South Carolina Football’s GOAT Series: Top-15 greatest cornerbacks of all-time

South Carolina football's Darius Rush was picked in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts but signed with the Kansas City Chiefs after being waived. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football's Darius Rush was picked in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts but signed with the Kansas City Chiefs after being waived. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cornerback has been one of the best positions in South Carolina football history as the Gamecocks have a bit of an underrated argument as “DBU.” There have been long cover corners, quick nickels, and physical tacklers on the outside that have come through Columbia. For the purpose of this list, nickel/slot corners will also be included.

Honorable Mentions

Rick Sanford: Rick Sanford (1975-1978) was a very good corner for the Gamecocks but is also one of the most popular defensive players in school history. He battled injuries for much of his career but still pulled down 8 interceptions. Sanford was strangely chosen as an All-American in 1978 despite missing part of the season. He went on to a 7-year career in the NFL with the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks.

Chris Lammons: A solid player for four seasons in Columbia, Chris Lammons (2014-2017) was moved to safety by Will Muschamp’s staff out of necessity but still found his way back to corner often. He had one of his best moments in 2017 against Tennessee when he moved down from safety to corner for the last play and knocked away a pass in man coverage to preserve the Carolina win.

Harry Skipper: Harry Skipper (1978-1982) started for three years at cornerback and snagged ten career interceptions, with five of them coming in his All-South Independent 1981 junior season. Skipper had a brief NFL career before becoming one of the best defensive backs in the Canadian Football League.

Rashad Fenton: A talented man coverage corner on some subpar defenses, Rashad Fenton (2015-2018) had moments where he was so dominant in coverage that “Fenton Island” became a national taking point. Unfortunately, Fenton was not a very willing tackler and had some inconsistencies in Will Muschamp’s complicated defense, so his potential was never fully realized. He is still in the NFL.

Israel Mukuamu: Maybe the biggest corner to ever wear a Gamecock uniform, Israel Mukuamu (2018-2020) should have been a safety but still had a good career at corner. Mukuamu was excellent in limited zone coverage opportunities, including a 3-pick performance against Georgia in the 2019 Gamecock upset of the ‘Dawgs. Izzy was a good tackler, as well, at one point being voted as the best tackling corner in the SEC. He is now a safety in the NFL.

Victor Hampton: An undersized but fierce competitor, Victor Hampton (2010-2013) played both outside at corner and inside at nickel during his Gamecocks tenure. A “sticky” player in man coverage, Hampton could not be shaken in most man coverage situations but lacked the size and top-end speed to be an elite player. He made an All-SEC team in 2013 but forewent his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. As he went undrafted, the 2014 version of the Gamecocks desperately needed a cornerback, so fans have a complicated relationship with #27.

Lee Wiggins: Lee Wiggins (1992-1996) was a big-play machine in garnet and black. Wiggins played most of his career at corner but did spend some time at safety, primarily in 1995. In his career, the Hartsville native blocked 8 kicks (a Gamecock record) and had two different game-sealing interceptions. He was selected as the Steve Wadiak Team MVP in 1997 and had a brief NFL career before moving across the pond for a stint in NFL Europe.

Jimmy Legree: The most physical corner on teams known for their physical secondaries, Jimmy Legree (2009-2013) began his career as a utility backup all over the secondary but became a starter at corner as a redshirt Junior alongside Victor Hampton. In his two years at corner, Legree racked up over 110 tackles and 6 interceptions as five of his six picks came in big moments during one-possession games.

Frank Adams: Frank Adams (1989-1993) came to South Carolina to play wide receiver but moved to running back and back to wide receiver and back to running back before landing at corner. During the positional shuffling, he was a good kick returner who took a kickoff back for a touchdown. When he finally became the starter at corner, Adams immediately made an All-SEC team, causing Carolina fans to imagine what could have been had he played defense his whole career.

Stoney Woodson: Stoney Woodson (2004-2008) was a solid player for four seasons. Woodson started double-digit games at both corner and safety in his career, but he spent more time at cornerback. Two of his biggest plays came against the Tennessee Vols. As a redshirt freshman, he forced and recovered a fumble in the 2005 upset, and had a big pick-6 as a senior to squash the Vols’ momentum in the Gamecocks’ 2008 victory.