As the 2021 football season draws near, SI All-American continues to evaluate the nation's top prospects at every position for the college football recruiting class of 2022. The first wave of the evaluations are the 'Watch List' selections, also known as SI All-American candidates, to be released throughout the month of July.
It precedes the SI99 rankings, our preseason mark of America's top college football prospects regardless of position, to be released the first week of August.
Naturally, the quarterback watch list was up first, rolled out in several releases last week. Today we continue the shift to defense, in the secondary, as the top 10 SI All-American candidates at cornerback will be broken down.
[Related: Cornerbacks 11-20, honorable mention]
1. Denver Harris
Vitals: 6'1", 180 pounds
School: Houston (Texas) North Shore
Recruiting: Considering Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, others
In the year of the cornerback, it's the Texan who kicks off the Watch List atop a truly elite field. Harris is a complete cornerback prospect from a size, length, speed, athleticism, physicality and natural instincts standpoint. He does it against some of the best competition nationally, impacting games behind or near the line of scrimmage as much as he does down the field on a 50-50 ball. He tracks the football like a center fielder, with elite leaping ability and ball skills, making plays at the apex look easy on routine. Harris runs well, takes good risks and is unafraid to play plenty physical against a ball carrier or at the catch point. Just as importantly, he seems to be on the positive side of a leg injury and should be full go for the fall, where Harris will have to hold off steep competition for the top spot.
2. Jaheim Singletary
Vitals: 6'2", 175 pounds
School: Jacksonville (Fla.) Robert E. Lee
Recruiting: Committed to Ohio State
The only other corner under consideration for the top spot at this stage, the Floridian's case is just as a strong. Singletary has been an alpha corner prospect since his freshman year in the Jacksonville metro, with success there and on offense at wide receiver. But the elite length, muscular build and true ball skills are tailor-made for the modern secondary, where he can win with technique off the ball and certainly at the line of scrimmage. The future Buckeye is confident in his game, flashes better makeup speed than his size would suggest, yet he plays with the leverage discipline of a college veteran. Few cornerbacks at his size remain at the position at the next level, but we would be surprised if Singletary became another in that bunch -- he is simply special.
3. Domani Jackson
Vitals: 6'1", 185 pounds
School: Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei
Recruiting: Committed to USC
Perhaps the most physically impressive-looking secondary prospect in the country, Jackson backs it up with a true comfort while out on the island and some of the most impressive pound-for-pound speed samples and track times in the nation. When he was in the 10.7-second range as a sophomore, following a breakout 2019 season in perhaps the best league in high school football, the college football world accepted him as a future force. Since, Jackson has put on more muscle and trimmed his time on a consistent basis, breaking 10.5 on three occasions since June alone. The wheels show up on tape, allowing him to play aggressive at the line of scrimmage and with physicality. The Trojan verbal commitment, still considering Alabama and others, may be America's best at playing the football through the target's hands.
4. Daylen Everette
Vitals: 6'1", 185 pounds
School: Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy
Recruiting: Considering Georgia, Florida State, North Carolina, others.
Set to commit on Saturday, there is plenty to like of the IMG Academy cornerback. He is a steady-leverage technician who can win at the line of scrimmage, specializing in a demoralizing press with the ability to disengage versus the run consistently, too. When playing zone or even in off coverage, Everette shines in close quarters, with instincts and low plane as he breaks on the football. His 11 interceptions in 2019, while in his native Virginia, was followed up by a lack of attempts his way at IMG last fall while helping the program go unblemished against that national schedule. The complete defensive back has nickel and safety upside, but Everette's floor is among the best in the country on the island.
5. Will Johnson
Vitals: 6'3", 190 pounds
School: Grosse Point (Mich.) High School
Recruiting: Committed to Michigan
The biggest cornerback on the list, in a year of big corners, Johnson is built to combat the tall and lengthy outside receivers every offensive coordinator likes in the boundary, near the sticks and in the red zone. The in-state pledge to Michigan isn't just tall and lengthy, though, he attacks the football at an extremely high level. He moonlights successfully on offense as a wideout and occasional ball carrier, flashing natural athleticism and play-making instincts. Back in the secondary, Johnson is a willing run supporter, can bully pass catchers at the line of scrimmage and has a feel for feeling the opponent without interfering down the field. The straight-line speed shows up on tape, as does patience in his technique as one of the more polished cover men in the country.
6. Khamauri Rogers
Vitals: 6'0", 170 pounds
School: Lexington (Miss.) Holmes County
Recruiting: Committed to Miami
There is an ease and control with the Mississippian's game on the back end. Rogers is as smooth as it gets in coverage, with both ball skills and turnover production to his name as well. While lengthy, his frame will have to be filled out to compete at a high level in college, but it isn't hurting him -- or how much he was coveted before picking The U -- at the prep level. Rogers is relatively raw in his technique, especially compared to the majority of the top 10 at the position, but the physical tools to improve in short order are present. The Hurricane pledge is fluid both in his back pedal and while transitioning, comes downhill in a hurry and he tracks the football about as well as any of the elites at the position.
7. Earl Little, Jr.
Vitals: 6'0", 180 pounds
School: Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage
Recruiting: Considering Alabama, LSU, Florida, Miami, others
An NFL legacy with nickel consideration prior to the watch list being released, Little feels like one of the safer bets in the secondary nationally. He already has experience working on the island or inside, with tangible success at each, and his technique made a strong jump over the last 15 or so months against elite south Florida competition. Little has filled out a good bit over the span, too, allowing him to strengthen the strength of his savvy at the point of contact whether or in run support or at the catch point. Little just makes plays, playing the alley, the apex and he has that knack for getting his hands on the football even after the catch. The edge he competes with is the type that becomes contagious in a collegiate secondary.
8. Jeadyn Lukus
Vitals: 6'2", 185 pounds
School: Mauldin (S.C.) High School
Recruiting: Considering Clemson, Ohio State, North Carolina, others.
Another two-way player on the list with easy speed and ball skills on offense, it translates quite well with Lukus. He has an excellent feel for the game, with elite body control and patience before 'firing' after the play is diagnosed. The length and speed combine for explosiveness upon contact, with the type of stride to chase down ball carriers or make up for a rare coverage mistake as well. Lukus is a technician in off-man and zone coverage, able to play over the top quite naturally. He can work the press game to a degree and understands how to attack an opponent at the line or in run support within his responsibility. Not many lengthy cornerbacks has both a high ceiling and strong floor, but Lukus hits each mark on tape.
9. Toriano Pride
Vitals: 5'11", 175 pounds
School: Saint Louis (Mo.) Lutheran North
Recruiting: Committed to Clemson
In multiple settings, Pride shows up as the best athlete and technical prospect on the field -- tough to accomplish. He plays all over the place on Friday nights, including wide receiver and running back, with success as a big play threat, but his ceiling is at cornerback. Pride has some of the best footwork in the 2022 cycle, regardless of position, with ball skills and zone savvy to his name while working in space. Strong twitch and instincts allow him to line up in man coverage and he is physical enough to press or re-route as a nickel or outside. Pride has enough long speed to play in the field, even in the ACC, with elite quickness and physicality along with his decisive mindset.
10. Marquis Groves-Killebrew
Vitals: 6'0", 180 pounds
School: Snellville (Ga.) Brookwood
Recruiting: Committed to Georgia
The traditional cornerback traits combine with a modern frame to form Groves-Killebrew. In just about every setting, he simply lives in the hip of his assignment with leverage, length and natural athleticism. True twitch and short-area quickness help him close among the best in the class, with finesse and flair to boot. An injury and lack of alpha physicality against a loaded field are about the only reasons he's not in the top five range at this point. We haven't seen more from him of late because of the circumstances, but Groves-Killebrew is beginning to fill out his frame, potentially addressing the lone glaring weakness in his game.