STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — May the force be with the Auburn secondary.
Auburn safety signee Carlito Gonzalez is less than two weeks away from — finally — officially becoming a part of the Tigers. Gonzalez went through more coaching change than most during his recruitment, as he watched Will Muschamp, Travaris Robinson and Wesley McGriff take bigger jobs elsewhere after he committed.
All that turnover had Gonzalez intently monitoring Gus Malzahn’s secondary coach decision earlier this year.
When the choice was Greg Brown, Gonzalez quickly approved of the choice, but he had a funny first impression of his new position coach.
“Coach Brown came in, and now I’ve got Yoda,” Gonzalez joked. “He knows I call him that now. Me and my dad call him Yoda all the time. I saw him the first time and was like, ‘That’s Yoda right there.’ Plus he seems like he knows everything. … And I’m the Jedi. I can’t wait for him to teach his young sensei.”
Brown’s extensive resume protected Gonzalez from any recruiting doubts he started to have.
All he needed to see was Brown’s track record with three Thorpe Award winners. Gonzalez specifically mentioned HaHa Clinton-Dix and Landon Collins as safeties who have worked under Brown that he hopes to emulate.
In their early encounters, Gonzalez has been able to break down film with Brown, which has given him a whole new insight into how he’ll attack the game of football at the next level.
“No telling what he’s going to be able to do with me. He’s taught me so much already,” Gonzalez said. “He knows the exact point of where to stand, the exact timing of everything. When I get there, I know I’m ready for everything. He always says in order to be a great DB, you’ve got to work on a specific part of your game every day.”
“But, you know, it’s confidential because it’s Yoda teaching the Jedi.”
Gonzalez and Brown will be begin that more personalized teaching on May 28 when most of Auburn’s signees report to campus.
With Auburn’s lack of depth at safety, Gonzalez could be who Auburn calls upon early to make plays. Gonzalez said he and Brown have already discussed the openness of the position group, which could give Gonzalez and fellow safety signee Jordyn Peters a chance to shine as freshmen.
“He told me to come in and take someone’s spot,” Gonzalez said.