Vernon Hargreaves III Discusses Florida Rivals, SEC, Path To The Draft

    Vernon Hargreaves III opened up on Florida's rivals, the SEC and his path to the NFL Draft.

    February 29, 2016

    It was just more than three years ago that the No. 1-ranked cornerback in the 2013 recruiting class signed his letter of intent to play for Will Muschamp at the University of Florida.

    Young Vernon Hargreaves III quickly bursted onto the scene and made an impact on the Southeastern Conference.

    Fast forward 36 games, 121 total tackles and 10 interceptions later, and the former Gator has now wrapped up a solid performance at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, solidifying his case to be a top-10 pick at the NFL Draft on April 28.

    Hargreaves, a.k.a. “VH3” and “District Uno,” sat down with the NFL Network at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and talked about playing in the SEC and in some of the most heated rivalries in college football.

    “That’s tough right there,” he said when asked which rivalry meant more out of Florida State and Georgia. “I can’t even pick one, they are the same. I hate to give you that answer. The excitement before the game, there is nothing like it.”

    Before he was picking off passes in orange and blue, Hargreaves was just a coach’s son.

    His father, who currently coaches linebackers at Arkansas, was Miami’s linebackers coach from 1998 to 2005. Hargreaves recalled learning about the game while watching the Hurricanes practice — specifically one key player.

    “Sean Taylor, without a doubt. Best I’ve ever seen,” Hargreaves said emphatically. “He didn’t care who was on the field. He didn’t care who he was playing against or who he was going up against, if he had a walk on in front of him, it didn’t matter. He was going to do his thing. He was going to crush people, he was going to make plays and he was going to show energy. You don’t see that a lot nowadays.”

    While watching greats like Taylor may have laid the foundation for Hargreaves’ football knowledge and mindset, the former Gator credited an Alabama wide receiver for helping mold him: Amari Cooper. Cooper taught him about using the entire week before a game to not only prepare physically, but mentally as well.

    “My sophomore year, [Cooper] wore me out. I was still younger, my preparation wasn’t as good as it was my junior year. Obviously, I knew who he was and how good of a player he was, but I don’t think I did enough film work that week, and I was just young,” he said.

    Hargreaves acknowledged how, “Every game in the SEC is a big game. Everybody in the SEC can play.” And when the days came when he was matched up against someone of Cooper’s nature “if you don’t prepare the right way, you’ll get exposed and embarrassed.”

    He’s currently projected as a top-10 pick, and one team is going to get a pure, lockdown cornerback. Whose game does Hargreaves believe his most resembles? Well, it’s simple:

    “Brent Grimes, no doubt,” he said. “That is one guy I pay close attention to, really because of his resiliency and, you know, he’s a 5’9″ guy guarding the Calvin Johnsons, and he doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter. He’s going to compete, he’s going to get the ball at the highest point, and that is how it is supposed to be.”

    Hargreaves registered a 4.50 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, and he paired that with a 39-inch vertical and a 10-foot-10-inch broad jump.

    He could be drafted as early as No. 5 to the Jacksonville Jaguars or go as late as No. 14 to the Oakland Raiders.

    The most likely scenario seems to have Hargreaves staying in state. Both his hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins have serious interest and a need for a cornerback.

    Of course, if he goes to Miami, he’ll likely have a chance to play side by side with his professional doppelganger: Brent Grimes.

    MORE: Vernon Hargreaves III Names College Football’s Best Cornerback


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