Skip to main content
Publish date:

Developing UCF's Young Cornerbacks

The development of four cornerbacks is one of the most important aspects of UCF Football for the next two to three seasons.

ORLANDO - Cornerback is arguably the most difficult position for college football programs to fill scholarships and develop players on the roster. More troubling, college football teams need several cornerbacks that are ready to play, and quite frankly most of the players with the skills to play cornerback would rather be lined up at wide receiver, running back, or quarterback.

UCF has missed opportunities at cornerback during various moments of the season, but at least there's young talent to be developed. Can the young cornerbacks show promise during the second half of the 2021 season with getting more deflections and adding some interceptions?

Today's version of The Daily Knight discusses this topic and adds more talking points about the future of UCF cornerback recruiting:

Brandon Adams, 6’3”, 185

2021 statistics: six tackles, no pass breakups or interceptions.

Adams would be the newest member of the rotation. This well-rounded athlete started against East Carolina and held his own. UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn really liked what he saw from Adams during fall camp, and he’s already proven that he can handle being placed out wide against really good players without safety help over the top.

He’s also one of college football’s longest cornerbacks. As a high school senior for Arabia Mountain High School, Adams played multiple positions and even did well at wide receiver.

Out of all the young cornerbacks, Adams could hold the most potential due to not only his frame and athleticism, but also his ability to be physical. Perhaps he will even play safety for UCF at some point during his college career.

Davonte Brown, 6’2”, 185 pounds

Statistics: 13 tackles, four pass breakups.

Brown has been in the lineup for each of the six games in 2021, and he’s definitely begun to show signs of breaking on the football better. He’s also attacking the line of scrimmage to blow up screen plays better in the last few games than he did earlier in his career.

Davonte Brown began to show more aggressiveness during the East Carolina game.

Davonte Brown began to show more aggressiveness during the East Carolina game.

Of all the four cornerbacks listed here, Brown deserves to be considered the best player from the group as a coverage player. His upside is extremely high with the length and natural lateral movement that he provides. The next stepping stone for Brown will be intercepting a pass. He’s been around the football, but he needs to haul in an interception to prove he’s really making strides.

Corey Thornton, 6’1, 190 pounds

Statistics: Nine total tackles.

Thornton missed most of the Louisville game and all of the Navy game with a concussion. Although he played against East Carolina and Cincinnati, it’s hard to say exactly where his health would be, and that includes his cardiovascular fitness because of sitting out.

Long term, there’s no question that Thornton possesses the physical traits to be really good. Like Brown, Thornton’s length is obvious just by watching him on the gridiron. That length still needs to start helping Thornton to get his hands on the football. Not having a single pass breakup is disappointing, but there’s still six games to go in the 2021 season.

Let’s see how Thornton performs against Memphis. The Knights will need every cornerback to be ready against the Tigers’ pass-happy offense and Thornton could be a key player in this upcoming game.

Justin Hodges, 6’2”, 175 pounds

Statistics: Playing in three games, Hodges recorded five tackles.

Yet another long and lean cornerback, Hodges has yet to find a definitive niche within the defense. He did play considerable minutes versus Navy, but UCF needs him to make plays against passing teams first and foremost.

From this list of four cornerbacks, Hodges needs to be seen more in one-on-one situations to gain a better understanding of his technique and overall cornerback skills.

Final Thoughts

The youthfulness of this group is exciting and yet frustrating. They simply are not making enough plays, evidenced by zero interceptions this season, as well as only four pass breakups from the group, all by Brown.

Read More

These young cornerbacks will be under fire against Memphis, a team that averages 307.6 yards passing per game. Perhaps one or more of the young cornerbacks will step up and make plays against the Tigers.

Over the long haul and regardless of what transpires versus Memphis, it’s imperative that at least one or two of these cornerbacks end up being big-time cornerbacks. If not, it’s going to be very difficult to win football games with practically every team at the college level capable of throwing the football.

For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

Recent Articles From Inside The Knights

Kenny Pickett and DJ Uiagalelei, Quarterbacks Going in Opposite Directions

Giving Credit to College Football's Most Athletic, Intelligent and Unique Defenders

Game Prediction: Memphis at UCF

Expectations for UCF Quarterback Mikey Keene

Checking in With Bo Mascoe, Derrick LeBlanc and John Walker at Kissimmee Osceola

North Carolina State at Miami, Last Chance for Manny Diaz?

UCF will be Facing an Abysmal Memphis' Pass Defense

Which Coach(es) Get Fired at Florida?

Film Review of UCF Football Commitment Keahnist Thompson

Tuesday's Thoughts, Changing the Narrative for UCF against Memphis

Statistics to Know, Memphis Tigers

The Transfer Portal has Helped to Build the UCF Football Roster

Grading UCF Football Through the First Half of the Season

Talking Points, UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s Press Conference

Next Up, UCF Faces a Memphis Team with Offensive Firepower

Evaluating the UCF Roster, Forecasting Recruiting Needs

Ware County Football, A Waycross Tradition