The news of former South Carolina corner back Ahmad Christian transferring to Utah spread like wildfire today, as the Utes thin secondary gained a very talented player that could possibly contribute right away. While it's still unclear as to whether or not Christian will be eligible to play in 2014, he is bringing something that the Utes can't get enough of, speed and athleticism.
Christian signed with South Carolina as a part of the 2011 recruiting class, and was rated a three star corner back by Scout. Christian played at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was a standout two sport athlete, playing football and baseball. During his senior season at Trinity, he put up fantastic numbers as both a running back and defensive back, as he rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 16 TD's, and also had 64 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on defense. At 5'10-190lbs, Christian has average size for a corner back, but his speed is what makes him a great player. Christian has routinely been timed in the mid 4.4's when running a 40 yard dash, and will only add to the influx of speed that Utah continues to bring in.
(Christian's HS Highlights)
After redshirting his first year at South Carolina, Christian played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman, and logged eight tackles and two pass break ups, while playing mostly on special teams. During the 2013 season, Christian saw a lot more action as a redshirt sophomore. He again played in all 12 games, but also got his first career start against Georgia in the second week of the season. While he didn't credit another start to his name the rest of the season, Christian was routinely on the field, playing both nickel back and corner back for the Gamecocks, as he finished the season with 18 tackles, 2 pass break ups and a forced fumble.
So why is it significant, that a corner back with 26 career tackles in 24 games is transferring to Utah? It's significant because it's another step towards Utahbecoming an overall better team, filled with faster, more athletic players. South Carolina's defensive backfield was depleted at the end of the 2013 season, and Christian was almost guaranteed to be a starter for them. For Utah to gain a potential starter from the SEC, which arguably has the best players in the entire country, is a huge plus, and it's even more significant in the fact that Utah has some big question marks in the secondary for the 2014 season and beyond. Christian won't only make his mark on the defense though, as he will also be a big factor on special teams. He was a dynamic running back, punt returner and kick returner in high school, so he will almost certainly be in the conversation to handle punt and kick return duties.
While it's no guarantee that he'll even be eligible to play in 2014, the fact that Utah has gained another potential starter at corner back can only be looked at as a positive. Plain and simple, the Utah football program got better today, and that's all you can ask for.
Player Evaluation: CB Ahmad Christian
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