Ranking the SEC's top 10 cornerbacks in the BCS era
Related BCS Ranking:
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Quarterbacks in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Running Backs in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Wide Receivers in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Offensive Linemen in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Defensive Linemen in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Linebackers in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Cornerbacks in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Safeties in the BCS era
The SEC defensive linemen and linebackers were absolutely stacked during the BCS era, but could it be the corners are even better? With so much talent at one position, we’ve decided to once again split up the cornerbacks and the safeties.
Here are the 10 best BCS cornerbacks:
1. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU (2008-10)
The lowdown: Not only is Peterson our top cornerback of the BCS era, but he’s arguably the most electrifying player of anyone we’ve discussed during this series. He came into college as one of the nation’s top high-school prospects and he didn’t disappoint at LSU. Peterson started four games as a freshman, but blew up as a sophomore, earning a first-team All-SEC selection. As a junior, Peterson’s name was being thrown around for possible Heisman consideration due to his dominance at both cornerback and return man. By the end of his junior season, Peterson’s impressive haul of trophies included the Thorpe, Bednarik and was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. In addition to his defensive awards, Peterson also was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year with 283 total punt return yards and two touchdowns.
2. Champ Bailey, CB, Georgia (1996-98)
The lowdown: Although he was primarily a defensive back, Bailey contributed in several areas for the Gerogia Bulldogs during his three-year career. In his junior season, Bailey recored 52 tackles, three interceptions and defended seven passes as a defensive back. But his production didn’t stop there. On offense and special teams, Bailey scored five times on 47 catches for 744 yards and added 84 rushing yards and 12 kickoff returns for 261 yards. Bailey could do it all and is as elite of an athlete that spectators have seen in the SEC. The Nagurski Award winner and All-American left for the NFL after his junior season and has gone on to have a very successful NFL career.
3. Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn (2001-04)
The lowdown: As a member of Auburn’s undefeated squad in 2004, Rogers capped off an impressive college career in style. As a senior, he recorded 47 tackles, two interceptions, 10 pass breakups, and five TFL. He became Auburn’s first-ever Jim Thorpe Award winner and was the lifeblood of the Auburn defense. In addition being named as a consensus All-American in 2004, Rogers was named to Auburn’s All-Decade team and is the school record holder with 40 pass breakups.
4. Joe Haden, CB, Florida (2007-09)
The lowdown: During his three years at Florida, Joe Haden was surrounded by a bevy of future NFL players, but Haden may have been the most talented of them all. Haden started from day one and became the first ever true freshman to do so for the Gators. He garnered Freshman All-American honors in 2007 and then became an unanimous All-American in 2009. He was named National Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and was one of the main reasons the Gators took home a national title in 2008. He finished his career with 218 total tackles, 34 pass breakups, eight interceptions and 3.5 sacks.
5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU (2009-11)
The lowdown: Stories like Morris Claiborne’s is what makes sports so incredible. As a three-star recruit, not much thought was given to Claiborne as he enrolled at LSU. But through lots of hard work, Claiborne left LSU as one of college football’s best corners. His instinctive coverage ability was tops in college football. From 2009-10, Claiborne partnered with Patrick Peterson as a dynamite defensive back duo. He continued LSU’s great tradition of great cornerbacks following Peterson’s departure in 2010 by winning the Thorpe Award in 2011 and earned an All-American selection. His 11 career interceptions rank him sixth all-time in LSU history.
6. Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (2009-12)
The lowdown: Originally thought of as a safety, Banks ended up being one of Mississippi State’s best defensive backs. During his three years as a cornerback, Banks racked up, 221 tackles, a school-record 16 interceptions and took three of them back for touchdowns. He finished his career as the Jim Thorpe Award winner and was a first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American selection.
7. Corey Webster, CB, LSU (2001-04)
The lowdown: It’s hard to believe that as good a player as Corey Webster was, he’s the third best corner to attend LSU during the BCS era. The former wide receiver switched to corner as a sophomore and it paid off big time. He became a two-time All-American, a three-time first-team All-SEC member and a two-time semifinalist for the Thorpe Award. He finished with 115 tackles and 16 interceptions.
8. Lito Sheppard, CB, Florida (1999-01)
The lowdown: In what has become a long list of outstanding Florida cornerbacks, Lito Sheppard was the first of them in the BCS era. His career numbers included eight interceptions, two punt returns for touchdowns and 87 tackles rank him among the best in Florida history. Sheppard was also an All-Ammerican in 2000 and a two-time All-SEC selection.
9. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU (2010-11)
The lowdown: You may not agree about Tyrann Mathieu’s placement on this list, but we can all agree he has the best nickname. Often referred to as “The Honey Badger”, Mathieu was electrifying from 2010-11. He was the recipient of the Bednarik Award in 2011 and he led the Tigers with 76 tackles, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Much like his predecessors Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne, Mathieu’s duties extended to the return game where he was also dynamic. He returned two punts for touchdowns, along with a number of other big plays for the Tigers during his two years in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, his off-the-field issues cut his LSU career short.
10. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama (2010-12)
The lowdown: Milliner logged 31 career starts during his three-year career, including 11 his true freshman season. As college football’s top cover corner in 2012 he was a unanimous All-American and a finalist for the Nagurski and Thorpe Awards. Milliner was a key part of the 2011 Alabama defense, which is considered one of the best defenses over the past 16 years.