LARAMIE, Wyo. — Wyoming coach Craig Bohl believes C.J. Coldon has a high ceiling. At 6-foot-1, he needs it.
The true freshman cornerback brings size to the position that Wyoming hasn’t enjoyed in recent years.
“When you have a guy that’s 6-foot-1 that’s athletic that can run really fast, that’s typically been a good basketball player — a lot of times that’s a sign of a good corner,” Bohl said. “The last guy we had that I was coaching like that was at NDSU. Marcus Williams. He (now) starts for the New York Jets. Was a really good basketball player. Just wasn’t good enough to shoot.”
Coldon was a standout in football and basketball at Althoff Catholic (Illinois) High School and earned a three-star rating from Rivals and Scout. Despite being part of a cornerback group that has four other players in the mix to start, Coldon has made a strong enough first impression that Bohl said Wyoming was looking at using him this season.
“He’s been coming along pretty good just because he’s got length,” senior cornerback Robert Priester said. “He fits the actual corner spot, and it’s actually working out pretty well for him, because he’s alert to a lot of things.”
Priester, Antonio Hull and Tyler Hall top the depth chart at the position with Rico Gafford the top backup to Hall. Priester is 5-9, Hall is 5-10, Gafford is 5-11, and Hull is 5-10.
“I use my height and my long arms on anybody, really,” Coldon said. “It’s just I have to be there and be patient at the line when I’m in (man-to-man coverage). So that’s pretty much what it is. I just use my arms once I’m patient. I just can’t lunge out there.”
Coldon hopes to see the field as a true freshman.
“That’s my goal,” he told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2wv8Myp). “I want to play this year and be in the best spot that the coaches put me in so I can make plays for the team.”
The amount of experience at the cornerback position, however, could make it a challenge for Coldon.
“It’s very tough, because it’s four vets, really,” the freshman said. “Four vets, those guys have been playing for a couple of years now and they know what to do when they get out there, and they understand more, and they know what to expect out of different guys and they know all their techniques and stuff. So it’s kind of hard beating them out, but I’m going to still compete every day.”
The depth also means Coldon has no shortage of mentors.
“Rob and Rico, those are the guys that are really helping me out, because they’ve been here the longest, and they know a lot,” Coldon said. “So those two guys are a really big help, and Noodles (Hull) and Tyler come in and help when those guys can’t help.”
The group of true freshmen expected to contribute this season has swelled throughout camp. Already, Bohl has said he expects defensive tackle Ravontae Holt and receivers Avante’ Cox and Jared Scott to play this year, and Torrington grad Logan Harris is listed to start at center.
Cox and Scott, like Coldon, are both Illinois recruits. Coldon faced Cox in a high school game.
“I know what type of receiver Avante’ is,” Coldon said. “Quick guy. And creative, too, in open field. So it was fun playing against him and finally getting to be on the same team as him, because he’s really an impact player. So I like that, being on the same team as him.”
Scott and Coldon didn’t play one another in high school, but both excelled in basketball and bring height to their position groups at Wyoming. Scott is 6-6, the tallest of Wyoming’s receivers.
“Going up against Jared Scott, it’s really like an even match,” Coldon said.
The two have yet to go up for a jump ball in practice, Coldon said.
“But if (there is one),” he said, “I’m going to go up there and compete with him.”
Unlike many recent Wyoming cornerbacks, he’d have a shot at it.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com