Transfer report: How cornerback Jeremy Webb can make an impact in KU's secondary
The transfer portal helped the Kansas football program land an important addition to its secondary this past weekend when cornerback Jeremy Webb announced his decision to come to Lawrence.
Webb was most recently a starting cornerback at Missouri State after being a reserve defensive back at Virginia Tech for multiple years. He entered his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal as a graduate transfer in early June before deciding the University of Kansas was where he wanted to conclude his collegiate career.
With the Jayhawks losing starter Karon Prunty to the transfer portal earlier this offseason, Webb figures to come in and immediately compete for a big role on this year’s team under the new coaching staff.
Because of that, here is a breakdown on what Webb has to offer to KU:
Key stats: Webb’s best production came in his lone season with Missouri State. He started in all but one of the 10 games he played in. Webb recorded three interceptions and earned six pass breakups to go along with 38 total tackles.
Body type/athletic ability: At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Webb has a big frame for a cornerback. His frame is more than just length, though, as Webb has thick arms and a big chest. Webb’s stature plays into how he succeeds in pass coverage.
Strengths: Physical style of play and tackling
It should be no surprise that Webb wins with physicality.
Put on any of his tape, it will be obvious that Webb wants to rely on his combination of length and strength in pass coverage. Webb is constantly using his hands to disrupt receivers, forcing them off the stem of their route. Webb is good when in press coverage situations because of that style of play.
The hand usage doesn’t stop near the line of scrimmage, however. Webb maintains that physical play even when the ball is heading his way, while also showing the ability to make a play on the ball at the right time. Webb was only called for four penalties last year, two of which happened in the conference championship.
Webb’s competitive toughness and play strength are especially evident in the run game. He is not afraid to make a play on a ball carrier in space, and rarely misses when given the opportunity to do so.
According to NCAA Premium Stats at Pro Football Focus, Webb posted a tackling grade of 79.2 last season for the Bears. He recorded a mark of 74.2 or higher in all but three games. Because of his ability to have leverage at the point of attack, Webb only missed three tackles all year.
One reason for concern: Play speed
The tape might be limited on Webb, but his style of play would suggest that speedy receivers could occasionally get behind him on deeper routes.
Per NFLDraftScout, Webb’s unofficial 40 time is listed at 4.67. The Big 12 Conference features plenty of talented wide receivers, some of which rely solely on their speed. Webb might not be able to run with every opponent on deep routes, especially when starting near the line of scrimmage.
That might end up being fine though. His hand usage can overcome some of that, limiting any potential separation between him and the receiver. Webb demonstrated this while breaking up a pass against Oklahoma in the season opener, making a play on an underthrown ball on 3rd and 15.
Overall thoughts and projection: It seems unlikely that KU’s new coaching staff would bring Webb in for one year just to have him play a small role.
So given that the cornerback room is thin, Webb will likely make an instant impact and compete for a starting job this season. And there is honestly reason to believe that Webb is finally putting it all together at this stage of his collegiate career.
Last season, Webb finished with a coverage grade of 76.0 via PFF. He was targeted 58 times, giving up 35 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns. Webb allowed a NFL passer rating of 76.7 while playing 617 total snaps.
Webb will now have to build off that year against even tougher competition.