Charlie’s College Football Rankings: Safeties

Charlie’s College Football Rankings: Safeties

by July 29, 2021 0 comments

We are officially less than a month away from the first week of the college football season, and with that comes our final installment of player rankings. We’ve gone through every position finding the true stars in the sport, breakout players for next year, and some true group of five diamonds in the rough. In the final rank, we bring you a star-studded group of safeties and even some players that we could see called at the top of the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s get into it. 

Be sure to check out all of Charlie’s College Football Positional Rankings.

1. Kyle Hamilton– Notre Dame

At 6’4″, 220 pounds, Hamilton brings a physically imposing stature to the secondary. Mix that with his elite athleticism and coverage ability, and you’ve got a star safety. In 2020, Hamilton had 51 tackles, seven pass breakups, and added an interception to this list as well. Coming into his true junior season, Hamilton will show us all why he’s the best safety in the nation. The playmaking ability on top of the IQ, range, and lockdown skills just simplifies why Hamilton is so good.

2. Tykee Smith– Georgia

Smith has played his two years of college ball at West Virginia so far but has since transferred to Georgia for the 2021 season. What he brings to the table is pure shutdown ability. We see Smith work in the slot a lot but also manned up pretty much anywhere. When thrust in these situations, Smith let up just 2.8 yards per target last season, and only a total of 110 yards across 10 games played. Smith is a massive boost for a Georgia defense that has lost guys like Richard LeCounte, Tyson Campbell, and Eric Stokes

3. Malachi Moore– Alabama

Alabama’s famed STAR position across the college football world is where we see Moore operate, and dominate. He was only a true freshman last season, so there were many inconsistencies, but the back half of his campaign was far and away better than the front, which is extremely promising to any coach. Like Smith, Moore works best in slot coverage but has done a lot of other jobs for his unit. He had a nice 27 tackles last year but a combined nine pass breakups/interceptions are where we really see his true ability. Watch out for this kid to break out even more in 2021. 

4. Brandon Joseph– Northwestern

Another fantastic coverage safety, Joseph, like his counterparts on this list, can be thrown in anywhere and succeed. In 2020, he had an astounding six interceptions and two pass breakups. This also came with a very solid 28 solo tackles. Joseph is a playmaker, a ballhawk, and a true coverage safety. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald knows how to utilize him to see him create the most impact, and it will be another exciting season for Joseph, barring any major surprises.

5. Bubba Bolden– Miami

Arguably the smartest safety on this list is Bolden. He’s not really the coverage guy like the four others here, but he’s got the instincts against the run, and the blitz ability to make up for it. He only made four total plays on the ball last year, which isn’t too superb for a safety but then you realize his other statistics. Bolden had 74 total sacks with 50 solos and a national second-best four forced fumbles. These are stats for a solid college football linebacker, especially with the turnovers. This is a player who can really do it all and hopefully can get recognized on a national stage this year. 

6. Jordan Battle– Alabama

Unlike his coworker in the secondary Moore, Battle possesses more of a traditional safety feel. With 39 solo tackles, one interception, and four passes defended last season, Battle showed he can be the reliable safety in Nick Saban’s secondary. He’s not going to wow us with superb numbers but he more than gets the job done and has a nice burst and athleticism to propel himself around the field. Overall, Battle will go down as a sort of underrated guy who runs the field as he should and only gets noticed for what he does on film.

7. Jaquan Brisker– Penn State

A former JUCO superstar, Brisker is looking to continue on his early D-I success with the Nittany Lions this year. The best attribute Brisker has is his tackling. He’s a very reliable tackler and it’s a true rarity when he whiffs on tape. He racked up 57 total tackles last year with 33 solos. In all but three games he put up four or more solo tackles, showing his true willingness to get involved for his guys. Brisker gets the job done in coverage as well, and Penn State will look to use him as a huge weapon on defense.

8. Jalen Catalon– Arkansas

A super underrated player at this level, Catalon is a very balanced safety. He has gotten involved heavily in the run defense but has shown that he’s no slouch in coverage with a combined eight passes defended and interceptions last year. Now, Catalon will look to be a sort of star in a most likely lackluster Arkansas defense. 

9. Trey Sterling– Oklahoma State

Right behind Bolden for the best IQ award would have to be Sterling. He breaks on the ball so well and seems to really understand the concepts being thrown at him. He had an amazing 51 solo tackles last season and had six plays on the ball. At the end of the day, Sterling is going to be the best player on Oklahoma State’s defense. We will see another big step up from him this year and he could even play his way into the top five.

10. Bralen Trahan– Louisiana

It seems each week we’ve had a super underrated group of five guy and that is no different here. With Trahan, we revert back to the true coverage guys of the safety world. He had a combined 13 pass breakups and interceptions last year, leading the nation for safeties. He also added a nice 29 stops to his ledger, showing he can compete in the box, and is not just a one-trick pony. All in all, this is a name we need to really try and look out for, even if he won’t get that respect from the media.  

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