanford alums include Richard Sherman, John Lynch, Darrien Gordon, Toi Cook, O.J. Atogwe, Coy Wire and Benny Barnes, to name a handful. Continue reading
The Raiders’ 24-20 win over the Chiefs this past Thursday snapped a 16-game losing streak for Oakland and gave the silver and black its first victory this season. The game was also a landmark occasion for veteran Raiders safety Charles Woodson, who finished with eight tackles and one sack to become the first player in NFL history with at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. (Woodson has 58 picks, 11 of which he’s returned for touchdowns.)
Woodson is at the tail-end of a career that will certainly land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, perhaps on the first ballot. It’s just too bad he may have to author his finale with the sorry Raiders. Continue reading
According to ESPN’s Recruiting Nation rankings, Kevin Tolliver II is the best high school cornerback in the country and the No. 6 overall player in the Class of 2015. The 6-2, 193-pound athlete from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., was being recruited by pretty much any big-time college football program you can name before picking LSU. Tolliver committed to the Tigers last week after whittling his list down to LSU, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Florida State and UCLA. Continue reading
Little league coaches, high school players, ambitious parents … they are just three of the many groups of people who will always be interested in the answer to one question: How do the pros practice?
This video clip gives a brief glimpse into a Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs drill during this year’s training camp. Eagles DBs coach John Lovett has been in the game for over four decades, starting as a college linebacker at C.W. Post and moving up the coaching ranks from high school to the pros. Most of his career has been spent as a defensive coordinator on the major college level. Philadelphia’s assistant DBs coach is Todd Lyght, a 12-year NFL veteran cornerback with the Rams and Lions who won a Super Bowl and was named to one Pro Bowl with the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams in 1999. Continue reading