Cornerback Good as Gold (en)

It's quite rare to have a Junior College transfer with four years of eligibility remaining. The Sun Devils were fortunate to find such a rarity to boost their thin cornerbacks depth. Josh Golden, the 5-10 173, redshirt freshman from Grossmont is happy to fulfill his dream.

"I always wanted to play in the Pac-10," says Golden who was also heavily recruited by Washington State. "When I first met the ASU coaches I really liked them. When I came here for a visit, I knew this was the place for me. I like the fact that I'm playing close to home at one of the top teams in the Pac-10." The cornerback has seemed to adjust pretty quickly to Tempe. "It's been a smooth transition. Ofcourse you're playing a higher level with much better players, but when it all comes down to it – it's still just Football."

A typical Junior College transfer usually comes to a four-year school with only two years of eligibility left. As mentioned, Golden remaining four years of eligibility is quite the exception. The cornerback greyshirted his first year at Grossmont. In other words, he enrolled on his own at the institution, and raised his grades to an acceptable level. He received a medical redshirt in his second season, due to a collarbone injury early in the year. Golden was ready to start the season as a starter at Grossmont when ASU and Washington State came calling. "ASU heard about me even though I barely played. Brett Hudson (another JC transfer to ASU from Grossmont) put in a good word for me. We had some film to show ASU, and I guess they liked what they saw."

One fact that surely popped out on Golden's tapes, was his 4.4 speed. "I'm blessed with speed, but playing cornerback isn't just about being fast. You have to get the technique down, and always adjust to what the other team is trying to do. It's not like you can play cornerback if all you have is speed." The redshirt freshman is battling ASU incumbent Lamar Baker for a starting spot. Baker has been hobbled by a hip injury for several months now. Therefore, Golden did get to run at times with the first team in pre-season practices. "We're running neck by neck, and I guess the starting position is up for grabs. Lamar will start against Nebraska, but I know I'm gonna play a lot in that game. I'd like to be the starter, but I know the coaches will start whoever gives them the best chance to win."

While the redshirt freshman is happy to be playing for the Devils this year, he's downright excited to launch his (upper division) College Football career against a highly visible team such as Nebraska. "I can't wait to go out there. They'll be tons of people in the stadium, and lots watching on TV. We don't care if no one gives us chance. It would be nice if we won there and prove everybody wrong…When you step on that Football field, anything can happen." One may think that an opposing cornerback could be bored to tears playing a Huskers team who lives and die by the running game. However, Golden views the situation quite differently. "They may be less of a challenge compared to the Pac-10 teams that throw a lot. But Nebraska can really fool you with the run. They'll run a ton of plays in a row, and then they'll try to surprise you and throw. Usually when they throw it's a big play for a lot of yards. We have to be ready at all times. We (as cornerbacks) can't only be worried about stopping the pass. They're gonna run a lot, and we have to do a good job stopping their run game."

What started as a frustrating College Football career for Josh Golden, is now proceeding on the right track. It's too early to say if the JC transfer will pan out for the Sun Devils, but the early reviews are promising. Bouncing back from a serious injury to play at a high level is a commendable accomplishment. Maybe that ability to dust yourself up after a fall and successfully face your opponents will rub off on an ASU cornerbacks group which took its good share of lumps last season. Nebraska may not be a true test for what seems to be an improved cornerbacks group, but the Pac-10 games later this season will more that answer that question. Something tells us that a 180-degree turnaround in this defensive unit's play will be greatly aided by Josh Golden.

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