For now, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper gives the "best cornerback I've faced" honor to NFL rookie Aaron Colvin of the Jacksonville Jaguars, whom he faced in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma last year. That could change this weekend when Cooper gets his first look at Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. The All-SEC sophomore is already regarded as perhaps the league's top cornerback, particularly in the area of man-to-man coverage.
Defensive schemes and pre-snap motion often render exciting receiver-cornerback matchups with fewer head-to-head snaps than fans expect. But it wouldn't be surprising if the Florida game plan calls for Hargreaves to follow Cooper wherever he goes, considering Cooper leads the entire NCAA in receptions (33) and has accounted for more than 50 percent of the team's passing yardage.
And it wouldn't surprise Hargreaves, either.
"I'm excited for the matchup. Everybody knows what's coming. Obviously, I'm going to be covering him," Hargreaves said Monday (39:47 mark). "I'm excited for it. ... We'll see what coach Muschamp wants to do, and coach Robinson, we'll see how that works. They're putting in the game plan now, they've been up here since 4:30 this morning."
Cooper got his one and only look at Colvin during the Sugar Bowl last year, a 45-31 Oklahoma win, albeit a big game for Cooper (nine catches, 121 yards). Colvin is inactive for the Jaguars while recovering from a torn ACL suffered just weeks after the Sugar Bowl during Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala.
Hargreaves is still looking for his first interception on the season, but is leading UF in pass breakups with five.