We continue our dive into the top 10 college football players returning at every position. This week, we turn our attention to perhaps the most valuable position on the defensive side of the ball: cornerback.
Using a combination of Pro Football Focus grades and PFF's wins above average (WAA) metric, we present the top 10 cornerbacks returning to college football in 2020, as well as a sleeper to watch.
The gap between Stingley and the second cornerback on this list is massive. Stingley shattered PFF records across the board in his 2019 true freshman campaign, notably putting together the most WAA we have ever seen by a non-quarterback in a single season.
Stingley was one of the most battle-tested corners in the entire country a season ago. He saw a whopping 94 targets -- the second-most among cornerbacks -- but he still managed to allow a 38.3% catch rate and produce a 91.9 PFF grade that ranked fifth and first, respectively, among players at his position. He also forced tight coverage on over 75% of his targets -- a figure that leads all returning Power 5 cornerbacks and is over 27 percentage points above the FBS average. On those 71 tight-coverage targets, he allowed just 20 to be caught; he forced 20 of them to fall incomplete and he picked off another six.
Stingley just had one of the best seasons we have ever seen in the PFF College era, and SEC offenses have the pleasure of having to deal with him for another two years.