Highlights: Florida State recruit Derwin James


Derwin James is the best high school safety in the country, according to The senior from Haines City, Fla., is ranked No. 15 among all players in the Class of 2015 and No. 4 among DBs — behind cornerbacks Kendall Sheffield (Missouri City, Texas), Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif.) and Kevin Tolliver (Jacksonville, Fla.).

Standing 6-foot-1 and weighing 215 pounds, James has enough room to grow into his frame that some talent evaluators predict he’ll eventually be a linebacker in college. He also plays wide receiver for Haines City High School, but for now James is committed to Florida State as a safety. And FSU fans shouldn’t worry much about James changing his mind; the kid already has the Seminoles logo tattooed on his left shoulder. Here is some of James’ best work from last season: Continue reading

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VIDEO: Marcus Trufant’s jam session


Before the “Legion of Boom” formed in Seattle, the Seahawks had Marcus Trufant. A homegrown talent from Tacoma, Wash., who was an All-American cornerback at Washington State University, Trufant was the Seahawks’ first-round draft pick in 2003. He played 10 seasons in the league, gathering 21 interceptions and six fumble recoveries, before retiring this year. Trufant’s career included one All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowl nod, and he helped lead the Seahawks to the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance in 2006.

Trufant bridged the gap in Seattle between the Reggie Tongue/Shawn Springs era and the Earl Thomas/Richard Sherman era. And he was the first in a line of Trufants to populate the NFL, paving the way for younger brothers and fellow DBs Isaiah Trufant (Browns) and Desmond Trufant (Falcons). Continue reading

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VIDEO: Donovin Darius shows you how to force a fumble


In his 10-year NFL career, Donovin Darius forced seven fumbles and recovered six from the strong safety position. For comparison’s sake, six-time Pro Bowl SS Tim McDonald forced 10 fumbles during his 13-year run, while eight-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Fame SS Troy Polamalu has six fumble recoveries in his 12 years in the league. In other words, Darius was the kind of opportunistic playmaker you want in the secondary. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Secrets to Great Man Coverage


Forty-yard dash times and wingspan measurements are understandably important to those who make a living analyzing and evaluating defensive backfield talent, but still, the best way for a cornerback or safety to catch a scout’s attention is the ability to stick to pass-catchers like duct tape.

To develop that particular set of skills, you won’t find many teachers better than Ron Cooper, currently the DBs coach for the University of South Florida who resume also includes stints with Mississippi State, Wisconsin, LSU and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Prime U’s DB route tree conditioning

Mark Parson

Mark Parson is the exactly the kind of undersized underdog that shows like HBO’s “Hard Knocks” want to cover.

The 5-foot-9 cornerback went undrafted out of Ohio University in 2009 before getting a couple of training camp shots with the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans, and later with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. While those opportunities didn’t lead to a regular-season roster spot, Parson has stayed in the game as a trainer and speed coach. Continue reading

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