Who in the heck is Deshazor "The Razor" Everett? Bama fans are already familiar with the cornerback (and sometimes safety) for the Texas A&M Aggies, as he is one of the chief culprits in Bama's only loss of the 2012 championship season. Though Johnny Manziel and his explosive offense did most of the damage, it was Everett whose game-clinching interception of AJ McCarron in the end zone nixed what would have been the winning drive to preserve Bama's perfect season. (If you don't remember it and you are a masochist, you can see the debacle unfold right here...)
Yep, I had a feeling y'all would remember him.
Things have been up and down for the now-senior defensive back out of DeRidder, LA, as injuries and an aTm defense that often finds itself at the bottom of the conference standings have tarnished what was once a bright future. Regardless, Everett has been a stabilizer on the oft-criticized Aggie defense over the last two years, one of few veterans on a squad that struggles more than it flourishes.
If there's one thing to remember about Everett, it's that he cannot be counted out. After all, had McCarron not counted him out on that final play of the 2012 match-up, Bama could have recorded its second perfect season in four years. (Still hurts, doesn't it?)
Who in the heck is Deshazor Everett?
Everett (who wears #29) is easily the Aggies' most versatile defender in the secondary, having played both corner and safety during his time in College Station. Physically, he falls somewhere between the ideal measurables for either position. At 6' and 193 pounds, he has the size to be an excellent corner, but he lacks the jets to be considered elite at the position. At safety, he's a bit smallish and during his on-again/ off-gain tenure at that position in 2012, he proved to be a something of a liability in run defense.
With a build and skill set similar to former Bama utility defensive back John Fulton, Everett may not be the most physically gifted corner in the SEC (or on the Aggies' roster). However, he is the most veteran player on a defense backfield that lacks veteran players, and head coach Kevin Sumlin and third-year defensive coordinator Mark Snyder count on him (along with returning starting safety Howard Matthews) to sort things out in the defensive backfield while the Aggies' young front seven continue to mature and develop.
Despite his physical liabilities, Everett has been a standout and team leader on a much-maligned defense that is seen as the red-headed stepchild to A&M's high-powered offense. Already in 2014, Everett has been a force on defense, currently leading the Ags with 41 tackles (23 solo, 18 assists) and an interception. Though the opening slate for the Aggies was rather weak, Everett has played well against the toughest teams aTm has played to date (namely, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.)
Everett is a heavy hitter for a cornerback due to his size and a fearless tenacity that is on display here in this clip from the Ags 2013 match-up with Bama. Yes, that's human rhinoceros Eddie Lacy he railroaded, the current Green Bay Packer and former Bama great at running back. Say what you will about Everett (and the fact that should have been called targeting), but he brings a load and hits like a savage.
Though Everett has come full-circle as a senior, he is no newcomer to gridiron success. In 2013, he was fourth on the team in tackles with 73 (36 solo, 37 assists), two interceptions (including one returned for a TD) and a fumble recovery he returned for a score. He also recorded two tackles for loss and seven passes broken up, serving as an active participant in the Aggies' less-than-stellar pass defense.
In 2012, Everett served both as a corner and safety, starting in all but one game (as the result of an injury) for Texas A&M. Again, even as a sophomore and first-time starter, Everett was a force on a less-than-forceful defense, making 56 tackles (31 solo, 25 assists) with two interceptions (one of which was returned for a TD). He also contributed nine PBUs and 3.5 tfls in a 2012 campaign that saw him as one of the heroes of A&M's stunning upset of number one ranked Alabama at Bryant Denny Stadium.
Everett isn't an elite caliber corner, by any stretch of the imagination. Though he was recruited by Arkansas, Ole Miss and Missouri coming out of high school, his measurables gave many of the defensive powerhouses in the SEC some pause with many seeing him as an "in-betweener" or nickel back at best. However, Everett has proven himself a capable and consistent defender for a team that will always take an offense-is-our-best-defense approach under Sumlin.
What to expect from Everett against Alabama
If we know anything about Everett, it's that he is consistent. He isn't an explosive player that opposing offensive coordinators must scheme around. He's not Dee Milliner nor Dre Kirkpatrick. But in the Texas A&M defense, consistency is appreciated. Any good the defense can do is a bonus for a team that prides itself on offensive explosiveness, and Everett has been as steady as can be over his three years as a starter for the Aggies (for both better and worse.)
Alabama's wide receiving corps has elite talent, which is why Everett will likely be victimized routinely against Alabama. That is, if Alabama can pass block well enough to protect quarterback Blake Sims, and if Sims can get back to the form he displayed as a passer prior to the last two contests. Amari Cooper is reportedly dinged up, but even a hampered Cooper should be able to get free with his physicality and quickness against a smaller, slower defensive back like Everett.
Snyder certainly knows that matching Everett (or any other Aggie corner, for that matter) against Cooper in one-on-one situations will be a disaster, so Everett's steadiness will be amplified by what will assuredly be constant help from the safety and/ or nickel DB. Everett won't be called upon to shut Bama's receivers down by himself. But devoting extra defenders to assist Everett in hemming up the likes of Coop and DeAndrew White will likely leave linebackers covering Bama's tailbacks and tight ends. That is a recipe for success for an Alabama offense that has seen its run game inexplicably hit a brick wall in the previous two weeks.
But should Alabama stumble, should Sims be forced to take chances in the passing game because of continued struggles when attempting to run the ball, Everett is the kind of lurker who one just can't count out. He has a habit of snagging interceptions at pivotal moments (as he did in his last visit to BDS), so don't count the crafty veteran out as a defensive play-maker just yet.
While it could be argued that the aTm defense fields more talented defenders at some positions (for example, freshman phenom DE Myles Garrett could easily be the most naturally gifted defender on the squad), none combine the salty veteran presence and skill set possessed by Everett. The Bama offense would do well to take advantage of Everett's shortcomings in pass defense, but they do so knowing that if the plan isn't executed flawlessly, Everett can easily make them pay.