CU Buffs’ Christian Gonzalez jumping into leadership role with cornerbacks – The Denver PostAugust 15, 2021
BOULDER — Christian Gonzalez has been known for being a quiet, shy guy.
During his freshman season at Colorado a year ago, Gonzalez watched, listened and learned from his teammates as he earned more and more playing time. Now, as a sophomore, he’s growing out of his shy image and ascending into a leadership position.
In Colorado’s shortened six-game season last year, the true freshman cornerback recorded 24 tackles and four pass break-ups. As a sophomore he appears to have a veteran’s confidence.
“Over camp and last spring I felt like I stepped into a leadership role in the corner room, especially with me and Mekhi (Blackmon) leading the pack,” he said. “Even though I’m still young, I have playing experience and being able to step into a leadership role definitely helps me more, too.”
The six-foot-2, 200-pounder was ranked as a four-star prospect at The Colony (TX) in the class of 2020. In the pre-fall depth chart Gonzalez was listed as the top left cornerback ahead of Nigel Bethel and Kyle Scofield.
As a freshman he embraced the speedier college-level game, learned not to just watch film but know what to look for, and overall, knew to make his chances count. This year, he wants to pass down what he experienced making the jump from high school to college football to the younger cornerbacks.
“What I’ve been preaching to the young corners is that you can’t just rely on your athletic ability at the college level because everybody’s just as good as you, if not better,” he said. “You can’t get away with things like you would in high school.”
First-year defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said returning players such as Gonzalez are “progressing fairly well.” Wilson was promoted from defensive line coach in January.
“What’s really been an exciting part is the development of guys like Christian, and watching their growth has really been the key to this team growing,” Wilson said.
Blackmon said, “His confidence has gone up so much. You can tell he started to get more comfortable with the system. He looked up to me a lot last year for confidence and it’s built him up, too.”
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