As the days count down to the start of the 2017 FCS season, we take a closer look at the subdivision's top conference, the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Each week will feature the top five returners in a position group in the MVFC.
Next up are the cornerbacks. The talent at wide receiver in the Valley last season was outstanding. To counter that was a challenge for each team's secondary. But these five guys held their own. In 2017, they'll look to continue being the top shutdown defenders in the conference.
5. Craig James, Southern Illinois
A transfer from Minnesota and a three-star recruit out of high school, James provided play-making ability in SIU's secondary. He intercepted three passes and returned one for a touchdown while starting starting eight games as a junior.
James was second in the Valley in passes defended per game, totaling 12. He added 30 total tackles, 24 solo, as he was named to the MVFC All-Newcomer Team.
4. Danny Rambo, South Dakota
Proving himself to be one of the best athletes at USD, Rambo switched from wide receiver to corner entering last season and earned a starting role. He led the Coyotes with three interceptions and finished fifth on the team with 57 total tackles.
Rambo earned all-conference honorable mention honors as a true sophomore, finishing third in the MVFC with 1.20 passes defended per game.
3. Jalen Allison, North Dakota State
Allison has improved every season since playing in all 15 games as a freshman in 2015 and becoming the No. 1 corner last year. He showcased his abilities against opponents' top receivers and is in line for a breakout year as an upperclassman now.
In 2016 as a Valley honorable mention selection, Allison was tied for third in the conference with 12 passes defended and second with four interceptions. He finished the season with 66 total tackles, which was fifth for NDSU.
2. Malcolm Washington, Northern Iowa
The Panthers needed a corner to step up to replace NFL Draft pick Deiondre' Hall and found an answer in Washington, who transferred from Fresno State. Washington started seven games and was named to the MVFC Second Team and All-Newcomer Team.
He tied for third in the Valley with four interceptions and added 19 solo tackles. Washington is an elite defender with great size at 6-foot-2.
1. Davontae Harris, Illinois State
Harris started all 13 games as a sophomore for the Redbirds in 2015. Last season, he developed into a top shutdown corner in the Valley. Harris ranked first in the conference with 15 passes defended.
He's not afraid to get involved in the run game either. Along with two interceptions, Harris added 5.5 tackles for loss and 59 total tackles.