Analysis: Robert Golden

To play in the secondary at Fresno (Calif.) Edison, you not only have to show the ability to play (like at just about every other high school in the country), but you also have to live up to the lofty standards of your predecessors in the Tiger secondary.

Look no further than head coach Tim McDonald, one of Edison's most famous alums, who parlayed a successful career with the Tigers into being an all-American at USC before being a 13-year veteran of the NFL, including six Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl with the 49ers.

It carried on with Ricky Manning Jr. (UCLA), Aaron Miller (Oklahoma/Oregon State), Lorenzo Sims (Colorado), Clifton Smith (Fresno State), Bernard Hicks (Cal), Robert Peele (Cal), Johnny Sears (Michigan), Charles Amadi (Cal) and Courtney Viney (UCLA).

Tony Perry, the longtime Edison defensive backs coach has had his share of prospects sign with D-I programs, and eventually star there. He knows what a good prospect looks like, whether it be a cornerback or a safety. He doesn't give high praise to just anyone. But ask him about Robert Golden and his face lights up.

"I'll tell you this, Robert is as good as any corner I've ever coached," said Perry. "Ricky (Manning) was here working out with us and he kept saying ‘Tony, your boy can play, your boy can cover' and he meant it."

Golden is the premier cornerback in the West. Last year, with Viney getting all of the attention from colleges, but very little of it from opposing quarterbacks, Golden got a chance to see a ton of passes come his way weekly. With teams avoiding Viney, it was Golden's chance to show his own lockdown ability. And he proved it.

When watching Golden, the first thing you notice is just how good he plays when he's manning up. It's his biggest strength, playing man. He's physical (with a body that will only get bigger and stronger), he's confident and he's got good instincts. He's also well coached.

Since the U.S. Army Combine in January, when Golden had his true coming out party, it was obvious he'd been one of the top targets out West. In fact, he told us in an interview the day before the combine began, that Arizona was his dream school. Golden never wavered in that and despite interest from the in-state programs, Golden followed his dream to Tucson.

With Antoine Cason set to play his final year at Arizona, Golden will likely be in the mix for early playing time. Edison players are usually college-ready; it's not unusual for them to play as true freshman (Manning was a Freshman All-American in 1999).

Golden had some questions about his speed, legitimate since he ran a poor time last year at the L.A. Scout Combine and again at the U.S. Army Combine. So he worked on his speed all offseason and clocked a 4.52 last weekend.

He loves to play physically and he's a good tackler. His strengths are noticeable.

Like any player, he does have some areas of improvement. He needs to work on his ability to play in a zone defense, he is best in man, but that's been an area in which Perry is harping on. He's also working to become better in run support.

Golden is fundamentally sound and physically, he's still growing bigger and stronger. And he's got the swagger that makes a cornerback so valuable. He has a short memory and a quiet confidence that will make him successful in Tucson.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories