Admit it fans, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they would be trading or releasing Darrell Revis, you kind of became nervous.
You were thinking “Oh here we go again, we finished last in the NFC South last year and now they are releasing our best cornerback”. Then, like when Lloyd acquired that mini-bike in Dumb and Dumber, the Buccaneers totally redeemed themselves.
It’s no doubt that the biggest free agent signing was defensive end Michael Johnson, but one of the bigger signings was Alterraun Verner. The fourth year pro brings a lot to the table for the Bucs, and can easily fill the hole that Revis left on the roster.
How much do we know about Verner though? Yes, he came over from the Titans, but how good was he in Tennessee and what about his days before the NFL? Let’s go a little deeper shall we?
Verner was born in Orange, California on Dec. 13, 1988. He attended Mayfair High School in Lakewood, CA. where he played wide receiver, defensive back, linebacker and special teams. In Verner’s senior year, he recorded 50 receptions for over 900 yards and 13 touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, Verner made over 50 tackles and had four interceptions. Verner earned second-team All-CIF Southern Section honors, and played in the Shrine All-Star Game. Verner was listed as the number 49 cornerback prospect in the nation coming out of high school, and selected UCLA over Boston College, Oregon and Washington.
As a true freshman, Verner finished fourth on the team in tackles with 59, and was third on the team with two interceptions. He led the team in interception yards with 123, and also had two touchdowns. Verner earned the co-Freshman of the Year Award for the Pac-10 Conference, and was selected first-team Freshman All-America by College Football News.
Verner’s sophomore and junior seasons were both very productive as he recorded 70 plus tackles. In his junior year, Verner was named to the second-team All-Pac-10 squad.
In Verner’s senior season, he finished with 72 tackles, 51 of which were solo. He also recorded five interceptions with 158 interception return yards and one touchdown. He also had a defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery.
As for Verner’s time in the NFL, he was selected in the fourth round in 2010 as the 18th cornerback overall. In his rookie season, Verner quickly made a big statement as he recorded 101 combined tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He also had 41 interception return yards.
To date Verner has put up Impressive numbers with 288 combined tackles, eleven career interceptions, five fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, and three career touchdowns all in four years.
Verner might not have a catchy nickname for shutting down wide receivers, but he will be well known in Tampa after the 2014 season. Verner is younger, healthier and just as hungry to get out on the field and make a name for himself. Buccaneer fans will quickly become acquainted with their new cornerback as the Buccaneers fight to take the NFC South crown.
The loss of Revis is not the end of the secondary in Tampa, it is in fact just the opposite. It is the beginning of the Alterraun Verner era, a young player who is just as good as his predecessor.