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Ranking the Top 12 SuperWest Defensive Backs for 2024

The region's DBs include the most dynamic player in the country and some lockdown defenders

Posted on June 27, 2024


  By Stephen Vilardo, SuperWest Sports

This past offseason saw a lot of change among the secondaries among the 25 SuperWest schools we cover.

But plenty of talent remains, including the most dynamic player in the country and some lockdown defenders.

With that, here is our ranking of the Top 12 DBs in the SuperWest.

Travis Hunter | Colorado Athletics

1. Travis Hunter, Colorado
Travis Hunter is a very good two-way player, but his best plays in 2023 came on the defensive side of the ball.

He will draw the opponents’ best receiving option and has the ability to be a lockdown defender.

Hunter averaged .89 passes defended per game in 2023. As teams shy away from throwing to his side those numbers may drop but he is always a threat to make a play on defense.

A dynamic all-around player, especially on defense.

Tecario Davis | Arizona Athletics

2. Tecario Davis, Arizona
Davis is an elite DB and his 6-foot-4 frame is a huge asset in shutting down opponents. In 2023 he led the Pac-12 with 15 pass breakups and 16 passes defended.

His 1.23 passes defended per game a season ago were the eighth most in the nation.

After entering the portal in the offseason, he chose to remain in Tucson. That was a huge get for the Wildcats and Davis will be a thorn in the side of Big 12 offensive coordinators all season.

Jabbar Muhammad | Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard

3. Jabbar Muhammad, Oregon
Muhammad was a force for Washington last season with three interceptions and 16 passes defended. He was seventh nationally with 1.27 PDs per game in 2023.

The highly sought-after transfer can also make plays in the backfield with a couple of sacks last season and five TFLs.

He is one of a ton of new names in the Oregon secondary, but he will solidify that unit instantly.

Ike Larson | Tyler Tate/AP

4. Ike Larsen, Utah State
Larsen is a do-everything safety with a nose for the football. In 2023 he racked up 109 interception return yards, the 11th most in the nation.

Along with his four interceptions last season, he also concluded his sophomore year with 103 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.

Larson also holds the Utah State record for most blocked kicks in a career with five.

Cameron Oliver | Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

5. Cameron Oliver, UNLV
Oliver’s five interceptions in 2023 were tied for the sixth most in the nation.

His career total of 10 interceptions ranks as the second-most nationally among active FBS players in 2024.

Oliver played a huge role in the turnaround in Vegas last year, and if the Rebels are to stay near the top, they’ll need another stellar season out of the senior.

Jack Howell | Young Kwak/AP

6. Jack Howell, Colorado State
Howell was the heart of the Rams’ defense in 2023. He led the team with 114 tackles, the second most of any Mountain West player.

In 2023 he broke up three passes and added three QB hurries to go along with his interception. He also recorded nine games with at least nine tackles.

In 2024 the Rams will again need him to anchor the back end of the defense and provide big plays.

Shamari Simmons | Ryan Sun/AP

7. Shamari Simmons, Arizona State
Shamari Simmons transferred to Tempe from FCS Austin Peay and proved to be a breakout performer in what was a forgettable season for ASU.

In his first season with the Sun Devils, he was named the team’s MVP.

Simmons is the kind of player Kenny Dillingham and his staff can build around at the back end of the defense. Look for another big season for him with ASU.

Craig Woodson | Darren Yamashita/USA TODAY Sports

8. Craig Woodson, Cal
Woodson has started each of Cal’s last 25 games, the longest active streak of any Golden Bear. Now in his sixth season with the Bears he will look to build off the 2023 season.

Last year, he had a career year with 812 tackles, 3.5 TFL, a couple of forced fumbles, four passes broken up, and an interception.

He was all over the place last season and will be a key cog for the Bears as they move to the ACC.

Avante Dickerson | Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal

9. Avante Dickerson, Utah State
Dickerson is another talented junior in the Aggies defensive backfield. After spending his first two seasons with Oregon, he transferred to Utah State and made a big impact.

This season he should find himself tasked with shutting down the opponent’s best receiver.

He finished his first season in Logan with six passes broken up and should see those numbers go up in 2024 with a more prominent role ahead of him.

Treydan Stukes | Arizona Athletics

10. Treydan Stukes, Arizona
Stukes gives Arizona a pair of players on this list, and needless to say, the secondary should be a strength heading into 2024.

The All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention honoree had 10 passed defended in 2023.

Stukes is good enough that opponents will not be able to avoid Tecario Davis at all times.

Jakob Robinson | BYU Athletics

11. Jakob Robinson, BYU
A Thorpe semifinalist as a junior, Robinson is looking to follow up with a big 2024.

Last season he ended up with 11 passes defended and ranked 19th in the nation with four interceptions.

He excelled in a BYU secondary that was very good in 2023.

Shilo Sanders | Colorado Athletics

12. Shilo Sanders, Colorado
Sanders led Colorado in tackles in 2023. For the Buffaloes to find success in 2024 they would rather their safety not lead the team in that category.

But it is nice to know they count on him to make the plays at the back end of the defense. Not only did Sanders lead CU with 70 tackles but he also tied for the Pac-12 lead with 55 solo stops.

Sanders doubled as a ball hawk. His four fumbles forced were the most in the nation for a DB and he added a pick-six and four passes defended on the year.


Honorable Mention

Marcus Harris, Cal

Marcus Harris was a standout at Idaho and one of the top DBs in the transfer portal last season. He has a nose for the football with 35 career pass breakups and six interceptions with two of them going to paydirt.

Zamaiah Vaughn, Utah

He defended seven passes in 2023 and contributed five TFLs and an interception. The best corner on a Utah team that always has talent in the secondary.

Dontae Manning, Oregon

A mainstay off the bench for the Ducks in 2023, he finished the season with seven passes defended, including his first career interception. This season he should see more production with a more prominent role.

Jaylin Davies, UCLA

Davies had a team-best seven passes defended in 2023 and will need to produce even more this season as the front seven undergoes some changes. If he can be a lock-down defender the Bruins could find success.

Kamari Ramsey, USC

He comes across LA from UCLA and will be asked to step up for the Trojans as they transition to the Big Ten. He had six passes defended for the Bruins last season and made 2.5 stops for a loss as a physical safety.

Devin Kirkwood, UCLA

Kirkwood is due for a breakout season for the Bruins. He has shown flashes throughout his career this could be the season it all comes together for him.




—More from Stephen Vilardo—