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Delrick Abrams has enjoyed opportunity with CU Buffs

Senior cornerback came to Colorado from small town and JUCO ranks

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Delrick Abrams Jr. and other teammates were lifted up by CU fans during the celebration of the Buffaloes’ 34-31 OT win against Nebraska on Sept. 7 at Folsom Field in Boulder.

Walking through the spectacular Colorado football facilities every day and getting the opportunity to play in front of nearly 50,000 fans at Folsom Field during the fall, Delrick Abrams Jr. is sometimes in awe of how far he’s come in the last few years.

“It did blow me away,” the Colorado senior said of his first impression of CU when he arrived as a junior college transfer in January of 2018. “I just learned how to never take it for granted, because it could always get taken away from me. Just enjoy it while you’re here: the facility, the coaching staff. Just enjoy everything.”

Cliff Grassmick/Daily Camera
Colorado’s Carson Wells, left, and Delrick Abrams, celebrate a defensive play by Abrams during a win against Arizona State in 2018.

Abrams is one of 17 seniors who will suit up for the final time at Folsom Field on Saturday when the Buffaloes (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) host Washington (6-4, 3-4) at 8:10 p.m. (TV: ESPN).

Four years ago, Abrams was wrapping up his senior season at Varnado High School in Angie, a village in northeast Louisiana with a population of 249, according to the 2017 census.

Abrams then spent two seasons at Independence Community College in southeast Kansas.

During his two seasons at CU, Abrams has never forgotten his journey; in fact, he’s used it as fuel.

“Me coming from a smaller town and then JUCO, I always try to stay humble and focus on trying to win every game,” he said. “It’s driving me every day. My mom (Earnestine) calls me probably three or four times a day and I talk to her every time I get a chance. I’ve been grinding even harder for her, just to get her out of the situation we’re in back in Louisiana and keep trying to go forward.”

Earnestine saw her son play a college game for the first time last year, when the Buffs’ defeated UCLA, 38-16, at Folsom Field. She couldn’t afford to make the trip to Independence during his two years there, but, with the support of family friends in Louisiana, made the trek to Boulder.

Abrams hasn’t made the trip back to Angie very often, either, but was home in May and soaked in the opportunity.

Photo from Delrick Abrams' Twitter
Colorado cornerback Delrick Abrams Jr. and his mother, Earnestine, after a game against UCLA in 2018.

“It’s always nice to go home,” he said. “You always catch up with family. Life here is really short, so you’ve got to enjoy your family while you can. I love to go home and be around that environment. It pushes me even harder because of the situation I’m in. It’s more motivation for me.

“I spent time with them as much as I can: my grandma, my pops, all my family.”

Abrams is Earnestine’s only child and he’s been a family success story, not only graduating from high school from nearing graduation from CU. He is slated to get his degree in ethnic studies in May.

During the past year, Abrams, known as “Slim,” has made a good impression on CU’s first-year head coach, Mel Tucker.

“He’s a special guy and he’s had an interesting journey to get to this point,” Tucker said. “What I know about Slim is that he’s a high character guy. He’s a really good teammate. He’s very coachable. He loves football and he’s very driven to succeed. He’s going to be successful in anything that he decides that he wants to do, and I’ve really enjoyed coaching Slim and being a part of his career.”

At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Abrams has the frame to get an opportunity in the NFL, and he’s put himself in position to do that by his play at CU. This season, he’s recorded 39 tackles and six pass breakups while showing more consistency in coverage than a year ago.

“That’s my goal every time I get on the field: I’m trying to be consistent and take one play at a time,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got more knowledge of the game (than last year). Anyone can just go out there and play football, but really knowing the game and trying to know the scheme better and trying to help people better.”

Abrams said he hasn’t thought about the NFL this season, but believes he could be in position to get a chance.

“But, it’s only up to God,” he said. “I’m trying to do what I need to do and leave it in His hands. I’ve just been thinking about trying to win games and leave a legacy here.”

Abrams has already left a legacy at home, as he tries to set a good example for his cousins and friends.

“I just try to tell people that are not playing football, you can still make it out if you get a successful job,” he said. “I always try to be positive, no matter what happens.”