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Scouting Class of 2024 Florida Cornerback Prospects

With multiple national recruits, Florida’s class of 2024 cornerback class is building into a special group.

TAMPA - There’s a reason that college coaches line the sidelines of a Florida high school spring football practice. Talent. In this particular case, the point of reference would be cornerback talent. With recruiting top prospects starting earlier and earlier, getting to know the top prospects heading into their junior campaigns is a good idea.

The top cornerback prospects are always coveted. Hard to find with the prerequisite length, flexibility, quickness, and speed to play and defend against the top wide receivers, those special talents that can make plays in man and/or zone coverage often go through extremely competitive recruitments. With the following list, these are young men that will certainly see their recruitments be amplified until they sign their letters of intent in December of 2023 or February of 2024. Look for more introductions to the list in the coming weeks and months.

The following cornerback list is done in alphabetical order:

Tavoy Feagin, Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day School

Tavoy Fegan, Cornerback, Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day School - 2024

Tavoy Feagin uses his natural athleticism and savviness to make plays from his cornerback position.

One of the most instinctive and savvy cornerbacks in the state of Florida already, Feagin does not bite on just any movement by a wide receiver. He plays his keys and goes after the football when it’s best for him. Physically, he does a really nice job of staying low, coming out of his breaks, and attacking the football in the air. His lean frame and long legs fit the cornerback position very well. With room for more good weight, Feagin’s best playing days are ahead of him.

Jamari Howard, Hialeah (Fla.) Westland

Speed. That’s the first noticeable trait about Howard. Whether returning a kickoff or just running down a ball carrier, this young man can really run. Next, he’s long and lean. Howard could develop into a boundary receiver or a free safety. Howard’s physicality while playing bump coverage, even after initial contact, allows him to disrupt the timing of routes; it’s also a way he’s active and efficient within the run game. He’s also adept at making a good judgment about when to jump for the football and intercept a pass. With such a long frame and long arms to go with his skills, Howard’s upside is truly high.

Antione Jackson, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard

This young man makes plays, first and foremost. Even when it looks like he’s about to be beat, his length and makeup speed do the trick. A long long reception becomes a pass breakup or interception. His stop-and-start movements resemble that of a player that’s closer to 5’9” than his current height of about 6’1”. When a cornerback can be twitchy, with impressive height and length like Jackson, and then add suddenness to the repertoire, that’s a rare combination. Watching him in space, Jackson will sometimes all but bait the quarterback into throwing the football because of all those traits. Jackson is one of the rare high school cornerbacks that can get away with doing that. Additionally, his top-end speed, and his ability to change directions out of his backpedal, are two more of the reasons why so many schools continue to recruit this young man despite his commitment to the University of Georgia.

Earl Kulp, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas

That’s an impressive list to compete against, including 2023 prospects. Very few 16 years old cornerbacks, at 6’0” or taller, will change direction like Kulp does. Combining those traits with his natural length, it’s hard to imagine him not being a very successful college football cornerback one day. Seeing him live during Under Armour, as well as during STA's spring practice, only add to the value of seeing this young man on film.

His smooth running style and noticeably sharp cuts coming out of his backpedal make him a candidate for cornerback, safety or nickel long term. He's already pushing 6'2", so the sky is the limit for this young man.

Charles Lester III, Sarasota (Fla.) Riverview

Charles Lester III Wide Receiver / Cornerback Sarasota (Fla.) Riverview / Prime Truth 7v7 - 2024

One of the best two-way players in the country, Charles Lester III from Riverview HS and Prime Truth 7v7.

From this list, Lester is the closest to be classified as truly being a 50-50 player. Will he be a cornerback or a receiver? He's very impactful for Prime Truth 7v7 as a wide receiver, yet also plays cornerback for Riverview in addition to wide receiver. He does both quite well, and much of that begins with his ball skills. Lester catches the football naturally. It does not matter how the football comes to him, Lester snatches it. Tipped pass, ball thrown way off target, or just a jump ball being battled for by two players, Lester is likely to make that play. What’s also outstanding would be his lateral quickness despite being about 6’1” or 6’2”. His explosive movements allow him to make more plays on the football while it’s in the air, most notably. When he breaks on the football, even when needing to do so at a tough angle, Lester’s athleticism allows him to do it.

Ryan Mack, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas

Ryan Mack Cornerback / Safety Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Saint Thomas Aquinas - 2024

Ryan Mack was tremendous at the 2022 Miami Under Armour Camp.

During the Miami Under Armour Camp, Mack’s impressive backpedal, impressive transition turns, and effortless-looking bursts of speed caught the attention of scouts. It’s apparent that he has good attention to detail to help him make those plays, and combining all of it made him arguably the best defensive back at Under Armour Miami. Smooth and sudden, quick and decisive, Mack shows the cornerback traits to be a really good cornerback. He’s also someone with the skills to play safety, so he’s versatile as well. Perhaps Mack’s overall skills will allow him to be a hybrid player that utilizes his skills as a nickel cornerback. Regardless of which position(s) he plays, Mack is assuredly a cornerback college coaches need to know.

Desmond Ricks, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

Desmond Ricks Cornerback IMG Academy - 2024

Desmond Ricks possesses the rare mental intangibles of how and when to break on the football as well as the physical gifts that one cannot teach.

As explosive as it comes at cornerback, Ricks has the overall physical skills and natural frame that’s just meant for the position. His burst, open-field speed and leaping ability come into play as much as any cornerback in America, and he’s also extremely long like college coaches prefer. Watching his fluid backpedal and quick change of direction, while keeping his balance and power, shows an advanced player that utilizes what his IMG Academy coaching staff teaches him. He’s also seemingly better each time he is performing in front of the media. Always a good sign when a top-notch player rises to the occasion.

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Ellis Robinson IV, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy

Ellis Robinson IV Cornerback IMG Academy - 2024

Ellis Robinson IV's long arms and punch help him reroute wide receivers.

First point to note regarding Robinson would be physicality. He displays powerful hands at the line of scrimmage, as well as using them when fighting for 50-50 balls. He’s not afraid to mix it up with bigger receivers either. That also helps Robinson in the run game and might make him as good a cornerback run defender as one will in the class of 2024. Next, when Robinson hits the go button, it’s noticeable how quickly he closes on the football. He possesses raw speed. With his downhill approach of attacking shorter passes, he is capable of taking a pass the other direction for a pick-six at any moment. His overall skills, frame, and mindset make him a candidate to play the always difficult nickel position, too. Robinson could mix it up with bigger receivers in the slot as well as compete with tight ends while they block in the screen game.

It’s still quite early with the class of 2024, and this is just a starter list. Other players like James Chenault from Orlando (Fla.) Jones, as well as Donavan Philord from Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic, are a couple of more cornerbacks picking up recruiting steam and for good reason. Overall, it’s already a really good group of cornerbacks from Florida’s class of 2024 for college coaches to battle for.

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