It's hard to dominate a game as a cornerback, and it's really hard to dominate an all-star game for high school seniors as a cornerback. But Florida commitment Vernon Hargreaves did just that for Team Black in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game on Friday night, earning MVP honors as a result.
Hargreaves compiled five tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception, but it's how he got those numbers that made him the star of the night. One of the tackles came on a chop-down tackle in the open field. The pass breakup came on a deep ball that elite wide receiver Laquon Treadwell had in his hands in the end zone before Hargreaves, who covered Treadwell on the play without turning his head to spot the ball, clawed it out of his clutch.
And then there was the pick, which I'll just let ESPN's Derek Tyson describe:
That was brilliant, absolutely perfect zone coverage. He covered two guys, baited the short route and collected his INT. Wow. #UAGame— Jeff Barlis (@JeffBarlisESPN) January 5, 2013
Barlis also noted that, even on a team with veteran corners, Hargreaves, "as good or better than Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins" were, is probably a lock to contribute as a freshman.
Here's a prediction that goes beyond that: Hargreaves is going to be Florida's best corner by no later than the end of his freshman season. He's got good size at 5'11" and about 190 pounds, excellent speed, tremendous technique, and the smarts to take coaching and get better.
If you watched the game, you saw Hargreaves give a brief, 30-second interview to an ESPN reporter. He answered two questions, one by saying that the opportunity to "play with the best of the best" was part of why he was excited for the game, and one by fluidly explaining in detail how he broke up the pass to Treadwell.
What the Gators are getting in Vernon Hargreaves is about as can't-miss as a a recruit gets. And if you like watching cornerbacks play football, every Florida game that Hargreaves plays in for the next three years — and I'm not kidding myself: It'll be three, not four years — will be can't-miss material, too.