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Gators’ Vernon Hargreaves thinks he’s the best in the nation

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Who is the top defensive back in college football?

If you’re asking Tampa’s Vernon Hargreaves III, well, it’s him.

Hargreaves, the cornerback of the University of Florida, said as much Monday in the SEC Media Days. In fact. Hargreaves admitted that he has already begun to think about the NFL.

“All the time … all the time,” Hargreaves said. Once he’s there, Hargreaves wants to stay.

“To play in the league for 10-plus years, that’s probably my main goal,” Hargreaves said. “And then hopefully try to get to a Super Bowl.

Hargreaves’ 13 pass breakups led the SEC last year, and he also had three interceptions. He sees himself as a cornerback in the mold of Miami’s Brett Grimes.

“I think I’m completely different than most corners, but my favorite corner is Grimes, just because of how he plays,” Hargreaves said. “His tenacity, and he can do anything. He can press, he can play off, he’s fast, and he makes plays and gets the ball out.”

Hargreaves says he thinks Florida has the best secondary in the conference.

“We tried not to get into the whole Twitter debate about ‘who is DBU?’” Hargreaves said. “We’re just going to let the season play out for itself and then at the end of the season it won’t be close.”

Along with Hargreaves, the Gators have last year’s freshman standout Jalen Tabor, breakout safety Keanu Neal and Brian Poole, who had four interceptions, returning.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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