Vernon Hargreaves III was born in Tampa, Florida. A cornerback for the Florida Gators, he saw significant playing time as a true freshman and was named first team All-SEC at the conclusion of his first season of college football.
During his youth, Hargreaves went to Wharton High School in his hometown, where he established a strong reputation as one of the nation's top recruitment prospects. As a sophomore, he had 44 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks, while in his junior year, he was credited with 49 tackles, two interceptions and 11 offensive touchdowns. Hargreaves then went on to enjoy an excellent season as a senior, recording 110 tackles, five interceptions and five forced fumbles, as well as scoring five touchdowns.
Following his senior year, at the Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards, he was voted as the National Defensive Player of the Year. USA Today named him as a first team All-American and Hargreaves impressed at the Under Armour All-America Game, registering a team-high total of five tackles and receiving the game's MVP award. Having received dozens of offers from colleges around the country, including Miami, Notre Dame and Clemson, he committed to the University of Florida.
After enrolling in the summer of 2013, Hargreaves quickly made his way up the Florida Gators' depth chart and was quickly able to secure playing time as a true freshman, appearing in 12 games in total and starting the final 10 games of the season. In total, he was able to record 38 tackles, 11 pass breakups and three interceptions. He registered nine tackles against Georgia; his highest tally of the season, while his highest number of pass breakups in a single game came against Tennessee. His total of 11 pass breakups for the season tied the Florida school record for a true freshman.
At the conclusion of his freshman year, he was named as a first team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press and the league's coaches, a third team All-American by the Associated Press, a Freshman All-American by Sporting News and was included in the Freshman All-SEC team. In addition, College Football News named Hargreaves as the National Defensive Freshman of the Year.
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