As we approach the start of the college football season, we will be releasing our 2022 Preseason All-American team throughout this month and next. Among our selections were three cornerbacks, along with six honorable mentions. 

Check out our previous articles in these links:

Offense: QB RB

Defense: Edge

Entire series

The cornerbacks selected are…

CB Kelee Ringo – Georgia

CB Cam Smith – South Carolina

DB Malachi Moore – Alabama

After sitting out his first year in Athens due to an offseason surgery, Kelee Ringo quickly proved that he is one of the top cornerbacks in the nation and that NFL teams should be drooling over the possibility of having him at the next level.

Listed at 6’2” and 205 lbs., Ringo looks more like a Will linebacker than a college cornerback. Ringo uses his physicality like a seasoned veteran and blends it with fluidity and speed that you don’t see from players that size. Though he made his name known to all with a stellar National Championship game, Ringo was that dude all year. He allowed only a 37% completion rate when targeted, along with a 47.5 QB Rating.

With Georgia losing nearly its entire defense to the NFL, Ringo will need to become a leader and be the face of a defense that wants to prove that its predecessors were no fluke.

Cam Smith is a physical cornerback with good size and mirror abilities. He projects as a high-level press-man cornerback at the next level. Smith shows speed to run with receivers, early eyes lead him to the ball, and he can take the ball away from an intended receiver. He is on a rising South Carolina defense that could lead the Gamecocks to a surprisingly successful season.

Along with the impressive physical traits, Smith shows the technique to contain his opponent, which came through in his numbers. Smith had 3 interceptions, allowed just 5.5 Yards Per Attempt, and had a QB Rating of just 35.4 when targeted. 

Whether listed as a cornerback or a safety, Malachi Moore is a difference maker. Rated as one of the top safeties in his recruiting class, Moore has become the ideal modern positionless player. Moore lines up primarily in the slot, but has snaps at outside cornerback, deep safety, in the box, and as an edge.

When in coverage, Moore performed well, allowing a 77.3 QB Rating when targeted and only 5.6 Yards Per Attempt when targeted. Against the run, Moore took the role of a third LB and had an average tackle depth of 2.1 yards. Moore was also able to rush the passer efficiently, generating a pressure on 11.2% of his pass rushes. That number outpaced the 10.1% rate posted by First-Team All-Universe Edge, Will Anderson Jr.

Honorable Mentions

CB Eli Ricks – Alabama

CB Riley Moss – Iowa

CB Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson – TCU

CB Tykee Smith – Georgia

CB Joey Porter Jr. – Penn State

Darrell Luter Jr. – South Alabama

With a plethora of talented cornerbacks across the country, there are multiple flavors to fit everyone’s taste. There’s those like Joey Porter Jr. of Penn State, with prototypical size to translate directly to the next level. There’s also those like Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson of TCU, whose skill set would put them on the top of everyone’s draft board if they had the typical size NFL teams look for.

When looking at production though, it is impossible to highlight anyone other than Darrell Luter Jr. of South Alabama. Luter put up staggering numbers when targeted in coverage: a 22% completion percentage, 2.9 yards per attempt, and a 0.0 QB Rating when targeted. Luter also performed well based on SIS metrics, leading the nation in Total Points Per Play and Points Above Average per play among cornerbacks.