Where Do the Gators Fit in the 'Defensive Back U' Conversation?
As Sports Illustrated wraps up it's modern "Position U" series - analyzing which schools put out the most talent at each position on the football field - it's time to take a look at the defensive backs.
Florida, as well known, is usually included in "DBU" conversations as the Gators have an immense history of producing talent in the secondary. Though, along with Florida State, Ohio State and several SEC schools, there is a constant debate over who deserves the top spot.
Sports Illustrated has compiled these rankings with a numerical system comprised of data from over the past ten years, focusing on a defensive back's success following their career at their respective school.
Florida, based on this system, ranks third among the top ten schools in the modern "DBU conversation, finishing with 71 points - behind LSU (103) and Alabama (96).
The Gators are credited with four first-round picks from their secondary over the past ten years in cornerback Joe Haden (2010), safety Matt Elam (2013), cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (2016), and safety Keanu Neal (2016) - which equates to 16 points on its own. With 18 defensive backs contributing as a draft pick and/or a starter in the NFL, it was hard to imagine Florida being left off of the list.
LSU and Alabama both finished with 20+ qualifying defensive backs, and both received a bump from multiple players earning All-Pro nods at the NFL level. Florida, meanwhile, has not put out an All-Pro defensive back over the past 10 years.
An interesting aspect of the grading system is that SI broke down the rankings specifically by cornerback and safety as well, noting the top five schools at each position. While the Gators did not land in the top five schools for cornerbacks, they finished third at the safety position with 38 points - behind Alabama (50) and LSU (40).
Below is the entire top 10 of Sports Illustrated's "Defensive Back U" rankings. Do you agree with Florida's place on the list? Let us know in the comments.
1. LSU, 103 points
2. Alabama, 96
3. Florida, 71
4. Florida State, 66
5. Ohio State, 59
6. Virginia Tech, 49
7. Washington, 48
8. Texas, 47
9. Clemson, 42
10. South Carolina, 41