Inside The Numbers: Chamarri Conner Having All-ACC Season

Chamarri Conner Virginia Tech
Chamarri Conner is having a breakout season, and he’s only a sophomore. (Jon Fleming)

Chamarri Conner is having a great season.  Your eyes have told you that already, and now I’ll hit you with some PFF (Pro Football Focus) stats to prove it.

Conner plays whip for Tech.  PFF considers that to be a nickel-corner position, so they list him as a cornerback, though I’d personally list him as a safety.  That’s fine.  I can compare him to other ACC players at both positions, and I’ll even throw in linebacker for good measure since sometimes he lines up as an OLB.

The ratings for players with 100+ snaps on the season:

Conner as a Cornerback: No. 2 rated player in the ACC, behind only Dane Jackson of Pitt.  For what it’s worth, Jermaine Waller is the No. 4 rated corner in the ACC, with Caleb Farley at No. 11.

Conner as a Safety: If Conner were considered a safety, he would be the No. 2 rated safety in the ACC, behind only Clemson’s Tanner Muse (Muse was a mid-level 3-star recruit, by the way…Clemson doesn’t just “recruit.”  They also evaluate well and develop talent.)

Conner as a LB: If Conner were considered a linebacker, he would be the No. 2 rated linebacker in the ACC, behind only Justin Strnad of Wake Forest.

That’s just insane.  Overall, he has the 10th-best grade of any defensive player in the ACC this season. There are lots of defensive linemen with high ratings (and conversely, lots of offensive linemen with bad ratings).

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I thought Conner was going to be a big upgrade over Khalil Ladler, but I did wonder how he would hold up in coverage on the wide side of the field against slot receivers.  Here’s my answer…

2019 Chamarri Conner: 81.4 coverage rating, 11-of-22 passes completed (50%), 102 yards, 9.3 yards per catch, 20 yards after the catch.

Conner has the 7th-best coverage