Ranking the No. 1 DB in each class who entered the SEC the past decade
The term “DBU” gets a lot of play in the SEC. LSU insists it is has earned the moniker, but Alabama and Florida have laid claim to it with convincing arguments.
One thing we can all agree on: The SEC annually attracts some of the best DB talent in the country. In the 2020 class, for instance, SEC teams signed the top 3 DBs and 9 of the top 14.
History suggests most will do just fine, too. Here’s a look at the SEC’s top DB recruit from each class (2010-2019), as rated by 247Sports, ranked 1-10 in descending order.
10. Patrick Surtain II (Alabama CB, 2018, No. 1 DB, No. 6 player overall)
Surtain also was the No. 2 overall recruit out of the state of Florida.
In his first 2 seasons at Alabama he has not disappointed. Sure, he was picked on at times as a true freshman, but this past season he tied for the team lead with 8 pass breakups, giving him 15 passes so far. He has also picked off 3 passes and totaled 79 tackles.
Unlike the 2020 class, the SEC didn’t exactly clean up in 2018. Just 4 of the top 20 DBs in the country picked SEC programs.
9. Kristian Fulton (LSU CB, 2016, No. 3 DB, No. 22 overall)
Fulton was the top recruit from Louisiana and the best of the 3 elite DBs the Tigers signed that year.
He was 2nd on the team this past season with 14 passes broken up and in 2 seasons totaled 23 pass breakups, tying for the team lead the previous season.
SEC schools signed 11 of the top 15 DBs in this class.
8. Tony Brown (Alabama CB, 2014, No. 3 DB, No. 9 overall)
Brown was the No. 2 overall recruit out of the state of Texas.
He played in 51 games over 4 seasons at Alabama, compiling 89 total tackles, including 5.5 for loss.
He was better than solid, but the guy ranked just below him, Marlon Humphrey, was a bigger piece to the Tide secondary.
And the best DB from this class? LSU safety Jamal Adams, who was rated No. 6.
The SEC signed 9 of the top 14 DB recruits in this class.
7. JaCoby Stevens (LSU S, 2017, No. 3 DB, No. 18 overall)
Stevens was the top-ranked safety in the country and No. 1 overall recruit out Tennessee.
But he wasn’t even the best DB the Tigers signed in this class.
That honor goes to Grant Delpit, who was ranked No. 16 coming in but left as an All-American and Jim Thorpe Award winner.
6. Kevin Toliver II (LSU CB, 2015, No. 3 DB, No. 9 overall)
Toliver was the No. 2-ranked CB and the No. 5 overall recruit out Florida. He chose the out-of-state DBU.
He tied for 2nd on the team in 2017 with 10 passes broken up. Over 3 seasons at LSU he totaled 84 tackles and 16 pass breakups.
SEC teams signed 5 of the top 9 DB recruits in 2015. The best? Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was rated No. 6 in the class.
5. Derek Stingley (LSU CB, 2019, No. 1 DB, No. 3 overall)
Stingley was the No. 1 rated overall recruit from Louisiana and a huge get for Ed Orgeron.
What a freshman season it was. Stingley led the Tigers with 15 pass breakups and 6 interceptions. He recorded 38 tackles and also returned 17 punts for just under a 10-yard average per return. Stingley is poised to climb the ladder, perhaps all the way to the top.
This was another strong haul for the SEC, which signed 6 of the top 9 DBs in the country.
4. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama S, 2011, No. 2 DB, No. 7 overall)
Clinton-Dix was the No. 2-rated overall recruit out of Florida.
In 2012 he tied for the team lead with 4 interceptions. Over his 3 seasons at Alabama, he piled up 99 tackles, including 4.0 for loss.
Five of the nation’s top 15 DBs signed with SEC schools. Clinton-Dix was by far the best of the bunch.
3. Dee Milliner (Alabama CB, 2010, No. 2 DB, No. 14 overall)
Milliner was top-rated cornerback nationally as well as the No. 1 recruit from the state of Alabama.
In 3 seasons at Alabama, Milliner produced. In addition to breaking up 36, passes he recorded 136 tackles, including 9.0 for loss. He intercepted 6 passes, returning 1 for a touchdown.
SEC programs signed 7 of the top 10 DBs in this class — and that doesn’t include the possible gem — No. 29 Tyrann Mathieu.
2. Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida CB, 2013, No. 1 DB, No. 3 overall)
Hargreaves also was the top overall recruit out of Florida and a huge get for the Gators.
He didn’t really pan out in the NFL, but don’t forget how dynamic he was in college.
He was a 2-time All-American and 1 of 3 finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award as a junior.
He led the Gators in consecutive seasons (2013, 2014) in passes broken up with 11 and 13, respectively, and in interceptions with 3 in 2013 and 4 in 2015. Over 3 seasons, he compiled 121 total tackles and 10 interceptions.
Overall, this wasn’t the SEC’s finest work. Just 2 of the top 10 DBs chose SEC schools.
1. Landon Collins (Alabama S, 2012, No. 2 DB, No. 7 overall)
The top recruit out of the state of Louisiana, he came to Alabama as the No. 2 ranked safety in America.
He led the Tide in tackles during the 2014 season with 102 after finishing 2nd on the team the previous year with 69 tackles. Over his 3 seasons at Alabama, he rolled up 188 total tackles, including 8.5 for loss. He also blocked a kick, forced 3 fumbles and returned an interception for a touchdown — 1 of 5 picks over his career.
Want a success story? Jalen Mills was the No. 82 DB in this class, a 3-star who blossomed into an All-American at LSU. Mills was a starter for the Super Bowl champion Philadelpia Eagles in 2017.