All in the family: Cornerbacks

Most of the top cornerback prospects come from athletic families, especially football brothers. Of course, the most famous of those is the Jaylen Watkins-Sammy Watkins pairing, but they are far from alone.

Ross Cockrell: CB/KR: Duke Blue Devils

His father, Keith Cockrell, played football at Columbia University, lettering in 1983 for a Lions unit that was coached by Robert J. Naso. The team finished with a 1-7-2 record and featured quarterback John Witkowski, who holds 12 school records and was selected in the sixth round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

Kyle Fuller: Virginia Tech Hokies

When the Fuller brothers get together to talk about the "family business" at the dinner table, defensive schemes and statistics are more likely to be the topic of conversation, as brother, Corey, a wide receiver with the Detroit Lions, is smart enough to let the three other brothers monopolize the discussion.

Oldest, wisest and the "grizzled veteran" of the four football-playing Fullers is Vincent, an All-Atlantic Coast Conference defensive back who was the first of the quartet to play at Virginia Tech (2001-04). He was later drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, playing safety for the team until 2010. He spent the 2011 campaign with both Detroit and New England before being released.

Corey was first a track performer at Kansas University for two seasons before transferring to Virginia Tech to test his football skills in 2010. He would be joined by Kyle, an incoming freshman at the time, who would go on to start 42 games for the Hokies over the last four seasons. Corey was selected by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, spending last season on the team's practice squad.

Kyle did not have to be the lone Fuller on campus after Corey graduated, though. In 2013, younger brother, Kendall not only joined the Virginia Tech program, he became an instant sensation. With Kyle manning the strongside cornerback position, Kendall excelled at the "whip" linebacker slot. Both would earn All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors last season, a first for brothers at the school.

Justin Gilbert: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Justin's cousin, Fred Gilbert, red-shirted at UCLA (1990), then transferred to Houston (1991-92), where he was a standout receiver. Fred led the nation with 106 receptions and ranked second in the old Southwest Conference with 957 receiving yards in 1991. He made 158 grabs for 1,672 yards (10.4 ypc) and 14 touchdowns during his two seasons playing for the Cougars.

Jason Verrett: TCU Horned Frogs

Jason's older brother, Warren (nicknamed Tre) was also a running back and defensive back at Rodriguez High School, where the Fairfield native gained 240 yards with two touchdowns on 71 carries (3.38 ypc), adding 45 yards on four receptions during his junior season. As a senior, Warren completed an option pass for a 35-yard touchdown, averaged 4.72 yards as a ball carrier, 8.67 yards as a receiver and 28.2 yards as a kickoff returner in 2006. He also had three interceptions with four pass deflections, a fumble recovery and 27 tackles (21 solos) that campaign.

Both brothers were high school teammates of former University of Nevada and present Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, James-Michael Johnson.

Jaylen Watkins: Florida Gators

Jaylen's half brother is Sammy Watkins, and the Clemson All-American is regarded as one of the elite prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. Sammy finished his Clemson career with 240 receptions for 3,391 yards and 27 touchdowns. The reception total and yardage total are Clemson records and the touchdown total tied former teammate DeAndre Hopkins (2010-12). He had 48 receptions for 20 yards or longer, as he tallied 339 yards with one touchdown on 52 carries (6.52 ypc) with nine runs for at least 10 yards, including five for 20 yards or longer. Sammy also added 1,376 yards on 60 kickoff returns (22.93 avg) and 23 yards on six punt returns, as he registered 5,129 all-purpose yards, an average of 142.47 yards per game.


Dave-Te' Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. With the NFL Draft Report, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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