No matter how highly ranked you are as a prospect, the leap from high school to college football rarely comes easy.
Colorado freshman Cormani McClain, a five-star recruit out of Florida, is an excellent example of that. While many expected him to start cornerback from the get-go this season, he didn’t make his first appearance on defense until Week 4 at Oregon. Head coach Deion Sanders hinted that McClain’s lack of playing time was due to an inadequate level of preparation.
More recently, however, McClain has found his footing and in turn, he earned his second start of the season on Saturday against Arizona.
“He’s been a lot more focused, a lot more understanding of the expectations in what we want from him, that we’ve challenged him tremendously all year long,” Sanders said of McClain after the Arizona game. “He’s stood up to the task over the last probably week and a half. I’m really, really proud of Cormani, I really am. He’s come a long way just to get on the field and stay on the field consistently. And I haven’t watched the film as of yet but what I saw with the naked eye, he played a viable game. With his play, we could have won.”
Another rookie defensive back who has grown this season is Jaden Milliner-Jones. Against Arizona, the DeSoto, Texas safety tied his season-high of three tackles and also recorded his first career pass breakup.
Veteran safety Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig was asked about Milliner-Jones’ development earlier this week:
“He’s grown up,” Silmon-Craig said. “He’s a Prime guy coming up… I’ve seen Jaden around all my life coming up through Prime. When he came here, I tried to put him under my wing and teach him which ways to go and who to hang around and what to pay attention to… He’s just been growing up a lot and understanding what he got to do. He’s going to be amazing. He’s somebody I look forward to. I believe in him so much. If we have to count on Jaden, I can count on him because he’s a young guy, but he has an older mentality. He’s really learning the game and learning how to prepare for it.”