Previous and Upcoming Rankings
1) Derwin James, Florida State
Derwin James is a special player. As a freshman he had 91 tackles, and entering this year he’s all over the pre-season All-America lists. At least one publication (ProFootballFocus) said he could be the best defensive player in the country. He can rush the passer, he can cover, and he’s good in run support. James is a future 1st round pick, and he’s only a sophomore.
2) Quin Blanding, Virgina
The ACC is loaded with talent at the safety position. Quin Blanding is an excellent safety for Virginia. He was an All-ACC pick last year, and he’s on multiple pre-season award watch lists this year. Tall at 6-2, the highly recruited Blanding has lived up to the hype his first two years at UVA. He’s projected as a 1st round NFL pick.
3) Jordan Whitehead, Pittsburgh
Pitt’s Jordan Whitehead was another freshman that had a great first season in college football. If there was a freshman All-America team, Whitehead was probably on it. He was the ACC’s defensive rookie of the year, and ACC rookie of the year ahead of even Derwin James. He’s had off-season knee surgery, but is expected to make a full recovery before the season starts.
4) Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville
Former 5 star Georgia recruit Josh Harvey-Clemons, has found a home at Louisville. An honorable mention All-ACC safety, he had 88 tackles and played all over the field including some time at linebacker. The versatile player could go as high as the 2nd round in next year’s NFL draft. He made Cardinal fans happy when he returned for his senior year.
5) Chuck Clark, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech’s Chuck Clark was a tackling machine last year finishing the year with 107. He’s expected to be leader of the Hokies secondary in 2016. His cover skills are good enough that he could see time at corner as well as safety. Clark is considered one of the top 20 senior safeties in the country.