Brenton Cox and Richard Jibunor (Photo by Jason Caldwell)

Scout breaks down its top 10 defensive performers from The Opening Atlanta over the weekend

BUFORD, Ga. -- The Opening Atlanta was again a loaded college football prospect event and Scout breaks down the best on the defensive side of the football.

Prospects are selected based solely on Sunday's workout and are listed alphabetically: 

 

http://www.scout.com/player/199732-derrik-allen

Four-star Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter defensive back and Notre Dame commitment Derrik Allen showed great versatility, lining up at cornerback and safety on Sunday. He has great size and was very physical with receivers.  He anticipated well and was very fluid in coverage. Allen also did a nice job reading the quarterback's eyes and showed great ball skills. He will likely push for playing time immediately in South Bend and has a chance to be a big-time player for the Irish.

http://www.scout.com/player/196673-robert-cooper?s=14

Snellville (Ga.) South Gwinnett defensive tackle Robert Cooper, a Florida State verbal commitment, made his presence known early and often Sunday. His size in the middle strikes you until you see how quick he gets off of the football and engages the blocker. Cooper then flashes the ability to use his hands well and counter that into swim, rip and spin moves at different points. Eager to compete, the mammoth interior defender won reps without simply bull-rushing or overpowering his opponent, standing out on a day designed for smaller, quicker pass rushers more times than not. Alabama and Ohio State aren't going away quietly and will host him on an official visit in the fall.

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/player/208689-brenton-cox

One of the highest-rated defenders coming into Sunday's camp, many eyes were on Stockbridge (Ga.) defensive end Brenton Cox and he lived up to his billing. The top 50 overall prospect looked like one while screaming off the edge against many offensive linemen and he was the only defender who took home a victory against Jamaree Salyer and Cade Mays, both top 20 prospects nationally on Scout. Cox beat blockers with the best first step of any at the event but he also showed the ability to come back underneath with quickness and power. In-state Georgia and Ohio State are battling for the blue-chip talent.

http://www.scout.com/player/207984-greg-emerson?s=73

Greg Emerson, yet another Scout100 prospect on this list, looked like it all afternoon long. Able to turn heads as both an inside rusher as well as on the edge, the Jackson (Tenn.) North Side standout had a complete day. Emerson is probably going to play inside at the next level and that is where he put in his best work with power and solid hand technique to create a path to the passer. Set to make a verbal commitment in December, in-state TennesseeAlabama and Oregon may be in the best shape at this time. 

http://www.scout.com/player/210547-richard-jibunor?s=14

Athens (Ga.) Christian athlete Richard Jibunor plays all over the field on Fridays but one of the position he had never truly worked is where he ended up excelling Sunday -- defensive end. Telling Scout he made the move from linebacker because there were so many talented offensive linemen he wanted to stack up against, the three-star soaked in all the coaching during individual drills before seldom losing a rep during one-on-one competition en route to being named defensive line MVP. With a long and put together frame, explosiveness and a clear desire to learn and round out his game, it's no surprise programs like AlabamaAuburnTennessee and many others are high on his list.

Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County outside linebacker J.J. Peterson showed why he is the No. 1 outside linebacker in the South on Sunday. He is one of the most physically impressive prospects in the class and has a great frame that will allow him to add a significant amount of weight at the next level. Peterson showed great speed and physicality. He was also comfortable dropping into coverage and showed tremendous athleticism. Alabama leads, followed by Georgia.

http://www.scout.com/player/204317-christopher-smith

Four-star College Park (Ga.) Hapeville Charter cornerback Christopher Smith did not back down from anyone all day. He took countless reps in one-on-ones and won the majority. Smith was physical with the receivers and very aggressive. He was fluid in and out of his backpedal and instinctive. Smith also showed great concentration and ball skills. Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and South Carolina look to be the main contenders.

http://www.scout.com/player/212359-channing-tindall

Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley outside linebacker Channing Tindall's recruitment has exploded over the past few months -- and after Sunday's performance -- his stock is going to continue to rise.The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Tindall has added a significant amount of muscle in the offseason and looked noticeably stronger. He was extremely athletic, fluid in drills and explosive. Tindall also had the highest SPARQ rating of the day with 125.25. Georgia, South Carolina and LSU are some schools to watch when it comes to the Spring Valley standout.

http://www.scout.com/player/192777-christian-tutt

Christian Tutt was the ultimate competitor on Sunday. The Thomson (Ga.) cornerback took more reps than any defensive back and won most of them. The 5-11, 185-pound Tutt was very physical and strong, which allowed him to overwhelm many receivers. He showed great anticipation and quick hips. Tutt was also aggressive and made several plays on the ball. He is down to Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State. Alabama and Florida State have the edge and he will make his commitment on May 30.

Scout's Michael Clark contributed to this report. 


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