A Two-Track Mind

While most 20-year-olds are out enjoying the summer and having a good time with their friends, Andre Saulsberry only has time for two things and messing around is not one of them. With less than three months before fall camp starts, the JC cornerback transfer spends all of his time hitting the books and the weights.

Riverside Community College cornerback Andre Saulsberry signed with BYU in February because he knew he could come in and fill an immediate need. The Cougars hope Saulsberry can help cure whatever ails the BYU secondary when he reports to Provo on August 1st. Until that day, Saulsberry is working hard to ensure that he can come in and contribute right away.

"I only do three things these days, I go to class, study and I work out," said Saulsberry. "It's not fun, but it's what I got to do, so I'm fine with it."

Saulsberry's efforts in the classroom will soon be rewarded when he graduates with an associate's degree from Riverside. He is also working out hard so he can be a physical presence in BYU's defensive backfield.

"It's all about being physically ready to compete at a Division I level," said the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Saulsberry. "It's about working on everything. I have a workout program that I follow as closely as possible, and I don't go away from it."

Saulsberry's workout regimen requires about two hours of lifting a day. He also incorporates cardiovascular work and other exercises to increase his speed, which Saulsberry knows will be of great import to his success at BYU.

"Speed is what it's about at cornerback, and I have good 4.4 speed, but you always need to work on that," said Saulsberry. "If I can get faster, then that's all to my advantage. BYU needs me to be fast and that's what I'm all about."

Saulsberry expects to weigh in at 180 pounds come August. Adding weight is not his biggest concern, however.

"You want to be strong, but I ain't no lineman," said Saulsberry with a laugh. "I'm a cornerback, so being strong isn't the most important thing, speed and agility are. You want to be able to tackle and hit guys, which I feel I do very well. BYU didn't offer me a scholarship based on how much I can squat or bench press."

Tackling opposing players in the open field did not come easy for Saulsberry. He was a very late bloomer in regards to filling out physically. He played high school football at around 5-foot-6 and 145 pounds.

"I had to learn good technique, and I had to learn to have no fear to tackle guys at that weight," said Saulsberry. "I held my own. It wasn't easy, but I learned to be tough and just gave it all I had because I didn't have as much physically."

Now that he is fully grown into his nearly six-foot frame, Saulsberry still has his speed and his toughness.

"It's a lot easier now that I'm bigger," he said. "I'm still as fast, but I'm much more able to hit guys and not let them get past me. I feel that I can tackle as well as anyone in the open field. I have good technique, and I don't give up. I've learned to have no fear."

Tackling and taking down runners in the open field is not even half of the battle for good Division I cornerbacks. First and foremost, they must have superb coverage skills.

"I'm a shutdown corner," said Saulsberry. "I'm the type of corner that quarterbacks avoid because I can shut down one side of the field. I did that at Riverside and I'm going to do whatever I can to do the same thing in Provo.

"From day one I'm going to work as hard as I can and do whatever necessary to be successful not only on the football field, but in the classroom and with everything I do. I'm someone who knows that this is a great opportunity for me, and I won't let anyone down. I've come this far because of hard work and I'll go that much farther because of hard work. That's what I'm all about."

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