With seven defensive backs taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, including two cornerbacks in the the top four, back-end defensive talent is clearly in demand at football’s highest level. Things are no different in the college game, where the stingiest secondaries are often associated with the nation’s most successful teams.
National champion Georgia tied for eighth nationally with 16 interceptions last season, while Cincinnati became the first Group of Five team to ever reach the College Football Playoff thanks largely to a defense that tied for third with 19 interceptions. Big Ten West powers Iowa and Wisconsin, meanwhile, used excellent defense and significant interception rates to overcome poor offensive campaigns and post solid seasons.
As the 2022 season approaches, there is a new cast of star defensive backs to grow acquainted with in college football. Of the eight DBs represented on the 2021 first and second-team CBS Sports All-American squads, six are now in the NFL. Cornerback Riley Moss of Iowa and safety Jordan Battle of Alabama are the two returners.
Some of the top defensive back rooms in the country are predictable for anyone who follows team recruiting rankings. But a couple of teams with top-10 secondaries entering the season have produced them through impressive internal development. So which DB rooms are best? Let’s break them down.
Georgia ranked 13th nationally in passing defense last season, allowing just 190.9 yards per game through the air. That was especially impressive since opponents were airing it out while typically playing from behind. Even with some attrition, this group should be elite again, and it’s led by elite cornerback Kelee Ringo. The redshirt sophomore and former top-ranked corner from…