Sept. 24, 2005
By Tom Lemming
Special to CSTV.com
The 12th in a series of positional prospect rankings examines the top cornerbacks from the recruiting class of 2006.
1. Jai Eugene, Destrehan (La.), 6-0, 175 lbs., 4.4 (40-yard dash)
A lot of the top cornerbacks play both ways, and not until they get to college do they find out exactly where they're going to wind up. Eugene is the perfect example. The Louisiana product is more of a quarterback right now than a cornerback, but once he settles into the cornerback position (which is what he'll play in college), he will become an instant impact player. Last year, he completed 50 of 78 passes for 1,165 yards and nine scores while carrying 55 times for 751 yards and five scores. The jack-of-all-trades also caught 12 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns, while making 52 tackles and grabbing seven interceptions at corner. Oh yeah, the speedster (who runs the 100 meters in 10.3) also returned a pair of kickoffs for scores. He's getting offers from everybody in the south; he'll probably end up at LSU, but Florida State, Texas, Miami, Georgia and Alabama are in hot pursuit.
2. Darrin Walls, Woodland Hills (Pa.), 6-1, 175 lbs., 4.4
The best pure cover corner in the country, Walls plays offense but absolutely belongs at cornerback. He's got real good height, and his quickness, vision and speed are apparent on every play. The Pennsylvania product has a smooth back-pedal and is quick into his transition. He notched 62 tackles, six interceptions and a pair of caused fumbles on his way to All-State honors in 2004. On offense, he carried 68 times for 750 yards and 11 touchdowns. The grades (3.4 GPA) are excellent. He's leaning toward Notre Dame over Michigan and Florida right now.
3. Asher Allen, Tucker (Ga.), 5-10, 185 lbs., 4.35
It's 50-50 whether Allen, one of the top three prospects in the state of Georgia, is going to play running back or cornerback in college. He's probably the best running back in state and certainly the best corner. His high school, Tucker, is used to producing big-time running backs, but I think Allen could make an instant impact at the next level as a cover corner if he chooses to play that position. In 2004, he recorded 80 tackles (12 for losses), picked off two passes and broke up 11 others. At tailback, he ran for 400 yards and four scores and caught 20 passes for 450 yards and five scores. He's committed to Georgia.
4. A.J. Wallace, McDonough (Md.), 6-0, 195 lbs., 4.37
Wallace was recently selected for the U.S. Army game. They made the announcement at the Pentagon, so he's obviously a big name in that D.C.-Maryland area. The Beltway product has pure blazing speed -- like many of the others, he's being recruited as a running back and as a defensive back. Wallace scampered for 1,367 yards and 22 scores last year and caught 12 passes for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That said, he played every position in the secondary and tallied 65 stops with a pair of interceptions -- and he can get on the field quicker in college as a corner. He's very smooth, with excellent recovery speed -- just terrific all-around ability. Nebraska is coming on hard, but don't rule out Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Penn State, Syracuse, Florida State, Florida and Tennessee.
5. Perrish Cox, Waco (Texas), 6-1, 175 lbs., 4.35
When Cox is healthy, he's one of the best around. One of the top track stars in Texas (he runs the 100 meters in 10.7), he's a lock-down cover corner and punt returner for Waco. If he's healthy he could be one of the top cover corners in the nation as a true freshman. He totaled 29 tackles, one sack and grabbed eight interceptions (returning half of them for touchdowns) in 2004. In the winter, he averages 18 points and eight boards for the school's basketball team. You name a school, Cox has heard from them -- among the frontrunners: Texas, USC, Miami, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida and UCLA.
6. Devin Ross, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.), 5-11, 184 lbs., 4.4
As a defensive back (the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the west), this guy is a physical corner who's got great confidence in himself. Coming out of Los Angeles, he's playing in an area where there are a lot of stars this year. He's making a name for himself as a wide receiver and a cover corner, showing good speed, vision, strength, and the ability to read well and close quickly. He recorded 44 stops, six picks and caused two fumbles at cornerback in 2004. Nebraska, UCLA, USC, Michigan -- everybody's coming after him hard.
7. LaRon Moore, Midwest City (Okla.), 5-11, 185 lbs., 4.37
Moore is one of the two best players in the state of Oklahoma. He is an exceptionally talented option quarterback with moves, speed and vision. On offense, he's just very creative in the open field. He played a good part of the season at corner, recorded a lot of interceptions (six) and is just a lock-down defender without a doubt. If he concentrates just on corner, he could be the real deal. He'll wind up playing wideout or cornerback in college and make an immediate impact as a true freshman. There are five schools on his short list: Stanford, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and LSU.
8. Raeshon McNeil, Davie (N.C.), 6-0, 170 lbs, 4.4
McNeil is a big-time ballplayer who does a tremendous job of reading receivers, is outstanding in run support and is a sure open-field tackler. He reacts quickly and gets a great break on the ball. The Carolina product stays with the swiftest of receivers, and his instincts and recovery speed are as good as anybody in the country. McNeil totaled 60 tackles, picked five passes in 2004, and was one of the state's top punt and kickoff return men. He's committed to Notre Dame.
9. Munir Prince, DeSmet Jesuit (Mo.), 5-10, 175 lbs., 4.3
Prince is another two-way guy that prefers running back. He's probably closer to 160 or 165 pounds than he is to 175. As a runner, he's a slasher with real good vision and balance. He carried 150 times for 990 yards and 11 scores last year. When he plays defensive back, this guy's got all the athletic ability in the world and the stuff to become a big-time cover corner. He'll get a shot at running back first at Notre Dame, where he's committed.
10. Jacques Rickerson, St. Augustine (Fla.), 5-11, 180 lbs., 4.4
St. Augustine hasn't produced a lot of great players in the past, but this year they have two or three guys that everybody's looking at -- and Rickerson is the most heavily-recruited of the bunch. This guy's got real good skills on offense (at running back) and on defense as a physical corner. He's not a burner but he has real good football speed -- he's excellent when the ball's in the air. In 2004, he netted 62 tackles, eight interceptions and caused one fumble. Rickerson would love to sign with FSU but is also looking at Florida, Georgia, UCF, LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Auburn and Miami.