Updated: May 23, 2020
LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Here we geaux...the part of the list that gets trickier....blood paving our pathway to the finish line of DBU...we're talking razor thin margins, stat by stat and opinion by opinion placement that could be a toss-up...but we're showing two sides of the coin for each of these guys the entire Top 10...we didn't stop until every stone was turned over.
Now it's up to the reader to decide the fate of DBU....or this writer to screw it all up.
2009-2010 FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC
2010 JIM THORPE AWARD
2010 CHUCK BEDNARIK AWARD
2x ALL-AMERICAN (09-10)
-Highest selected (non-QB) Tiger in the history of the NFL Draft (5th overall)
8 INT* (4 in the red zone)
1 INT TD (an additional 86 yard return vs ULM)
1 FF (vs GATech)
20 PASSES DEFENDED / DEFLECTED
(2nd in tackling during 2009/2010 season)
1 BLOCKED FIELD GOAL TD RET.
2 RETURN TDs (VS West Virginia & UNC)
* phantom INT vs Bama 2009
How can you rank a DB who was hardly tested?
How can we rate someone who had a career-high of only 10 targets and 7 allowed completions?
How can we grade a guy who's most effective games showed him with 0 PD and 1 tackle?
We rank him highly, that's what we do...
Different positions require different things, and just like offensive linemen, the consistency in a primal shut down cornerback's performances coincides with how little we notice them.
All cornerbacks can be fairly judged by one thing above all else, more than INTs, passes deflected/defended: pure targets and yards per catch allowed.
So...when the acne-faced question "Could Patrick Peterson be overrated?" comes up, all we have to do is look at the quarterbacks who wouldn't dare throw anywhere near his direction...quarterbacks replete with fear....all we need to do is focus on how many times he allowed #1 receivers to get the best of him....and I can only count twice in his entire LSU career when a receiver bested him in a duel, and the Tigers still won both contests (Julio Jones for Alabama 2010 after Peterson held him to 3 measly catches the year before, and Jeff Fuller from A&M a few games later in the Cotton Bowl, Patrick's final game).
CFB talk show host / analyst Mark Rogers asked me a few weeks ago, "was Patrick Peterson really that good?"
YES...HE WAS AND IS THAT GOOD.
Without Pat P's ambitious reach for the Heisman in 2010/11, Tyrann Mathieu may never realize his full potential as a playmaker in the same mould....not to mention the litany of recent and current DBs who look up to Pat P's legacy at DBU.
If you subtract Peterson's modern example & establishment of Ultimate DBU principles, maybe guys like Tyrann Mathieu, Mo Claiborne, Tharold Simon, Greedy Williams, Donte Jackson, Tre'Davious White, Kristian Fulton and Derek Stingley Jr are just "some guys" playing defensive back...perhaps the magical aura surrounding #7 wouldn't exist either.
Forever indebted to Peterson's legacy and forthright character, an entire list of current, former and future Tigers have all been taken under the NFL All-Pro's wing:
Whether that be through his mentoring of Derek Stingley Jr (during a time of incredible recruiting hype and pressure), as well as helping to spiritually rehabilitate Tyrann Mathieu...long after the two first shared the field, Peterson was still the older brother Tyrann needed in that crucial moment of his life...we all know what happened after (in no small part to Peterson's influence in Arizona).
While many have said Patrick Peterson is the greatest defensive player to ever step on the field for LSU (Bleacher Report echoed the sentiment), we have to agree and disagree to varying degrees (see what I did there?).
We'll never criticize someone for pursuing the next level and providing for their family, that's the LSU doctrine...but I wanted, I needed, I'd hoped for a senior season in 2011:
Can you just imagine?
Pat on one side, Claiborne on the other as a fixed duo, Eric Reid at safety and Tyrann as a corner/safety hybrid, with Brandon Taylor, Tharold Simon, Craig Loston and Ron Brooks off the bench???
I still wait up nights thinking about the prospects of a Mathieu, Peterson, Reid, Claiborne secondary.....no team would've scored a point...at least through the air.
Out of pure selfishness, we feel Peterson's work wasn't complete at DBU, even in the wake of his reptilian cover skills, beyond thunderdome return capabilities and pure greatness with the ball in the air all leading to his deserved 5th overall selection...yet he deserved to finish as an SEC & National Champion.
We get it....we just wanted more, Pat....can you blame us after what you did to Alabama as a sophomore?
Blocking a field goal & returning a punt for a TD vs West Virginia? The UNC punt return? The 2 picks vs Mississippi State? The blocked field goal he scooped and took to the house vs Ole Miss?
Following his performances vs UNC and West Virginia especially, many wondered if the first defensive player since Charles Woodson would finally win the Heisman....but then Cam Newton happened.
Had #7 returned to school for his final senior campaign in 2011/12, LSU would not only have a 5th National Championship, we'd have a third Heisman winner in Pat P, such was his absolutist prism of power:
Pat tackled with the ferocity of a linebacker, went "full Devin Hester" on the SEC and even Les Miles had the multi-faceted "purple & gold Deion" practice at receiver & running back.
Peterson is a man of much depth and integrity that it's hard to find a weakness within the man...there may be none, but he still struggles like all of us:
Heroically dealing with Type 2 Diabetes, Peterson has spread his wealth to fight the disease....now, #7 begins to signify the inherent contrast within DBU's DNA:
On one side the overwhelming humanity / brotherhood and on the other, a machine-like work ethic harnessing world class abilities....the trials and tribulations saddled next to the triumph....the dirt and grime along with the trophies and back pats...there were times Julio Jones and A.J Green had success against Peterson, but his never-ending genius always remained intact due to the way he'd respond:
Patrick always had another chapter to write, which is why his deserved appearance alongside Tyrann Mathieu in the NFL's All-Decade Team felt like a full circle moment.
Among DBU grads, Peterson's become the primary example of how important a good person's strength can be amidst a dark world....let alone the best pure cornerback in LSU history.
TURNOVER POINTS: 9
TD POINTS: 9
LSU GRADE: 10/10
NFL GRADE: 9/10
COMPOSITE DBU SCORE: 37.0
OUR SCORE: 40.5
51 Games (29 Starts)
16 INTs (77 yard TD return vs Florida 2002)
-A pair of multi-interception games Ole Miss 2003, Florida 2002)
50 PASSES DEFENDED (#1 All Time LSU)
1 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
1 SUGAR BOWL
1 SEC TITLE
2 SUPER BOWLS
2004 FIRST TEAM ALL-SEC
2003-04 JIM THORPE AWARD SEMIFINALIST
-(CAUGHT TD ON OFFENSE IN 2004,
30 YARD RECEPTION TO ALA 1 YARD LINE, 2 CATCHES IN 2002 SUGAR BOWL)
-2nd all time interceptions-leader (16)
(back to back years in 2002, 2003 of 7 interceptions)
Though he started out as a receiver during his freshman year in 2001 (7 catches for 74 yards), the fundamental teachings of Nick Saban and DBs coach Charlie Harbison prepared Corey Webster for his transformation into one of the most complete and underrated DB Godfathers of DBU.
Who could forget his rampant evisceration of Florida in 2002, ripping a hat trick of interceptions off Rex Grossman?
He emasculated Rex on live television, taking advantage of a horrific pass for the 1st, dipping in front of the 2nd as he waltzed into the endzone (supplying LSU with a 10-0 lead, a score which would eventually prove pivotal in changing the game in LSU's favor heavily: 36-7).
This was followed by a record-tying third INT just for good measure, Corey baiting Rex into a throw of vomit-inducing frustration so gross it could only come from Rec Grossman.
Rex looked high, witnessed Webster break up top on the ball, so the future Chicago Bear lumped a shallow pass underneath.....straight into the gut of #13 who'd cheated high and broke low to fool Grossman.
Thank you, more please Rex.
Or what about his tone-setting INT vs Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game? Jason White has never looked so white in all his life:
After a Matt Mauck fumble on the Oklahoma 1 yard line, White's first pass from scrimmage was picked off, Webster jumping in front of receiver Ataleo Ford on the left after a horrifically forced throw by the Heisman-winner...
...5 plays later and LSU seized control with a 7-0 lead they wouldn't relinquish and in a sloppy title game where LSU quarterback Matt Mauck threw 2 interceptions, coughed up the ball on the goal-line (as well as the Tigers having a punt blocked), Webster's pick proved to be the difference.
With consecutive years of 7 INTs (2002/03- 2003/04), Webster's production took a dip in the 2004/05 season following an injury he suffered during the Oregon State opener.
Although his 2 INTs in 2004 saw his rankings and potential to win individual awards vanish, one of those INTs came on the grandest stage (and at the most psychologically important moment to rattle Jason White into oblivion).
Corey will always be in the top 10 of DBU...not merely by reputation or plaudits...but regarding his massive influence on the future of ball-hawking, WR-consuming secondary play at LSU.
Appearing in 48 contests and ranking as the 2nd all time interceptor in Tigers history, Webster reigns as one of the truly singular titans within DBU's storied history.
The man created 2 interceptions, 5 batted passes, 12 tackles, and 2 fumble recoveries as the Giants went from Wild Card underdogs to Super Bowl Champions twice in 4 years, upsetting the undefeated Patriots in 2007.
His historic overtime interception on Brett Favre during the 2007 NFC Championship game was the final pass in Green Bay colors for the Hall of Famer.
Four years later, Webster remained as valuable as ever, posting 11 tackles, 3 PD and creating yet another crucial late-game turnover during a classic overtime NFC title game, this time recovering a 49ers fumble to force the extra quarter.
Believe me, Corey was a powerhouse brickhouse.
TURNOVER POINTS: 20
TITLE POWER: 8
TD POINTS: 2
LSU GRADE: 9.5/10
NFL GRADE: 10/10
COMPOSITE DBU SCORE: 49.5
OUR SCORE: 40.5
1 POINT PER TURNOVER INVOLVEMENT
1 POINT PER BLOCKED PUNT/KICK
1 POINT PER NEW YEAR'S 6 BOWL WIN
1 POINT PER TITLE GAME APP.
1 POINT PER SEC TITLE
2 POINTS PER DEF. TD
2 POINTS PER SPECIAL TEAMS TD
2 POINTS PER NATIONAL TITLE
2 POINTS PER SUPER BOWL
+ LSU GRADE
+ NFL GRADE
= COMPOSITE DBU SCORE
-OUR SCORE CAN OVERRULE