Summer Report: Gopher cornerbacks

As the Minnesota football team moves closer to the start of fall camp, GopherDigest.com continues our position grade outs of where things are coming out of spring ball. Today, we breakdown the cornerback position and look at the positives and negatives that happened during the four weeks of spring practice while also previewing what lies ahead.

As the Minnesota football team moves closer to the start of fall camp, GopherDigest.com continues our position grade outs of where things are coming out of spring ball. Today, we breakdown the cornerback position and look at the positives and negatives that happened during the four weeks of spring practice while also previewing what lies ahead.

Overall spring grade: A

This is one of the most talented positions on the Minnesota football team heading out of spring practice.

The Gophers have two stars at cornerback in seniors Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun. Each player earned All-Big Ten as juniors last year and both of these players will more than likely be making a lot of money this time next year with their respective NFL teams. After Murray and Boddy-Calhoun, both junior Jalen Myrick and sophomore Craig James that will rotate in this fall.

Defensive back coach Jay Sawvel definitely has a good situation going with such a talent rich position.

Spring surprise: James takes a step forward

After playing in all 13 games as a true freshman last season, sophomore Craig James proved again this spring that he's going to be a special player. James is very explosive and his football IQ is impressive for player going into his sophomore season.

With both starters gone next year, expect James to slide right into the starter position at corner along with his punt return duties.

Question that still needs answering: How much depth is there?

After Murray and Boddy-Calhoun, things are definitely a little thin. Myrick and James got their feet wet last season, but a significant injury to either starter could leave Minnesota thin. With four true freshmen coming in this fall, expect one or two to play early on as Sawvel will need to continue to create depth behind his two NFL corners.

What does the future hold at cornerback?

With three Gophers defensive backs now signed to NFL rosters in the last two years, and two more on the way, things look very bright. Especially since Jay Sawvel signed his most highly touted defensive back class of his college career, including four corners. Michigan's Ray Buford and Missouri's KiAnte Hardin are two that could see the field right away with Buford having tremendous height and length and Hardin having elite speed. Regardless, the future remains bright at the corner for the Gophers as long as Sawvel is at Minnesota.

Projected depth chart:

CB
1 - Eric Murray (6-0, 196) Sr.
2 - Jalen Myrick (5-10, 208) Jr.
3 - Cavonte Johnson (5-11, 197) RJr.

CB
1 - Briean Boddy-Calhoun (5-11, 188) RSr.
2 - Craig James (5-10, 189) So.
Nickel
1 - Jalen Myrick (5-10, 208) Jr.
2 - Ace Rogers (6-1, 207) RJr.

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