2024 SEC CB Rankings: Maxwell Hairston Returns as the Leading Ball Hawk

    The NFL Draft drained the 2024 SEC CB Rankings of talent, but their are still rising stars to know, plus transfer portal additions.

    Several of the conference’s top cornerbacks, such as Terrion Arnold, Kool-Aid McKinstry, Kris Abrams-Draine, Kamari Lassiter, D.J. James, Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Kamal Hadden, and Decamerion Richardson, have entered the NFL Draft.

    As a result, the 2024 SEC CB Rankings will look vastly different, especially with Texas and Oklahoma joining the conference. But who comes out on top?

    SEC 2024 CB Rankings

    10) Trikweze Bridges and Devin Moore, Florida Gators

    Oregon transfer Trikweze Bridges brings his massive 6’2 1/4″ frame to Florida’s secondary. Despite spending nearly his whole career at CB, it appears the Gators plan to line him up at safety. I’m keeping him with the corners for now, as that’s where he has played his best football.

    If Bridges does stay at the third level when the season begins, that would mean Devin Moore earned the starting CB spot opposite Jason Marshall Jr. At nearly 6’3″ and 200 pounds, Moore is actually bigger and longer than Bridges. The true junior has been a depth piece the last two years but is primed for a breakout season.

    9) BJ Mayes, Texas A&M Aggies

    After recording one interception and 13 more pass breakups at Incarnate Word as a true sophomore in 2022, BJ Mayes transferred to UAB and produced two INTs and 10 PBUs.

    He hasn’t allowed a 30+ yard reception in his career, making his move from the FCS to the AAC to the SEC in three years impressive but not surprising. Now a senior, Mayes could have saved his best season for last.

    8) Marlon Jones Jr., Vanderbilt Commodores

    Marlon Jones Jr. produced three INTs and 4+ PBUs in each of the last three seasons with Eastern Washington. What’s most exciting is the fact that he primarily played in the slot to begin his career but actually played better on the outside in 2023.

    The jump to arguably the best conference in the Power Five won’t be easy, specifically with Vanderbilt, but Jones has the skill set to translate.

    7) Daylen Everette, Georgia Bulldogs

    As a strong tackler, Daylen Everette limits yards after the catch and is willing and able in run defense. But as a coverage defender, his explosive closing burst shuts down throwing windows and blows up plays in front of him.

    MORE: 2024 SEC Power Rankings

    Everette took his lumps as a first-time starter last year, but now a third-year player with significant SEC experience under his belt, he could finish in the top five on the 2024 SEC CB Rankings.

    6) Trey Amos, Ole Miss Rebels

    Following a standout three-year run at Louisianna, Trey Amos joined Alabama as a rotational CB. He only started one game but played significant snaps toward the end of the season and held his own.

    Now at Ole Miss, Amos is ready to prove he can be a CB1 on an SEC defense. He may not put up eye-popping INT numbers (one in his career), but the Rebels’ new defensive star knows how to stick to his man and break up passes (18).

    5) Jason Marshall Jr., Florida Gators

    It got ugly at times for Jason Marshall Jr. last season, but the same could be said for the entire Florida program. He didn’t allow many receptions, but the ones he did concede went for big yardage — his poor tackling didn’t help matters.

    Of course, coverage numbers are volatile year over year, and it’s highly probable Marshall will bounce back this season — hence his place at No. 5 in the 2024 SEC CB Rankings. However, if he doesn’t, he could find himself off the top 10 entirely.

    4) Zy Alexander, LSU Tigers

    Zy Alexander has started 36 of 39 games, spending his first three collegiate seasons at Southeastern Louisiana before suiting up for the Tigers in 2024. He is the definition of a ball hawk, snagging 11 INTs and 19 PBUs in his career.

    A season-ending injury cut his first year at LSU short after eight games, but he already proved his talent to that point and is ready to lock down his side of the field this season.

    3) Jaylon Braxton, Arkansas Razorbacks

    A true freshman in 2023, Jaylon Braxton notched one INT, eight PBUs, and a strip-and-score in just nine games (six starts). The former four-star recruit and one-time Michigan State commit has another offseason to hone his craft before lining up as Arkansas’ best CB in 2024.

    2) Tyreek Chappell, Texas A&M Aggies

    Tyreek Chappell hit the ground running for the Aggies, starting 29 of 33 career games and posting two INTs and 24 PBUs. Health may be his biggest knock, as he hasn’t played a full season since 2021. Nevertheless, Chappell will have NFL teams at his alter in the future, as his discipline and read-and-react ability are worth worshipping.

    1) Maxwell Hairston, Kentucky Wildcats

    Maxwell Hairston’s five INTs tied Alabama’s Terrion Arnold for the most in the conference last season, but he played two fewer games than the Crimson Tide defender. Plus, two of the Kentucky CB’s picks were returned for touchdowns (both against Vanderbilt), highlighting his playmaking ability.

    KEEP READING: 2024 SEC LB Rankings

    As a redshirt sophomore, he showcased the vision to see plays before they fully develop and the overall athleticism to capitalize. With another standout campaign, Maxwell should be lining up in the NFL in 2025.

    2024 SEC CB Rankings | 11-20

    11) Sage Ryan, LSU
    12) Kani Walker,
    13) Terrance Brooks, Texas
    14) Marquise Robinson, Arkansas
    15) Rickey Gibson III, Jalen McMurray, and Jermod McCoy, Tennessee
    16) Domani Jackson, Alabama
    17) Toriano Pride Jr., Missouri
    18) Julian Humphrey, Georgia
    19) Donovan Saunders, Jaydon Hill, and Will Lee III, Texas A&M
    20) Tyson Russell and Kolbey Taylor, Vanderbilt

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