Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was named to the American Football Coaches Association first team on Wednesday, cementing his spot as a unanimous All-American. Hargreaves was also named to the first team All-American teams by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, The Sporting News and Walter Camp Football Foundation. The junior cornerback said after the SEC Championship Game that he would likely leave early and enter the NFL Draft. He is projected to be a first-round pick.
Hargreaves is the first Florida player to be named a unanimous All-American since cornerback Joe Haden in 2009.
The junior cornerback had 31 tackles on the season with four pass breakups and four interceptions, returning them for a total of 152 yards. Hargreaves also forced one fumble. The Florida coaching staff opened the year by using Hargreaves in some packages on offense, but some smaller, nagging injuries that stuck with him during the season forced the staff to stop using him on offense.
He ended the season with one catch for six yards. Hargreaves had two punt returns for 11 yards. Freshman Antonio Callaway was used as the team’s primary punt returner, but when the opposing team had a chance to pin Florida deep in its own territory, the Gators used Hargreaves as a returner because of his sure hands.
The junior was also an important leader in the Florida secondary. With sophomore cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson also seeing time at the position, Hargreaves was the team leader in practice and the one the cornerbacks looked to in a big moment. That helped Tabor put together a massive statistical season, totaling 14 pass breakups and four interceptions to go with two sacks and three tackles for a loss.
The Gators return to action on January 1 against Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in Orlando.