Written By: Cayden Steele
Being awarded a single-digit number is considered one of the greatest honors for the Temple program. The tradition started in 2009 with former head coach Al Golden, the toughest players on the team are chosen for this award. Many all-time great Temple players have worn a single-digit, including Tyler Matakevich and P.J. Walker.
Redshirt junior cornerback Christian Braswell was awarded the No. 2 jersey this summer and, obviously, being awarded that number was a huge honor to him.
“It was crazy, that whole day was just amazing,” Braswell said. “Being in that category with those people that got single-digits is crazy because that’s something that lives forever. That’s something I can tell my kids one day.”
Braswell is entering his second-year as the full-time starter at cornerback, last season his first start came against Maryland. Braswell stepped up in big moments throughout the season, he recorded a single-game career-high of three pass breakups against Southern Methodist and forced a fumble against South Florida.
Braswell’s performances received the notice of the national media, he earned preseason All-American Athletic Conference honors for the upcoming 2020 season. Braswell’s impact has not only been noticed by media members, his intangibles and leadership made him an easy choice for coaches to award him a single-digit number.
“ The biggest progression that I’ve seen from him from last year to this year is just his leadership ability,” cornerbacks coach Melvin Rice said. “ He’s a single-digit for a reason and he knows the responsibility that comes with being a single- digit.”
The best cornerbacks don’t lack confidence, an inner-swagger is something they all possess. Being on the outside covering the best wide receivers in college football is a difficult task for most starting cornerbacks at the FBS level, but Braswell has the experience and confidence to match up with anyone.
“When he steps on the field, the receivers know where number two is,” coach Rice said. “ He just brings that confidence about himself, he’s going to come in and play hard, you can guard him against any wide receiver and he’s going to go hard.”
The amount of game experience he acquired last season is the reason Braswell has developed lots of confidence.
“There’s no substitution for game reps and he got a lot of them last year,” coach Rod Carey said. “ He is a very confident person right now and when you’re a corner, there is no substitution for being confident.”
Braswell might not be the most vocal leader on the field, but he leads in his own way that’s noticeable. Don’t be fooled, the 5-10 cornerback brings a certain energy to the field that’s hard to match.
“Braswell he’s the guy that’s a silent assassin or the silent leader, he’ll get on you when he needs to,” cornerbacks coach Melvin Rice said.
Braswell earned the single-digit for many reasons, the redshirt junior from Washington D.C. finds himself studying his playbook all the time. He wants to coach up the younger players on the team and be an expert on every assignment.
“I want to know from a coaches standpoint, I want to know everything in the books,” Braswell said. “I’m out there trying to teach the guys while I’m on the sideline.”
Braswell is not shying away from his role as one of the main leaders in the secondary. He feels the responsibility to help out his teammates and put them in a position to succeed.
“I just carry myself with a lot of confidence and I stay humble,” Braswell said. “If somebody needs help, I’m definitely going to point them in the right direction to do that, that’s what leaders do and I put my guys in the right path to make sure they’re doing right.”
Braswell is currently recovering from a hamstring injury and hopes to be ready for the season opener. He has no scheduled date to return, but he doesn’t want to rush his rehab process.
“I don’t have a specific date, but I’m just working into it continuing to do my rehab,” Braswell said. “ I’m not really in a rush right now, I don’t want to aggravate it or anything. I’m taking my time and getting it together.”
When Braswell returns he will continue to elevelate the Temple defense. The Owls have had great cornerbacks in recent past, including Harrison Hand, Rock Ya-Sin and Tavon Young, don’t be surprised if Braswell is the next big-time corner to come out of Temple.