On the Corner of Kyler and Gordon: Intersection of Maturity

The gifted Husky athlete has gone through the learning process, winning and losing a starting job in the secondary. He's still young.

Cornerback is the glamour position at the University of Washington. You start for the Huskies, you get an NFL shot. Simple as that.

Yet as Kyler Gordon can attest, maintaining that first-team assignment in the UW secondary can be an extreme challenge.

Even as one of the more physically gifted Huskies, Gordon as a redshirt freshman won the job for three games in 2019, relinquished it and reclaimed once more, coming off the bench otherwise. 

Gordon painstakingly is learning his trade. A UW cornerback can't just run and jump better than anyone else, he has to be smarter, too.

"Kyler is a super, super athlete," Husky secondary coach Will Harris said. "Every single day, we talk about it. With him, more so it was technical, being technically sound. I do think he's fixed that."

Still, it won't be easy for Gordon to just step back into the job he once held. The Huskies use three cornerbacks most of the time and each of the season-ending starters return -- seniors Elijah Molden and Keith Taylor, and fellow sophomore Trent McDuffie. 

Like him, they're all guys pursuing pro football futures. Somebody will need to share. Or sit and watch.

The Huskies won the services of Gordon in a highly publicized competition with Notre Dame, lending to his big reputation when he joined the UW program. The four-star national recruit went big show with his decision, appearing on KING-TV with his parents and others to dramatize things.

Gordon accepted Fighting Irish and Husky hats from his father and his mother, dropped them on the floor and unzipped his vest jacket to reveal a gray sweatshirt with a large purple W on it.

"It was a chance to be the local Dawg that everyone loves," he said to KING sportscaster Paul Silvi, a former college placekicker. "It feels good." 

After getting picked on by California and Hawaii, Gordon gave way to McDuffie, then a true freshman. He bounced back and came off the bench to pick up four tackles and a pass break-up against USC.

Gordon twice was named UW special-teams player of the game by his coaches, performances that helped him earn All-Pac-12 honorable-mention honors.

He grew up as a Seattle Storm dancer and a martial-arts enthusiast in Kung Fu, leading to his limber and nimble approach to cornerback. 

Now it's left to him to show his full grasp of the position, the intricacies such as backpedaling and quickly recognizing routes.

While Gordon might have come away disappointed that he didn't keep the job the first time he won it, the good news is he has plenty of time to establish himself and make the NFL take notice.

"I'm super excited about Kyler Gordon," Harris said. "Talk about a freak of nature. He's going to have a big role out there."

SUMMARY: He's got four Husky starts under his belt. More are on the way. He's too good to keep out of the UW lineup for long.

GRADE (1 to 5): Gordon gets a 3.5, with the potential for a much higher number. He's not a finished product. The competition should get him there.