Q&A with Saint Thomas Aquinas CB duo
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The No. 1 prep program in the country has a lot of strengths on paper, but Saint Thomas Aquinas' defensive backfield is by far the most talented component of this year's squad. Under Armour All-Americans Lamarcus Joyner and Cody Riggs are the No. 1 and No. 7 ranked cornerbacks in the ESPNU 150.
Their styles are contrasting, yet complementary. Even off the field their personalities differ. Joyner is confident and charismatic, while Riggs is reserved and low key. We had a chance to sit with two of the most coveted defensive backs in the country and discuss what makes them so different, but also so great.
Tell me your best attributes as a cornerback or as a football player in general?
Riggs: "I would say my intelligence. I never get fooled twice on the same play. You got to know the down and distance and before the snap of the ball I usually know what route is coming and make a lot of plays knowing that."
Joyner: "I think just being able to change my technique up on good receivers and being smart because talent will only take you so far. Plus, being able to read the wide receiver's hips and eyes and just knowing the situation."
What areas do you need to continue working on for the college level?
Riggs: "I just want to get a little bigger before I get to college. I also want to keep my speed and quickness up by running track."
Joyner: "I like to gamble a lot, thinking that I always know what the receiver is going to do, so I'd like to not always play off my talent and play more fundamentally sound."
Is there an NFL or college corner you model your game after or like to watch?
Riggs: "I like watching Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie [Arizona Cardinals]. He reminds me of myself. He's smaller but a lot faster than everybody else. He's young and will make some mistakes, but makes up for it with a big play or interception."
Joyner: "I don't really like watching corners. I like watching guys like Ray Lewis and players who are ball hawks."
What's the best advice you have received to excel at the position?
Riggs: "You got to have a short memory."
Joyner: "Never stop learning."
What has it been like to play with another national ranked corner? How do you guys complement each other?
Riggs: "It's a lot of fun. In the beginning we were kind of feeling each other out, but now we are good friends. He's always looking for the big hit and I always look for the interception."
Joyner: Its fun. I have never played with someone recruited that high. If I make mistakes -- like I said I gamble a lot -- he's there to cover me. He'll tell me my weaknesses and at first I couldn't accept it being coached by someone in the same age group."
Tell me each other's strengths as a defensive back?
Riggs: "Aggressiveness and speed; he is not afraid to hit anybody."
Joyner: "I can tell you one thing; he's way smarter than me. He uses his skills in the classroom and studies the game more than me."
How do your styles differ?
Riggs: "He likes to have his hands on receivers and play more aggressive. I like to play off and break on the ball."
Joyner: "He's more of the mental guy. I'm more of 'Hey, God gave it to me so let's just go work with it.'"
A little fun here, how would you attack each other as a receiver?
Riggs: "I'd give Lamarcus a lot of moves off the line because he's got long arms, so you have to get him off balance."
Joyner: "Oh man, since I know he studies so much, I got to use my whole gameplan going up against Cody. I got to use my playbook and get a little physical with him."
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school level.