It may come as a bit of a surprise, given the high-profile shootouts that have highlighted the first five weeks of the college football season, but there are some cornerback prospects whose talents should not get lost in the mix.
Here are five I am keeping an eye on:
Oklahoma CB Aaron Colvin: The Sooners' senior is extremely versatile. Colvin (6-0, 192 pounds) was a starting safety for the 2011 season. Corner is his more natural position, but he can play both spots very well. He excels at diagnosing and can help set up a defense before the snap. His tackling is sound, too. He's a leader. His teammates gravitate to him and follow him.
Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu: This is the guy on the list who intrigues me the most because he has to deal with the toughest offensive competition. Think about the Pac-12 and what its defenses are up against. I'm not saying the other guys on this list don't deal with great quarterbacks and receivers, but the Pac-12 is loaded. The SEC is the best conference in the country until proven otherwise, but week in and week out, if we're talking about who can sling it and who can catch it? The Pac-12 takes a backseat to no one. Ekpre-Olomu (5-10, 185) reminds me a bit of a former Pac-12 corner -- Desmond Trufant, who was a first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons this year. Ekpre-Olomu has the same leaping ability. He is a physical corner who can run. He also gets his hands on a lot of passes and affects plays that way. He locks in and focuses. He's an asset on special teams as a gunner, too.
Florida CB Loucheiz Purifoy: He's such a good athlete. Purifoy (6-1, 189) has been used at wide receiver because Florida is one of the few teams in the country that has concerns about scoring. Purifoy certainly can make a difference on offense, but I think corner is his best spot. That's where he has been trained. When I watch him, it looks like he carries himself like a corner -- like that's where he belongs. He has great quickness, instincts and ball skills. He's a willing tackler and a great special-teams player. He can do it all.
Ohio State CB Bradley Roby: It will be interesting to see how Roby (5-11, 192) bounces back after having some trouble last week vs. Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis. It's not a surprise that Abbrederis caused probems for him -- Abbrederis might be the best wide receiver in the Big Ten. Roby is still one of the top corners in the nation, though, and he did have an interception vs. the Badgers. I think his footwork is terrific and that his quickness is good. I think he anticipates and reads well. He has good ball skills, but all corners can work on that. He tackles well. He's not just a cover corner, I think he's a complete player. I like his size and instincts. He has good toughness.
TCU CB Jason Verrett: He is another guy who is a complete corner because you can't play for TCU coach Gary Patterson without being complete. He's not going to let you be deficient in any part of the game. Verrett (5-10, 176) loves the idea of being a lockdown corner. He'll take the No. 1 wide receiver, latch onto him and make life tough. He's made a habit of shutting down big-time playmakers at wide receiver, including Texas Tech's Eric Ward earlier this season.