Travis Hunter:DB, Jackson State
Top247 Rank: No. 1 overall, No. 1 CB
The no. 1 player in the 2022 class is primed to start and star right away for Jackson State. He projects as a lockdown cornerback and an impact wide receiver for the Tigers, a team that will be must-see TV largely because of Hunter. If Hunter lives up to his considerable hype, he should challenge for FCS All-American honors in Year 1.
JQ HardawayDB, Cincinnati
Top247 Rank: No. 192 overall, no. 15 Safety:
It wasn’t long ago that Ahmad Gardner flashed as a true freshman and ascended to a starting role midway through his debut campaign. Hardaway could follow that path. Another long and lanky cornerback for the Bearcats at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Hardway has worked extensively with the 2s this fall. But it’s going to be very hard to keep him out of the starting lineup for a long time. Those around the program see him as a future star.
Will JohnsonDB, Michigan
Top247 Rank: No. 35 overall, no. 4 CB:
The top player from the state of Michigan, Johnson promises to help the Wolverines right away. He had a strong spring as an early enrollee and has continued that level of play this fall. He might not start right away – upperclassmen DJ Turner and: Gemon Green have the inside track – but Johnson is going to be at worst a third cornerback who is on the field a ton.
Malaki StarksDB, Georgia
Top247 Rank: No. 4 overall, No. 1 Athlete
Starks enrolled early at Georgia and has the makings of an early contributor in a secondary that is looking for an infusion of talent at safety. One of the best overall athletes in the 2022 class, Starks was actually a triple-option QB who played both ways in high school. But the returns on Starks this fall have been strong enough that he’s considered someone who will be a major contributor for the Bulldogs – and quickly.
Azareye’h ThomasDB, Florida State
Top247 Rank: No. 121 overall, no. 6 Athletes
One of two top-100 DBs to sign with Florida State this cycle, Thomas has quickly shown to be a playmaker since enrolling early. That’s only continued in fall camp where Thomas has made big play after big play. Like a few players on this list, Thomas isn’t a lock to start. But that role will likely be his at some point this year. At worst for Florida State, he’s an excellent option as a rotational cornerback who can create takeaways in bunches.