Well, no one will say that the Florida secondary is void of talent and experienced talent at that. That didn't keep the nation's top rated cornerback from joining the Florida football team. The Gators have three cornerbacks that returned with all-SEC type credentials and experience and Vernon Hargreaves could have cared less when he signed on the dotted line with the Gators in February.
Guys like that usually end up being players and Hargreaves has already shown that he is one.
The Gators have one interception on the season and that belongs to Hargreaves. His teammates know what he is capable of and saw it early since his arrival.
"He came along fast," said redshirt safety Marcus Maye who starts In the Gator secondary. "He's going to be great. He's very good. He's a student of the game as well. Even though he's young, it seems like he's been a part of it for a very long time. He makes plays and flies around to the ball. I'm very confident about Vernon."
Maye said from the first practices it was easy to tell that Hargreaves was a player.
"Right away," he said. "We knew he had it coming in, high school and stuff like that. But once he got on the field with us, we were all like, 'yeah, it's believable.' We all saw what everyone else saw, so Vernon's going to be good. He's a great guy to have back there. He can play multiple positions."
Senior Jaylen Watkins will likely start for the second week at cornerback but plays everywhere in the secondary and is kind of the student teacher for all of the players in the secondary having played in every spot. The elder Watkins sees a lot in the young Hargreaves.
"Vernon, he definitely has the talent," Watkins said shortly after the Gators dispatched of Toledo last Saturday. "He just has the knowledge of the game. He's a competitor. As you saw today, he is a competitor."
Watkins was excited about Hargreaves interception, but it wasn't unexpected from the young player.
"I wasn't surprised at all," Watkins said. "I was on the other side and I looked back and saw him. I know he is going to be a good player."
Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin was extremely happy that one of his guys produced the most desired effect for his defense… a turnover. He was also happy for a great player that got off to a great start to his Florida career.
"We talk about turnovers here," Durkin Thursday to the Florida media. "That's a big part of what we do. I was definitely excited about that.
"Anytime you see a freshman go out there and do what you know he can do, how that guy responded, reacted and played, meant exciting things for all of us. He can make us better."
On the interception, Hargreaves looked like a seasoned pro in his coverage. As he did for the entire game, Hargreaves was in the face of the receiver at the line of scrimmage, not giving him much room. As the receiver went up field and broke inside, the young corner trailed just a tad and stayed inside. When the ball left the quarterback's hand, Hargreaves made his move, jumped in front of the receiver, swiped the ball, and turned up field for positive yardage.
"Yeah, I thought it was a heck of a play," Durkin said with a smile. "That shows he's got great ability, but he's also an instinctive player. For a guy to go and make a play on that ball, you don't see that every day. We think we've got something special with him. He's got to continue to work and get better. Him with the rest of the guys in that room, I think it makes a pretty good group of DB's and corners in particular."
Hargreaves picked the right place to play. The 5-foot-11, 192 pounder isn't the biggest or fastest corner on the field. But he is plenty big and plenty fast and has the attitude that he is as good as any of the others out there. That is why he is a great fit at Florida.
"I am very happy," Watkins said of having a young guy like this come along so quick. "We lost some guys last year and we need guys like that to come in and step up. We look forward to it and embrace them. He really did exactly what we asked him to."