ISU football

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal ISU’s Brandon Golden (5) looks to knock down a pass intended for a receiver during a spring practice last

week.

    Brandon Golden was looking for a change.

    After three seasons as a Washington State Cougar, the defensive back needed a fresh start to continue his career as a collegiate athlete.

    The first person he heard from was Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer, whom Golden knew in 2010 when Kramer was on Washington State’s coaching staff.

    It didn’t take much convincing to get Golden to transfer to Idaho State, and he immediately saw playing time during the 2013 season. Now a redshirt senior, the Covina, Calif., native hopes to thrive in his last year of college football.

    “There is no better place to be than with coach Kramer at Idaho State,” Golden said. “I want to keep getting better each and every day. I want to make sure my mental game is on point so I can play fast and I want to be out here and compete.”

    Golden’s skillset and leadership have never been in higher demand than now. Along with Vai Peko, a senior transfer from Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., Godlen is expected to lead a young group of cornerbacks during the 2014 season.

    “I want him to play his rear end off,” Kramer said. “I want him to be a great player every down, every day — all the time, period.”

    Kramer said Golden was a little rusty when he first arrived in Pocatello last fall. That rust, he says, is long gone.

    “He’s done nothing in these four days but make believe he can be one of the premiere cornerbacks in this conference,” Kramer said. “He’s good in zone. He’s very good in man. He’s patient. He’s calm. He’s tough. He’s smart. He takes coaching and he’s a great player.

    “I liked him at Washington State and I love him now that he’s at Idaho State.”

    Golden remains quiet during practice as he puts his head down and works. By design, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Golden is thicker than any other cornerback on Idaho State’s roster. He can be physical with a wide receiver and is still athletic enough to make plays on the ball.

    “He’s the size of cornerbacks in the Pac-12. That’s what they look like,” Kramer said. “We want our corners to look like that. Our older guys will look like this in the future. He’s not diminutive, but he’s not a big guy, either. He still has to have leaping ability.”

    Golden is grateful for a fresh start.

    “Just like coach Kramer said, I had to knock off some rust,” he said. “I was really fortunate to have coaches like coach (Spencer) Toone and coach (Stanley) Franks to help me through the process, to really be hard on me when I needed them to be and direct me in the right path.”

    Golden has some big shoes to fill as he steps into a spot that has been occupied by stellar players the last two seniors. Donovan Henley in 2012 and Cameron Gupton set the mark for cornerbacks at Idaho State.

    “(Gupton) was one of my good friends and he still is,” Golden said. “I learned a lot about mental toughness from him as well as physical toughness. He’s a great player and he came to work each and every day. I’m trying to take the things I learned from (Gupton) and use them every day.”

    Kramer has an easy way of judging how good his cornerbacks are playing and says Golden will have a standout senior season.

    “It’s the first position my mom notices,” Kramer said. “And when you get beat my mom says, ‘Don’t play him.’

    “I like Brandon. He’s a very humble guy. He’ll be a stopper and a guy who will make plays.”

    NOTES: Senior Aaron Prier, who has been exclusively a running back during his career, took reps at receiver during Tuesday’s practice. Junior receiver Madison Mangum did not participate as he continues to nurse an injury to his left knee. Three signees — players who have signed Letters of Intent but won’t be college student-athletes until the fall — were in attendance Tuesday to watch practice. They are quarterback Tanner Gueller (Chehalis, Wash.), linebacker Spencer Harshman (Borah High School) and receiver Hagen Graves (Skyview High School).

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