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Phil Steele: Top 25 Cornerbacks for 2025 NFL Draft ahead of 2024 college football season

Screen Shot 2024-05-28 at 9.09.17 AMby:Kaiden Smith07/09/24

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Cornerback has become one of the premier positions in football, with the best of the best being tasked with locking down number one wide receivers and shutting down an entire side of the field in the passing game to make an invaluable impact for defenses.

Year after year in the NFL the prominence of cornerbacks seemingly increases. As young defensive backs continue to take the league by storm early in their careers and quickly rise up the rankings at the position.

The next class of NFL cornerbacks will take the college football stage this upcoming season, and ahead of this year’s action, college football prognosticator Phil Steele ranked the top corner prospects for the 2025 NFL Draft. Check out his Top 25 cornerback prospects below.

1. Will JohnsonMichigan

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Michigan cornerback Will Johnson enters the 2024 college football season as the consensus top corner in the country according to most evaluators. Playing a crucial role in the Wolverines’ run to a national championship victory after being named the Defensive MVP of the national title game.

One of Johnson’s four interceptions of the season came against Washington in the finale of the college football season. And at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, the First-Team All-American has the prototypical size and traits to be a shutdown cornerback at the next level.

2. Travis HunterColorado

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Colorado’s Travis Hunter isn’t just one of the best defensive backs in the country, but one of the best overall athletes in the nation entering the upcoming college football season. Getting it done at wide receiver and cornerback for the Buffaloes just like his head coach Deion Sanders did in his prime.

Hunter took home the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player last season, leading the FBS in total snaps from scrimmage despite missing three and a half games with injury. Ending the year with 31 tackles, five pass breakups, three interceptions, 57 receptions, 721 yards, and five receiving touchdowns.

3. Benjamin MorrisonNotre Dame

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Ben Morrison burst onto the scene as a true freshman for the Fighting Irish. Named a Freshman All-American by five different publications after leading Notre Dame with six interceptions.

Morrison was less targeted last season, but still managed to break up 10 passes and haul in three interceptions last season. Poised for yet another standout season that could propel his draft stock tremendously ahead of the 2025 Draft.

4. Maxwell HairstonKentucky

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Kentucky’s Maxwell Hairston is the first SEC player to crack into Steele’s list. And it’s pretty safe to say that no returning cornerback outdid him last season in the league many consider the best in college football, especially at producing cornerbacks.

Hairston led the SEC in interceptions (5), interception returns (26.20), interception return yards (131), and interception return TDs (2) last season. Earning Second-Team All-SEC with a high likelihood of being a First-Teamer this upcoming season.

5. Davison IgbinosunOhio State

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Davison Igbinosun is one of of three Ohio State quarterbacks to make the cut in the top 15 of Steele’s list. Leading the charge for a defensive backfield that’s one of the strongest in the country and also includes All-American safety Caleb Downs.

Igbinosun transferred to Ohio State last offseason following a Freshman All-American season at Ole Miss. Making an immediate impact in his first season with the Buckeyes as a physical 6-foot-2 cornerback who ended the year with 39 tackles and five pass breakups.

6. Denzel BurkeOhio State

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Igbinosun’s teammate Denzel Burke trails right behind him in Steele’s cornerback rankings, returning to the Buckeyes after having the chance to declare for last year’s NFL Draft. Named a Second-Team All-America and First-Team all-Big Ten selection after recording 24 tackles tackles, nine pass breakups, and one interceptions.

Burke has started in all 35 games he has played in the past three seasons of the Buckeyes. Also having the opportunity to place his name atop the program’s all-time record books in starts by a cornerback and career pass breakups in 2024.

7. Shavon RevelEast Carolina

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ECU’s Shavon Revel is the one and only Group of Five cornerback to crack into Steele’s top 25 cornerback prospects. Spending two seasons at Louisburg College before transferring to East Carolina as he looks to continue climbing all the way up to the NFL.

Revel ended last season with 55 tackles, six passes defended, and an interception. Displaying great length and good vision in zone coverage with a 26% forced incompletion rate last season which ranks third among returning G5 cornerbacks.

8. Mansoor DelaneVirginia Tech

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Mansoor Delane is the only ACC defensive back to crack into the Top 10. Leading the Hokies in pass breakups with seven as a true freshman to earn several Freshman All-American honors.

Delane didn’t see nearly as much action this past season in the passing game, but still had a career-high 54 tackles in 2023. Entering 2024 with 11 total passes defended, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles in his career.

9. Cobee BryantKansas

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Since becoming a full-time starter for the Jayhawks, Cobee Bryant has been one of the top corners in the Big 12 Conference. Earning Big-12 First-Team honors in the last two seasons where he’s intercepted six passes and recorded 49 tackles.

At 6-foot, 170 pounds, Bryant plays a lot bigger than his size and has a knack for making big plays. Scoring a touchdown in all three of his seasons with Kansas with an interception returned for a touchdown, a blocked kick return for a touchdown, and one of the hardest hits last football season against BYU where he forced a fumble for a scoop and score.

10. Domani JacksonAlabama

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Domani Jackson rounds out Steele’s Top 10 after transferring to Alabama this offseason. Starting off the first two seasons of his college career at USC where racked up 28 tackles and four pass breakups in his 18 game appearances.

Jackson’s stats may not be overwhelming, but the former No. 1 overall cornerback in the 2022 recruiting class is a supreme athlete with all the tools of an NFL cornerback. As he’ll look to become the next Crimson Tide defensive back to be drafted in the first round.

Steele’s 11-25 CBs for the 2025 NFL Draft

11. Jordan HancockOhio State
12. Ricardo HallmanWisconsin
13. Zemaiah VaughnUtah
14. Tacario DavisArizona
15. Tommi HillNebraska
16. Marcus AllenNorth Carolina
17. Jahdae BarronTexas
18. Keionte ScottAuburn
19. Daylen EveretteGeorgia
20. Amari JacksonBoston College
21. Quincy RileyLouisville
22. Dorian StrongVirginia Tech
23. Jason Marshall Jr.Florida
24. Jacob ParrishKansas State
25. Garnett Hollis Jr.West Virginia