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Hampton University: Christian Angulo asserting himself among top FCS corners

Christian Angulo
Photo Credit: NFL Draft Diamonds

Life is a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. Things don’t always go as planned, which can greatly affect someone’s life path. This hint of reality typically hits late teenagers once they go off to college. Whether it’s being homesick, realizing you picked the wrong major, or struggles to adapt; college life in many cases is the first adversity faced by many in the “real world”.

As the transfer portal has emerged as college football’s free agency, this provides student-athletes with an easy out. Blue-chip quarterback recruits have stolen the spotlight in transfer circles and have even been the subject of controversy. Regardless of which end of the spectrum you favor, there’s no denying the benefits. Allowing a student-athlete to transfer without the consequence of sitting out a season has done wonders for many prospects.

In the case of Christian Angulo, he’s the perfect example of a transfer redemption story. Angulo spent three years at Cincinnati, including a redshirt year. His playing time was scarce which led him to want a fresh start. He landed at Hampton as part of a stacked recruiting class featuring a load of FBS talent. 

Life before Hampton

Hailing from Florida, Angulo was a two-star recruit coming out of high school. He attended East Bay High School where he broke out as a senior. Angulo landed First Team All-Conference, First Team All-County, and First Team All-Area in his final season which ignited his pursuit to Division I football.

Angulo committed to Cincinnati over other FBS schools such as Temple, Toledo and Florida Atlantic. He redshirted his first year then went on to see the field in only eight games through the following two seasons. Angulo cites being treated unfairly at Cincy which ultimately led to his transfer. Based on the lack of field time, it’s fair to say Angulo may have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.

Taking a step down in terms of football divisions may not look the best. However, you have to go where the opportunity lies. Semisonic said it best in Closing Time; every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Good first impression

Some say a first impression lasts forever. For Angulo, on his first defensive snap as a Hampton Pirate, he intercepted a pass. This signaled a sign of things to come. In the ensuing games, Angulo has established himself as a true lockdown corner at the FCS level. He also picked off Caylin Newton in Week 3.

Listed at 6’2”, Angulo’s length is apparent on film. Hampton runs primarily man coverage which plays to his strengths. Angulo is a menace working press. He uses his long arms to jam receivers and keeps them off-kilter working off the line. He does a good job with leverage and maintains control of his man. It’s one thing to beat Angulo off press coverage, but he’s not going to give you free separation.

Thus far Angulo has shown an innate ability to stick to his man and keep on the hip pocket. For a taller corner, his movement skills are impressive as he changes directions efficiently. Angulo hasn’t been tested deep much to start this season. Therefore, there haven’t been many occasions for him to show off his long speed. The 40 can make or break a corner, especially one from a small school. Thus, that’ll be the biggest component of Angulo’s game to keep an eye on moving forward.

Christian Angulo’s pro prospects

As a redshirt junior, Angulo still has another year of eligibility. It’s unlikely for him to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft as that’s a rare action for small schoolers. However, he’s certainly a name to keep an eye on for the following year.

Sub-FBS corners have emerged on day three of the NFL Draft in recent years. They’ve also had a strong presence in postseason All-Star Games, including the storied Senior Bowl. Considering his instant imprint on the 2019 campaign, there’s no telling how high he can rise through the remainder of this season. Plus, he’ll have all of 2020 as well.

The Hampton Pirates haven’t sent a player to the NFL via the draft since 2011. Even with former Florida State Seminole Deondre Francois on the roster, Angulo very well could be the guy to break the trend. He has the size, athleticism, and tenacity which make him an enticing prospect moving forward.

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