Iron sharpens iron – Sterns getting early start as star on Texas D

Freshman DB Caden Sterns made an enormous stop at the goal line in the win over USC. (Photo by Don Bender)

Iron sharpens Iron

Sterns getting early start as a star on Texas D


By Steve Habel, Senior Contributing Writer

Texas freshman safety Caden Sterns has been earmarked for stardom since before he stepped foot on the Forty Acres in January.

Already, he’s begun living up to those expectations, having huge roles in the Longhorns’ back-to-back wins over Tulsa and Southern California the past two weeks.

The sky is the limit for Sterns, who in the season-opener against Maryland became the first defensive back to start his first game as a true freshman for Texas since Blake Gideon made his first start in 2008.

Sterns, who’s started all three of the Longhorns’ games this year at the “joker” safety spot, may be youthful in age, but he’s got instinct and moxie in spades, plus he’s fearless. Three traits that make or break great secondary players.

“There’s a lot of thinking back there at that position, and just a lot of communication,” Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando said. “When you’re a young guy coming into it — especially with vets that have played in the system — you can be a little hesitant.

"But Caden came right in and took over.”

Early Enrollee Impacting the Scene

Hailing from Cibolo Steele, Sterns came to the Longhorns as a consensus five-star prospect and as the No. 1-ranked prospect in the state of Texas. [place_ad_1]

Eager to make an impression as soon as possible, was an early enrollee and participated in the Longhorns’ spring drills, a move that accelerated his jump into the starting lineup.

“All the dudes that came in early weren’t really into the stars, we weren’t into the lights and stuff like that,” Sterns said. “Once you get to college, none of that matters. (It’s) just like re-starting all over again. We just came in wanting to work and try to make an impact early.”

Sterns made the play of the game versus USC, bursting through the line to block a 50-yard field goal attempt. With the ball bouncing around Anthony Wheeler scooped it up and ran it back for a touchdown.

There was more impact from Sterns, as he had a huge stop on 3rd-and-Goal, setting up a goal-line stand by the Longhorns that literally halted the Trojans in their tracks.

The freshman finished the game with two tackles, and nearly added an interception, as he’s showing was much more impressive than just his statistics.

Culture Changing Freshmen

His highlight-reel performance against the Trojans came after a similar effort in week 2 versus Tulsa, when Stern intercepted a pass on the Golden Hurricane’s first play from scrimmage.

Asked after the win over USC if he has the mindset that he’s the best player on the field, Sterns smiled and shook his head.

“You have to have that mentality, and we all do,” Sterns said. “Iron sharpens iron – we all make each other better.”

The incoming crew along with Sterns are already making plenty of noise, including wide receiver Joshua Moore (who had a 27-yard TD catch), running back Keaontay Ingram, and safety BJ Foster — who delivered a knee-knocking hit to a USC receiver that sent his mouth guard flying.

“We came in here with the challenge of making an impact on the team and helping to change the culture,” Sterns said. “We came in here for a reason, and we are not going to mess around. All our class works hard to make each other better and our teammates better.”

Steve Habel

Steve Habel is a senior contributing writer for Horns Illustrated. He has covered Texas sports since 1989 and was this magazine’s senior editor for 24 years. You can follow him on twitter @stevehabel .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *