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Best Cornerbacks in College Football 2022 Rankings

Ranking College Football’s best Cornerbacks of the NCAA 2022-2023 season and the 2023 NFL Draft as Clark Phillips III leads the way


By admin | February 1, 2023

The evolution of the passing game both at the professional level as well as in College Football continues year in and year out. With this evolution and increased usage of passing plays, the cornerback position continues to grow as one of the key positions on the defensive side of the ball.

While pass rushers get a ton of attention, without a good secondary led by strong, physical cornerbacks who can cover, pass rushers would struggle to get to the quarterback and big pass plays would happen fast.

When you look at the best cornerbacks landing on the Top 10 College Football Cornerbacks 2023 Rankings list, each is well worth consideration.

Headlining the list of the top cornerbacks in College Football is Clark Phillips III of the UTAH Utes. Phillips III put together a strong sophomore season with the Utes while ranking among the top cornerbacks in interceptions while also recording six passes defended.

Joining Phillips III on the list of the best cornerbacks include Mekhi Blackmon of the USC Trojans, Devon Witherspoon of the Illinois Fighting Illini, Joey Porter Jr of the Penn State Nittany Lions, and Khalen King of Penn State. Nittany Lions. Here is a look at the Top 10 College Football Cornerbacks 2023 Rankings:

Honorable Mention

Will Johnson

School: Michigan Wolverines

NFL Draft Status: Returning to Michigan Wolverines in 2023

Just missing the Top 10 College Football Cornerbacks 2023 Rankings list is the Michigan Wolverines talented freshman Will Johnson. As a freshman Johnson was as strong as many of the top cornerbacks in College Football.

Johnson, who is from Detroit, Michigan finished the season recording 27 tackles to go along with three interceptions, and three passes defended.

Look for the Wolverines to start to move up the list next year while continuing to develop into one of the best cornerbacks in the league.

Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson

School: TCU Horned Frogs

NFL Draft Status: 2023 NFL Draft

Just missing the top cornerback list is the TCU Horned Frogs cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson. Hodges-Tomlinson who is the nephew of NFL Hall of Fame running Back LaDainian Tomlinson is a tremendous cornerback and one that has the potential to develop at the next level when arriving in the NFL.

The Horned Frogs senior finished the season with 50 tackles, one forced fumble, 15 passes defended, and three interceptions. Over the past three seasons, Hodges-Tomlinson has racked up a total of 35 passes defended to go along with five total interceptions.

Top 10 Best College Cornerbacks

10. Quinyon Mitchell

School: Toledo Rockets 

NFL Draft Status: Returning to Toledo Rockets for 2023

In at number 10 on the Top 10 College Football Cornerbacks 2023 Rankings list is the Toledo Rockets sophomore cornerback Quinyon Mitchell.

Mitchell turned in one of the most impressive performances among all defensive players in the team’s 52-32 win back on October 8th, 2022.

Mitchell recorded three tackles, four interceptions with two interceptions being returned for a touchdown. Overall, the Rockets stud cornerback led the nation with 19 passes defended over the 2022 NCAA Football season.

9. Cooper DeJean

School: Iowa Hawkeyes

NFL Draft Status: Returning to Iowa Hawkeyes in 2023 

When you look at the underclassman within the current crop of College Football cornerbacks the future looks promising while loaded with talent.

One of those young underclassmen is sophomore cornerback DeJean of the Hawkeyes. DeJean, who is from Odebolt, Iowa took a huge stride forward in his second season posting 75 tackles, five passes intercepted, eight passes defended, while also returning three of the eight interceptions for a touchdown.

8. Emmanuel Forbes

School: Mississippi State Bulldogs

NFL Draft Status: 2023 NFL Draft

The Mississippi State Bulldogs cornerback has the size at six foot and knack for the ball to make him a great football player at the NFL level after putting together a stellar College Football career over three seasons.

Over three seasons Emmanuel Forbes recorded 14 interceptions to go along with six interceptions returned for touchdowns.

This includes his impressive 2022 NCAA Football schedule performance recording 46 tackles to go along with six interceptions, three interceptions returned for touchdowns, and 11 passes defended. 

7. Kool-Aid McKinstry

School: Alabama Crimson Tide

NFL Draft Status: Returning to Alabama Crimson Tide in 2023

You got to love Kool-Aid McKinstry both on the field as well as for possibly having the best name in sports. The Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back was an all-around great player for the team both on the defensive side of the ball as well as within the team’s return game.

While McKinstry only recorded one interception, much of that has to do with teams avoiding him on passing plays. Nonetheless the sophomore defensive back ranked 3rd in the country while posting 15 passes defended.

6. Benjamin Morrison

School: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

NFL Draft Status: Returning to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2023

The secondary of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish continues to find stud defensive stars including members of their secondary.

The latest is freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison who turned in a terrific freshman season. The former four-star recruit made an immediate impact on the team’s defense ranking 3rd in all of College Football with six interceptions.

In addition, Morrison posted 33 tackles to go along with five passes defended. One of the six interceptions recorded during the season was returned for a Fighting Irish touchdown.

5. Kalen King

School: Penn State Nittany Lions

NFL Draft Status: Returning to Penn State Nittany Lions 2023

Sliding in at number five on the Top 10 College Football Cornerbacks 2023 Rankings list is the Penn State Nittany Lions Kalen King.

King, who is one of two top cornerbacks from the Nittany Lions to land on the list, continues to develop into a big play cornerback while showcasing his ability to stop the pass as well as the run.

The Nittany Lions cornerback finished the college football season with 30 tackles to go along with one forced fumble, three interceptions, and 15 passes defended on the year.

4. Joey Porter Jr.

School: Penn State Nittany Lions

NFL Draft Status: 2023 NFL Draft

Landing just ahead of his Penn State Nittany Lions teammate is Joey Porter Jr. While the numbers don’t measure out as a few of the other top stars on the list, it doesn’t take away how great of a cornerback Porter Jr. is while following in his father’s footsteps.

The Nittany Lions cornerbacks father spent a career making big plays in the NFL including with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Porter Jr racked up eight passes defended while opposing quarterbacks and offenses looked to avoid him often. In addition to the eight passes defended, Porter Jr posted 27 tackles to go along with one forced fumble.

3. Devon Witherspoon

School: Illinois Fighting Illini

NFL Draft Status: 2023 NFL Draft

One of the top cornerbacks entering the 2023 NFL Draft is the Illinois Fighting Illini junior cornerback Devon Witherspoon.

Witherspoon is an aggressive physical cornerback that has solid size at six-foot-one inches, while also having the speed and athleticism to make nearly any play on the football field both in the pass game or the run game.

Witherspoon’s play this season has him ranked among the top cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL draft. The Fighting Illini cornerback finished the season recording 42 tackles to go along with 14 passes defended and three interceptions.

2. Mekhi Blackmon

School: USC Trojans

NFL Draft Status: 2023 NFL Draft

When looking at the top two cornerbacks in all of College Football it comes down to a solid list but only two make the cut with Mekhi Blackmon of the USC Trojans and Clark Phillips III being those two players.

While everyone gets wrapped up into statistics, sometimes it takes analyzing and watching a player play to realize how great he is on the football field. That is the case with the Trojans senior cornerback.

Blackmon finished the season with 13 passes defended, three interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and 66 tackles while being an impact player against both the run as well as against the pass.

1. Clark Phillips III

School: Utah Utes

NFL Draft Status: 2023 NFL Draft

In at number one on the Top 10 College Football Cornerbacks 2023 Rankings list is the Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III.

All you have to do is watch a few game films of Phillips III to recognize how talented the Lakewood, California native is on the football field and at the cornerback position.

Over the course of the 2022 season teams elected to stay away from him in the pass game as much as possible. However, the Utes cornerback posted six interceptions including two returned for touchdowns to go along with six passes defended, one sack, and 24 total tackles.

How would you rank the Best College Cornerbacks in the 2022-2023 BCS season? Rank below to be added in the NCAA Power Rankings

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Players Count 10
  1. Maxwell Hairston

  2. Kool-Aid McKinstry

  3. Emmanuel Forbes

  4. Cooper DeJean

  5. Quinyon Mitchell

  6. Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson

  7. Will Johnson

  8. Benjamin Morrison

  9. Clark Phillips III

  10. Mekhi Blackmon

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