- David Ubben, College Football
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We'll continue our look at position rankings across the Big 12 with the cornerbacks today. These aren't ranking individual players, but ranking each team in the Big 12 by its total position group. As you might expect in this league, depth is of major importance.
Here's how I rank it:
1. Texas: The Longhorns' 1-2 punch of Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs is the best in the Big 12 and nobody has better depth than Texas on the outside of the defense. The Longhorns ranked third in the league in pass defense last season and Byndom and Diggs combined for seven picks. Sheroid Evans is one of the fastest men in college football, and Leroy Scott, Duke Thomas and Bryson Echols give the Longhorns more quality options further down the depth chart.
2. TCU: The Frogs boast the best returning cornerback in the league in much-improved Jason Verrett, who led all corners last season with six interceptions. Kevin White starts opposite Verrett and Keivon Gamble is a solid third corner.
3. Oklahoma State: Justin Gilbert's shortcomings last season were a big story in Stillwater, but he's still talented enough to hear his name very early in next year's NFL Draft. Bringing in Kansas transfer Tyler Patmon gives OSU a great option who knows his way around the Big 12. He'll likely compete with Kevin Peterson to start and fill Brodrick Brown's vacated spot. Miketavius Jones and Ashton Lampkin are promising reserves, too.
4. Baylor: It's a new day in Waco. This is the most experienced and talented set of corners we've seen under Art Briles at Baylor. K.J. Morton, Joe Williams and Demetri Goodson are all three above average starters and Xavien Howard should provide depth as a redshirt freshman. Williams and Morton have 37 career starts and Goodson should bounce back after an arm injury last season. They combined for four interceptions and Williams led the way with 15 pass breakups.
5. Oklahoma: Aaron Colvin is right behind Verrett as the Big 12's No. 2 overall corner, but the Sooners will be battling inexperience with this unit. Possible starter Gary Simon is off the roster and Oklahoma will likely rely on Arizona transfer Cortez Johnson, who played in eight games as a freshman in Tucson before joining Mike Stoops and Tim Kish in Norman. Johnson could be a great player after a strong spring, but he's still an unknown entity. Look for true freshman Stanvon Taylor to make an impact, and not just by necessity.
6. Kansas State: The Wildcats' front seven is nearly all gone from last year's team, but corner Randall Evans played well behind Nigel Malone and Allen Chapman last season and looks ready to step into a starting role. Evans was third on the team with 77 tackles and Kip Daily should battle juco transfer Nate Jackson for the other starting spot. Carl Miles Jr. could provide some more depth.
7. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders don't have a ton of raw talent at the position, but the team's top three corners all are seniors, which could pay off. Bruce Jones, Olaoluwa Falemi and Derrick Mays had to adjust to a new system this spring. Sophomore Jeremy Reynolds also has some promise. Falemi didn't make a start as a juco transfer last season, but made eight tackles. Mays had a few spot starts in each of the last three seasons, but Jones made six starts in his first season last year and broke up seven passes.
8. West Virginia: Brodrick Jenkins headlines the unit after making 33 tackles and picking off a pass with two breakups last season and will be an experienced senior this fall. Nana Kyeremeh should be a first-year starter, though Division II transfer Rick Rumph has a pretty interesting backstory. Brandon Napoleon should provide some depth after redshirting last season.
9. Kansas: The Jayhawks' defense is improving, but call me skeptical when your great hope in the unit is a juco transfer. Cassius Sendish comes to KU and has impressed after a good career at two different schools and should join fellow juco transfer Dexter McDonald, who returned to KU after spending last season at Butler Community College. JaCorey Shepherd should provide some depth and maybe make a start or two after transitioning from receiver and Tyree Williams played sparingly as a freshman last season.
10. Iowa State: Yes, I love that Iowa State's No. 3 corner has the same name as it's quarterback, but beyond Sam Richardson, the Cyclones corners have a lot to prove. Jansen Watson missed the spring but should return for the season. Jeremy Reeves is a solid talent, but reserves Kenneth Lynn, Charlie Rogers and Damein Lawry have almost no experience. Only Lynn has appeared in a game before, and he has two career tackles.
We'll continue our look at position rankings across the Big 12 with the cornerbacks today. These aren't ranking individual players, but ranking each team in the Big 12 by its total position group.