SDS talent evaluators Jon Cooper and Brad Crawford spent several months breaking down last year’s highlights, incoming talent and projected 2014 impact following spring practice to compile a list of the SEC’s Top 100 players heading into fall. Athletes were selected by position then ranked overall counting down to No. 1.
Stick with SDS throughout summer and get in on the action using the hashtag #SDSTop100 as we unveil a new player daily leading up to opening night on Aug. 28.
91. Jalen Tabor, Frosh., CB, Florida
The Gators’ top recruit in this year’s class, Tabor spurned a cross-country move to Arizona on National Signing Day for a career in Gainesville, a significant decision based on what Florida’s replacing in its secondary.
The exit of Jaylen Watkins, Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy means there’s open spots for the taking and as an early enrollee, Tabor’s already shown precision in coverage and has proved he’s ready to contribute. He’ll compete with fellow freshman Duke Dawson to fill a void at corner. Purifoy and Roberson each skipped their senior seasons only to go undrafted while Watkins was taken by Philadelphia in the fourth round.
Vernon Hargreaves III, a future early-round pick, is the Gators’ top talent against the pass, but Tabor isn’t far behind if he’s able to sidestep the SEC’s steep learning curve for first-year defenders. Hargreaves took Tabor and Dawson under his wing during spring practice as both players adjusted to coordinator D.J. Durkin’s plans defensively.
With depth at safety and one corner spot locked in, the kid with the Superman insignia tatted across his chest should win the battle with Dawson prior to the season opener against Idaho on Aug. 30.
2013 statistics: A 2014 U.S. Army and Under Armour All-American selection, Tabor was rated the nation’s fourth-best cornerback by 247Sports.
2014 projection: 37 tackles, INT, FR
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