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Washington Huskies' Zakhari Spears is an SI All-American Candidate

Defensive back from California needs only added size to become an elite player in college.

Zakahri Spears, from Loyola High School in Southern California, fits the mold of the supremely athletic tall cornerback that has become coveted by NFL general managers.

Spears is a natural defender who is comfortable going stride for stride with receivers and using his length to disrupt balls coming into the catch radius. Once he steps on to campus, Spears will compete for major snaps.

Spears is an SI All-American candidate.

John Garcia, SI director of football recruiting, has broken down the corner's game.

Prospect: Zakhari Spears

Status: SI All-American candidate

Vitals: 6-foot-2, 180 pounds

Position: Cornerback

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School: Loyola, Los Angeles (Calif.)

Committed to: Washington

Projected position: Cornerback

Frame: Long and lean right now. Monster wingspan. With additional weight, he’ll look like a pro at the collegiate level.

Athleticism: Attacks 50-50 balls with supreme confidence, rightfully so with his enormous tip radius. More physical than most lanky corners his age. Runs fairly well relative to size, with above-average track marks in sprints as well as the high jump.

Instincts: Spears is definitely a peeker when it comes to zone responsibilities, running the risk (he’s content betting on himself) of gifting the receiver separation. He knows his height and size can be used against him, so he compensates with a mindfully low center of gravity in his stance, and throughout the play.

Polish: More than a capable tackler. Rolls the dice at times, but trusts his range to bring him back into contention for every ball between 3-4 seconds of hang time. He jumps down to defend the flat like it’s his own front porch.

Bottom line: Spears looks best as a deep third coverage specialist, but he’s also a proven flat defender and a sure tackler. He plays with confidence, and for good reason, since his long arms and zone-friendly range keep him in the play when the quarterback thinks he has him beat. Adding strength and some mass could be his ticket to relatively early playing time at the Power Five level.