Ranking the SEC’s cornerbacks for 2013

Previous Rankings:

The SEC always recruits and develops great cornerbacks. Although defensive ends, tackles and linebackers sell the most tickets, talented cornerbacks help make them look great. And we’ve seen some great ones in recent years like Morris Claiborne, Dee Millier, Dre Kirkpatrick and Patrick Peterson.

And 2013’s cast is loaded once more.

Let’s get down to business:


1. Andre Hal, Vanderbilt
2. Marcus Roberson, Florida

Andre Hal is the SEC’s leading returning leader in passes defended. He’s the glue to the Commodores’ secondary that holds everything together. Hal recorded 14 pass breakups, 16 passes defended and two INTs in 2012, and he’s primed and ready for a big senior year. I doubt many quarterbacks will pick on Hal, especially when there will be a new starter opposite him in the secondary…Marcus Roberson is Florida’s best corner. Yeah, I know Louchiez Purifoy gets all the ink and pub, but the 6-1 Roberson has lockdown potential, making Florida’s secondary completely nasty. Roberson notched 12 pass breakups, 14 passes defended and two INTs in 2012. Will Muschamp loves taller corners, and Roberson is one of the very best in the country.

Massive potential

3. Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
4. Damian Swann, Georgia

Loucheiz Purifoy is Florida’s Honey Badger. He’s a crazy talented athlete, but he’s not a better overall corner than Roberson. Purifoy will get some time on offense, but primarily, he’ll play corner and excel on special teams. Purifoy made 51 tackles last season, along with three forced fumbles. He’s an excellent athlete, and his cover and tackling skills should improve…Damian Swann is one of Georgia’s ‘Dream Teamers’ to grow into a star player. Swann recorded five pass breakups, nine passes defended and four INTs as a sophomore. He should be the SEC’s most improved corner, and he’s the leader of the young, inexperienced Bulldogs’ secondary.

Underrated veteran

5. EJ Gaines, Missouri

Is EJ Gaines really the fifth-ranked corner in the SEC? He recorded the most tackles of any corner in 2012 (74), and he’s registered 27 pass breakups and three INTs in the last two seasons. While Missouri may have some questions overall, Gaines isn’t one of them. He’s a stud who’s ready for a big senior season.

Going from 2 to 1

6. Jalen Mills, LSU
7. Deion Belue, Alabama

Two No. 2 corners are ready to become their team’s No. 1 corner. Jalen Mills was forced into playing time last year when Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off the team. But Mills didn’t play like a freshman. He recorded 57 tackles, five pass breakups and two INTs. Watch out for Mr. Mills in 2013…Deion Belue started last year as a JUCO transfer, and he now becomes key cog in the Tide’s overall defense and run at another championship. If there’s one area Alabama will be attacked, it will be in the secondary. Belue needs to step up his game. He registered 36 tackles, two INTs and a fumble return for a touchdown. He’s good, but he needs to get much better.

Returning starters

8. Deshazor Everett, Texas A&M
9. Charles Sawyer, Ole Miss
10. Chris Davis, Auburn

Texas A&M’s secondary will be the strength of the defense. Deshazor Everett is one of the most important defenders this season. He’s currently facing assault charges, and we won’t know his suspension length. But, on the field, he can play. The rising junior picked off two passes and recorded seven pass break ups and nine passes defended…Charles Sawyer quietly had a good year in 2012. He transitioned over to corner from safety, and he made it look easy. He remained the Rebels’ top defensive back. He notched nine passes defended and recorded four tackles for loss. Sawyer has safety instincts but is athletic enough to play corner…Auburn senior Chris Davis has made 16 career starts and only played in nine games last season, but Davis could be the impact corner Ellis Johnson is looking for. Everyone has been saying big things about Davis’ game at Auburn, and he should have a big year.

Photo credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports