Spring Football Analysis: CB

Spring football is over. We learned a lot about the team during their last 15 practices. CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks it down, focusing on the cornerbacks in this piece.

Tracy Howard emerged as the top player at this position during spring. After starting 12 games and picking off four passes as a sophomore last season, Howard picked right up where he left off and had a strong spring. He seems to have one corner spot locked up. Howard should emerge as one of the premier corners in the ACC this season.

Ladarius Gunter, who started 12 games and picked off three passes as a junior last season, was the leading candidate to start opposite Howard. While still recovering from an injury he suffered late in the 2013 season, Gunter sat out spring. That opened the door for the younger players and it was Artie Burns who made the most of the opportunity.

Burns played in 11 games last season and saw increased playing time at corner down the stretch. He has ideal size, tremendous speed and athleticism, and really started turning into a premier player at the position during the spring. He will give Gunter strong competition heading into the fall.

Antonio Crawford has served as the team's nickel back in each of the past two seasons. One of the fastest players on the team, Crawford resumed that role during the spring. He's been a steady performer for the Canes.

Pushing Howard for the starting job are sophomores Nate Dortch and Corn Elder. Dortch was not healthy for most of last season, while Elder started to really settle in at the cornerback position after coming here as a running back. Both players had solid springs and look to factor into the mix this coming season.

Larry Hope and Ray Lewis were unable to break into the rotation, while freshman Ryan Mayes used the spring to learn the system. With the top six guys at this position pretty established, it'll be tough for these three to garner a whole lot of playing time anytime soon.

Four-star recruit Kiy Hester, who could end up playing cornerback or safety, is set to enroll here over the summer.

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