Change is common.
Worn down by chasing wide receivers all over the field, cornerbacks will often make the switch to safety, relieving themselves of the pressure of playing man-to-man defense and instead focus on playing centerfield, where they can snag interceptions or lay our punishing hits on unsuspecting foes.
Now, the change from safety to cornerback — that’s a whole other story.
But for City College of San Francisco sophomore cornerback De’Shon Sanders, that unusual move may have been the most important one of his career.
After starring at safety for Hobbs High School in New Mexico, Sanders entered CCSF as a powerful hitter in the secondary. But what really caught Rams coach George Rush’s eye were his solid coverage skills.
"We would watch him in drills and we was clearly one of our top coverage guys," Rush said. "We thought the natural progression would be to move him to the outside, where we would have a big, physical back who could also lock down receivers."
The transition has changed Sanders from a capable safety with a nominal build for his position to a bruising cornerback with a rare combination of size, (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), speed (4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and excellent cover skills — making him all the more attractive to Division I squads.
"Coming to CCSF was definitely the best decision I’ve ever made," said Sanders, who has 28 tackles and two interceptions this season. "Coach Rush has helped me out so much by moving me to cornerback. It was definitely a big change from focusing on the whole field to being the man out on an island, covering just one guy, but being able to make that move has helped me out a lot concerning my future."
Sanders has been heavily recruited by a number of D-I teams, including Missouri, Minnesota and Texas Tech. Yet, despite the big time pressures that accompany playing at those schools, he feels comfortable making the move up because of his experiences playing at CCSF.
"A lot of these guys I’m matched up with now will be playing Division I next year," said Sanders. "They have just straight-up speed that I didn’t see in high school, so it has made be a lot better player by defending them for the last two years."
After suffering their first loss of the season last week in a heartbreaking 35-34 loss to Santa Rosa Junior College, Sanders and his Rams’ teammates will be looking to end the year on a high point Saturday when they host Butte College.
"If we win this weekend against Butte than we win our conference, which was one of our main goals," said Sanders. "We just have to put the loss behind us and look to the future."
When talking about the future, Sanders certainly has much to look forward to.
"De’Shon definitely has bright future," Rush said. "He is a great athlete, but he’s also got great personal characteristics, which makes him such a wonderful competitor and teammate."