It wasn’t long ago that Delrick Abrams Jr., was a newcomer to the Colorado football team, trying to figure out how to make his way through a bigger school, a new state and a higher level of football.
Now, just a year later, Abrams is being counted on as a leader for the Buffaloes, and the lone senior at cornerback is trying to embrace that.
“It’s just something where I have to step up,” the Louisiana native said. “I have to be a leader and try to set an example. It’s really not a lot of pressure on me.”
It is, however, important for Abrams, known as “Slim” to his teammates, to be at his best and stay healthy because the Buffs come into the season extremely thin on experience at the position.
Abrams (eight starts in 2018) is, by far, the most experienced corner on the team. Junior Mekhi Blackmon and sophomore Chris Miller combined for five starts last year, and the rest of the group is made of up four freshmen. Two of the freshmen – Dylan Thomas and Tarik Luckett – began this month as receivers, and another – D.J. Oats – had never played corner before coming to CU.
Defensive coordinator Tyson Summers likes the talent, but will lean on Abrams as the group develops.
“Delrick Abrams is a guy that has intangibles; toughness and is really driven,” Summers said. “He’s worked extremely, extremely hard to be able to learn and pick up the defense and know the most that he could.”
Hired in December to coordinate the Buffs’ defense, Summers learned quickly that Abrams was driven to succeed.
“Slim is somebody that, first of all, is just an incredible human being; a kid that you love to be around at all times,” Summers said. “He works extremely hard, does extra on the field, does extra coming over with film every night. He came through in the summer and said, ‘Coach do you have any cut up (film) for me?’ He wants to be able to learn from other players, as well. That’s what I’ve learned the most with him.
“He’s shown up with whatever we’ve asked him to do. He’s mentally tough, physically tough and extremely talented.”
Abrams, who played two seasons at Independence (Kan.) Community College, dealt with some injuries in his first season at CU, but said the year was overall a great learning experience.
“The first thing I learned is never get too comfortable,” he said. “Keep working to compete every play and play one play at a time. You’re just playing a lot of talented people, so you can’t think your opponent is not good. Everybody is good, so you have to play one play at a time.”
After learning from former Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre, who was a long-time defensive backs coach, Abrams is now benefiting from a new message. New head coach Mel Tucker is a long-time DB coach, as well, and cornerbacks coach Traveras Tillman played in the NFL.
“Every coach has their own way to coaching,” Abrams said. “You learn all different types of ways. You just have to buy into what coach Tucker says. He’s been in the (NFL) coaching, and Alabama, Georgia. He’s been everywhere, so you listen to what he’s saying. If you listen to him, you’ll be successful.”
Abrams is hoping the rest of the corners get that message, too, because he likes their talent. He especially likes how freshmen KJ Trujillo and Luckett have played in camp.
“They’ve just really improved,” Abrams said. “They’ve showed me some things. I know they’re going to be great. We have some young guys, but I still believe in them and they’re still working.”
So is Abrams, who would love to have a great senior year and set himself up for the future.
“I’m trying to be physical and competing every play, and trying to be a leader,” he said. “I’m trying to set an example.
“Every day I come out I work on my craft.”