No position was impacted in 2014 by the freshmen class quite like cornerback was. Today we focus in on Freshman All-American and Freshman All-SEC cornerback, Jalen Tabor.
2014 Season Stats: 31 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 8 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Tabor originally committed to Arizona at the Under Armour All-American game but flipped the script and enrolled early at Florida. That extra time in the playbook, weight room and in spring camp helped Tabor get an early jump and prepared him to play right away. As a freshman he played in 12 games, including five starts.
Tabor’s 31 tackles led all freshmen and helped him earn Freshman All-American honors from Sporting News. Tabor was also named to the SEC All-Freshman team and was named SEC Co-Freshman of the week after his first start of the season against the Tennessee Volunteers. His first road trip saw Tabor record five tackles, one for a loss, force and recover a fumble.
It was his best game by far, but his highlight of the season was an incredible leaping one-handed interception against Vanderbilt that replayed on Sports Center’s Top-10.
Tabor is a big bodied, long corner. He reads receivers hips very well and can stay with his man. He’s a good press corner who is able to get his hands inside and on the pads of his man, disrupting routes before they even begin. However, Tabor struggled in off-man coverage at times during the year. As a bigger cornerback he doesn’t flip his hips, turn and run with guys as well as some smaller corners can. Tabor is also very good against the run. He breaks down, wraps up running backs and doesn’t shy away from contact in games.
Moving into his sophomore season, much will be expected of him. Tabor found a home across the field from Vernon Hargreaves III last year and this year he appears to be primed to continue starting outside opposite Hargreaves. There is healthy competition at cornerback and Tabor will split reps with several other players but he will have his opportunities to shine.