If you hopped in a time machine and went back to tell your mid-August self that, halfway through the Buffs’ season, neither Travis Hunter, Shilo Sanders, or Cormani McClain would be the most consistently productive player in the secondary, you’d probably watch your mid-August self have a small panic attack.
It was arguably one of the deepest position rooms on the team coming into the season, and certainly the most high-profile: Hunter and McClain’s prospect rankings speak for themself, and while Sanders didn’t come with quite as much recruiting hype, any time you have a DB with that name and number high-stepping down the field in a game, people are going to notice you.
Yet, halfway through the first season of the Prime Era in Boulder, it’s been a different Jackson State transfer who’s shown up week after week: Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig. His three interceptions are not only a team-best, but lead the entire Pac-12. Even then, his season has gone under-the-radar compared to some of his teammates. During Tuesday’s press conference, Coach Prime spoke at length about the type of player Silmon-Craig is and can be.
“Didn’t this guy come from Jackson?” he asked. “Those HBCU guys, they’re not supposed to be able to play at this level, right? And he is balling, man. I mean, I’ve coached him since high school. He’s nothing but a classy individual. Does his school work. ‘Yes, sir, no, sir’ kind of guy. Comes from a great home, a great family. Loves his siblings. He is a good football player and a good person. I’m so proud of him, I don’t know what to do.”
“He’s a dog,” he added. “He’s a go-getter. He don’t play hurt. Life, if he’s hurt, he’s hurt. For real. You have to pull him off the darn field. Always wants to practice. Works his butt off in the weight room as well. Just a great kid. When you say smart, tough, fast, disciplined with character, he’s all of that. He checks every box. And I’m proud of him.”
The good news for Buffs fans is that, according to Prime at least, the secondary’s getting healthy. It sounds like Shilo is close to a return and Hunter may not be far behind. He even mentioned that Myles Slusher – who’s been out since CU’s opening game against TCU — may be close to a return as well. The Buffs will get their guys back. Maybe Silmon-Craig remains the starter, or maybe he rotates more with Sanders and Slusher (and Trevor Woods). But whatever happens, he’s proved that he belongs in this star-studded secondary.