Over the next 16 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
Vernon Hargreaves is a cornerback from Wharton High School in Tampa and was widely considered the best cornerback in the class of 2013 and even the best player in the country by others. Hargreaves could have gone to any school in the country but he chose to stay close to home and attend Florida over Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USF – where his father was on staff – among dozens of other offers.
Hargreaves committed to Florida in July of 2012 and never looked back. He unofficially visited USF once after committing, but for the most part shut down his recruitment and even began recruiting other players across the country to come join him at Florida.
Hargreaves was a USA Today first team All-American; first team All-State, the Tampa Bay Times’ All-Suncoast Defensive Player of the Year and the 2012 Florida Dairy Farmer’s Class 8A Player of the Year as well.
As we mentioned before, Hargreaves is the son of a coach and you can really tell in his play. Hargreaves has instincts that simply can’t be taught and his understanding of the game and his position are far advanced for someone his age.
Hargreaves is the quintessential cover corner, the type of cornerback that you stick on a receiver and play 10-on-10 because he will lock his man down all day. Hargreaves has very good speed, great hips and speed. To add to that list, he is also a solid wrap-up tackler with phenomenal technique.
He is very good in zone coverage but excels as a man-to-man defender – something Florida asks their cornerbacks to do a lot of. Hargreaves has great hands and ball skills to go along with a great leaping ability.
Hargreaves is the complete package at cornerback and appears to be headed for a great career at Florida.
The only weakness in his game is something he can’t change, his height. While he is listed at 5’11” 189, Hargreaves appears a little shorter than that listing. He makes up for it with his technique and leaping ability but, hey, we couldn’t leave this section blank.
What to Expect
Going back all the way to the day he committed, Gator fans started talking about where Hargreaves would play and how he would make an impact in 2013. After enrolling in the summer, he began to work his way into the rotation in the secondary and is already splitting reps with Brian Poole at nickel back.
Hargreaves has experience returning punts and kicks in high school and will absolutely make an impact on special teams as a freshman, but expect to see him playing in Florida’s nickel and dime packages as well.
Hargreaves appears to be the next great cornerback in a long line of recent cornerbacks that have made their way through Gainesville in recent years.