While what happens on the field and how things finish at the end of the season is what really matters, preseason rankings give fans an idea of what teams and players they should keep an eye on. In this summer series, we’ll take the Top 25 approach and rank the best returning players at every position.
Next up are the cornerbacks.
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Best Returning CBs
Honorable Mention: Bucknell’s Gavin Pringle, Elon’s Tre’Von Jones, Illinois State’s Deandre Lamont (Transfer from Central Arkansas), Montana State’s Tyrel Thomas, Montana’s Jayden Dawson (Transfer from Idaho State), South Dakota’s Myles Harden, Tarleton’s Michael Irons (Transfer from Cornell), The Citadel’s Destin Mack
25. Aljareek Malry, VMI
24. C.J. Siegel, North Dakota
23. Brandon Savage, Norfolk State
22. Courtney Eubanks, North Dakota State
21. Alijah Huzzie, ETSU
20. Ryan Poole, William & Mary
19. Travis Blackshear, Furman
18. Omari Hill-Robinson, Bethune-Cookman
17. PJ Jules, Southern Illinois
16. Myles Brooks, Stephen F. Austin
15. John Smith, Holy Cross
14. Eddie Morales III, Monmouth
13. Jaylin White, UC Davis
12. Oshae Baker, UT Martin (CB/S)
11. Zy Alexander, Southeastern Louisiana University
10. Alex Washington, Harvard
9. Darion McKenzie, Merrimack
8. Destin Talbert, North Dakota State
7. BJ Bohler, Florida A&M
6. Jordan Jones, Rhode Island
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The Top 5
5. Eddie Heckard, Weber State
Weber State has a tremendous secondary, and it’s led by veteran standout Eddie Heckard. At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, he is a three-year starter and a three-time All-Big Sky performer, getting named to the First Team in the 2021 spring and fall seasons. Heckard has 143 career tackles, 9.5 TFLs, three sacks, five interceptions, 28 passes defended, and six forced fumbles.
4. Ferlando Jordan, Southeastern Louisiana University
Jordan has been an impact player since 2018 when he tallied 10 passes defended and three interceptions. A 2019 All-American selection by HERO Sports, Stats Perform, and the AP, he returned three of his five interceptions for TDs. Jordan had another All-American season in the spring, recording two interceptions and eight passes defended in seven games. Last year, the 6-foot and 180-pounder played in six games before a season-ending injury, adding another pick-six to his career total in those contests.
3. Montrae Braswell, Missouri State
Braswell is an elite cornerback and special teams returner. He transferred to Missouri State from Central Michigan before the 2020-21 season. Braswell snagged three interceptions as an All-MVFC First Teamer and a HERO Sports Sophomore All-American in the spring. Last season, the 6-foot, 190-pounder earned All-American accolades from HERO Sports, the AP, Stats Perform, and Phil Steele. Braswell finished with 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four interceptions, and 13 pass breakups.
2. Anthony Adams, Portland State (CB/S)
Adams is a star no matter where he lines up in the secondary. He’s slotted as a cornerback right now for the 2022 season but is a tremendous player at safety as well. As a strong safety in 2018 and 2019, Adams combined for 104 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, six interceptions, and 32 passes defended. He earned several All-American First Team honors in 2019. Last season, the 6-foot and 185-pounder moved to boundary cornerback. He made the adjustment look easier than it is, performing at an All-American and First Team All-Big Sky level again with 52 tackles, five TFLs, three interceptions, and five pass breakups.
1. Justin Ford, Montana
As if Montana’s defense wasn’t strong enough, the Grizzlies added Ford as a transfer from Louisville two summers ago. He became another dominant presence, leading all of college football with nine interceptions last year, two of which were returned for touchdowns. Ford recorded an interception in eight straight games with a season total of 41 tackles and 20 passes defended. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder had 2022 NFL Draft potential but decided to return in 2022. Ford is getting plenty of deserved preseason recognition after earning several First Team All-American honors last fall and finishing fourth in Buck Buchanan Award voting, right behind teammate and No. 1 returning FCS linebacker Patrick O’Connell.