Louisville position break down: Cornerbacks

By on August 14, 2016

By Dalton Ray–

We are getting closer and closer to the start of football season. That means TLC’s position break down is nearly over. Last week we checked out the linebackers. This week we’re on to the cornerbacks.

Teams no longer need only two corners. The best teams in the nation can go at least four deep and the top three are critical. With so many teams going four-wide and spreading the field, more pass coverage is needed. Louisville ranks with the higher teams in the country when it comes to cornerbacks.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has the tools at the position that allows him to be flexible scheme wise. By returning nearly everyone at the spot, the corners are one of the most experienced groups on the team.

First on the field: Shaq Wiggins, Trumaine Washington, Jaire Alexander 

One of the players that tagged along with Grantham from his transition from Georgia to U of L is Wiggins. A highly recruited corner from the state of Georgia, Wiggins lived up to the hype last year. Wiggins was an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection and led the Cardinals in pass-deflections. The junior is a prototypical cornerback at 5-foot-10 and 175 lbs. He has good speed and athleticism and isn’t shy about getting into a receiver’s ear. Wiggins is very similar to former U of L corner Charles Gaines, who is now with the Cleveland Browns.

Washington made a quick impact last season and came on strong early on. Selected as All-ACC third team, Washington led U of L in interceptions with four and forced fumbles with three. Washington made himself a name as a turnover-creating machine during his first year of major minutes. The Florida native isn’t afraid to come up to make a tackle either, he placed seventh on the team in tackles and sixth in tackles-for-loss.

After Alexander showed he is a serviceable return-man, the true freshman started getting minutes at cornerback. Alexander is a little bigger than both Wiggins and Washington, 5-foot-11 and 190 lbs., but he is the most explosive and shifty. Back in March, U of L hosted a combine for the team and Alexander has the second fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.33 seconds. For reference, quarterback Lamar Jackson ran a 4.42.

Next up: Ronald Walker, Zykiesis Cannon, Alphonso Carter 

Walker is the most intriguing player in this group and can make huge impact this year. Rated one of the top junior college cornerbacks in the nation, Walker chose Louisville over Mississippi State, Arizona State, Illinois and others. At 6-foot-1 and 200 lbs., Walker shows the versatility to play corner, nickelback or safety. A very aggressive defender with great reaction skills, Walker will be pushing to get on the field this year.

Carter made the move from receiver to cornerback this offseason and at 6-foot-3 and 205 lbs., Carter has great size for the position. While the former Tennessee Volunteer owns the advantage of guarding the position he previously played, the nuances of the positions are a hurdle. If Carter is able to adjust to the small details and the new playbook, his size can be used on the field.

Cannon is entering his junior year and playing time isn’t something that has escaped him. Appearing in 19 games during his first two years, Cannon made six tackles in his one start last season against Houston. One of the better run defenders at the position, Cannon is a viable option to come in at a special package.

Two walk-ons for U of L at the cornerback spot are Javier Santiago from New Albany, Indiana and Aaron Floyd from Florence, Kentucky.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal 

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-18) that is technically award winning.

Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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