The ink was barely dry on Josh Wiggins’ national letter of intent last month when he learned that the man who recruited him wouldn’t coach him.
Despite cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin leaving Colorado for Oregon, Wiggins can’t wait to get started on his journey with the Buffaloes.
“I was like, ‘Aww, man,’” Wiggins said of his reaction to Martin’s departure, “but CU is where I want to be and I’m ready to get down and get to work and get ready for this new football season coming up. I’m ready to show everybody what I can do.
“I’m just ready to get to work. Whoever is there, that’s who I’m gonna be with and learn from the people who are there; make sure I take in everything they teach me.”
Although disappointed by Martin’s departure, Wiggins was pleasantly surprised to hear the Buffs replaced Martin with former Oregon cornerbacks coach Rod Chance.
“I actually knew coach Chance, so that was good that they got him,” Wiggins said. “I actually knew him and I’ve talked to him before. So yeah, that was a good person to pick up.”
Wiggins won’t have to wait long to work with Chance.
A 6-foot-1, 180-pound cornerback from Klein Oak High School in Spring, Texas, Wiggins was one of six prep players signed by CU in December to enroll this month. He began classes this week after graduating from high school early.
“I always said I was gonna go to college and start everything early, get a head start and get ready for football so I could do spring ball early and everything.,” he said.
While Wiggins had his mind made up long ago to enroll early, that decision is proving to be even more valuable for him and the Buffs.
Both of CU’s starting cornerbacks from the past two years, Mekhi Blackmon and Christian Gonzalez, have entered the NCAA transfer portal (Gonzalez has committed to Oregon), leaving the competition for starting jobs wide open.
Juniors Nigel Bethel and Jaylen Striker are back, but both were injured last year and it’s unclear if they’ll be ready to compete in the spring. True sophomores Kaylin Moore, Nikko Reed and Tyrin Taylor (who also plays safety) are back, as well.
Wiggins will join them on the field this spring. Two other freshmen, Simeon Harris and Keyshon Mills, are set to join the Buffs in the summer.
“I love competing so I’m ready to try to compete for a starting spot,” said Wiggins, a three-star prospect coming out of Klein Oak. “I’m ready to get down there and show everybody what I could do and show everybody that CU is my home and I’m ready to get there.”
During his time in high school, Wiggins became a lockdown corner was named 1st-team All-District. He also gained the confidence that he believes is needed by all cornerbacks.
“Corner is one of the hardest positions on the field but when you’re confident in what you’re doing, you won’t be afraid of your competition, you won’t be afraid of who you’re in front of,” he said. “You’ve always got to be confident because the person in front of you might be bigger than you or something but that confidence will go a long way.
“I’ve always been confident in everything I do because if you let somebody take your confidence away, then you’ll always be down. I always believe in everything I do and make sure I always bring that swagger so that everybody can feel me and see what I’m really about and see that I love the work, I love to compete.”
Whether or not Wiggins wins a starting job remains to be seen, but he’s excited about the fact that CU has shown it will play freshmen. Gonzalez was a starter from Day 1 as a true freshman in 2020, while Moore, Reed and Taylor all got quality playing time this past season.
“I’m excited because that shows that whoever is prepared to get out there that’s who is going to be out there,” Wiggins said. “I’m going to make sure I’m prepared so that when the opportunity comes I’m always ready.”