College Football: 10 highest-graded cornerbacks ahead of Week 9

2T2H41D KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 14: Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Kamal Hadden (5) celebrates during the college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies on October 14, 2023, at Neyland Stadium, in Knoxville, TN. (Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

• Duke's Myles Jones at No. 1: His playing time has been limited by injuries, but Jones has locked opposing receivers down when he has played, holding quarterbacks to a 44.4 passer rating when targeted.

• Iowa State's T.J. Tampa makes the top five: Tampa has lined up just about everywhere for the Cyclones this season, playing 15 snaps on the defensive line, 27 in the box, 10 in the slot and 374 on the outside. He is one of the nation's best tacklers at this position, as he's missed just two of his 32 attempts through eight weeks.

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1. Myles Jones, Duke Blue Devils

PFF Coverage Grade: 90.6
Snaps: 189

Jones has been arguably the best player on one of the nation’s best defenses. Injuries have limited his playing time, but he has locked opposing receivers down when he has played, holding quarterbacks to a 44.4 passer rating when targeted.

2. Kamal Hadden, Tennessee Volunteers

PFF Coverage Grade: 90.5
Snaps: 311

Hadden has been one of the main reasons Tennessee’s defense has improved so much from a year ago. Hadden has already recorded three interceptions and six pass breakups while allowing a 36.4% completion rate on throws into his coverage.


3. Sebastian Castro, Iowa Hawkeyes

PFF Coverage Grade: 90.3
Snaps: 540

Castro has played 540 snaps this season, tied for the fifth-most at the position, but he has still dominated on a defense that perenially ranks among the nation's best. He has been targeted 51 times but has allowed only 4.9 yards per reception, second in the country among all qualified cornerbacks. He already has one pick-six on the year.

4. Dwight McGlothern, Arkansas Razorbacks

PFF Coverage Grade: 89.7
Snaps: 154

McGlothern got hurt back in Week 5 but was dominating until then. The Razorbacks defense has not been the same since. Through five games, he had given up just 79 receiving yards on six catches, with two interceptions.


5. T.J. Tampa, Iowa State Cyclones

PFF Coverage Grade: 88.2
Snaps: 427

Tampa has lined up just about everywhere for the Cyclones this season, playing 15 snaps on the defensive line, 27 in the box, 10 in the slot and 374 on the outside. He is one of the nation's best tacklers at this position, as he's missed just two of his 32 attempts through eight weeks.

The 43rd-ranked prospect on PFF's 2024 Big Board, Tampa has held opposing quarterbacks to a 44.1 passer rating on throws into his primary coverage.

6. Da’Raun McKinney, Central Michigan Chippewas

PFF Coverage Grade: 88.1
Snaps: 166

Although he missed the first few games, McKinney has been outstanding since returning. He has given up only 6.0 yards per reception, 10th in the nation among qualified corners. Receivers have rarely been able to break free when McKinney has his hands on them, as the Central Michigan corner has given up only 15 yards after the catch and has yet to miss a tackle.


7. Josh Newton, TCU Horned Frogs

PFF Coverage Grade: 86.5
Snaps: 498

This is the second year in a row Newton has helped carry the TCU secondary. After grading in the 80s in 2022, the 23-year-old senior has improved this season, raising his PFF grade in every statistical category. He’s allowing one less yard per reception and is yet to give up a touchdown after allowing five a season ago.

Newton is currently the fifth-ranked cornerback and 31st-ranked player on PFF's 2024 Big Board.


8. Quinyon Mitchell, Toledo Rockets

PFF Coverage Grade: 86.1
Snaps: 431

After earning a 92.7 coverage grade in 2022, it was always going to be hard for Mitchell to replicate that performance in 2023. However, he’s come pretty close, earning an 85.2 PFF grade through eight weeks. The six-foot junior has already forced 10 incompletions, second-most in the FBS, and his performances have secured a spot in the top 100 on PFF's 2024 Big Board.

9. Carl Williams IV, Baylor Bears

PFF Coverage Grade: 86.0
Snaps: 218

Williams has been one of the lone bright spots on the Baylor defense. Targeted 15 times in coverage this year, he has two pass breakups and one interception and has allowed only 5.4 yards per catch, the fifth-lowest mark among qualified cornerbacks.

10. Kris Abrams-Draine, Missouri Tigers

PFF Coverage Grade: 85.9
Snaps: 515

Not only does Abrams-Draine play lockdown corner for the Tigers, but he also returns punts occasionally — that’s the type of speed and athleticism he possesses. Abrams-Draine currently has the second-most interceptions in the country, with four in eight games.

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