Carrington Byndom isn’t much of a talker. But the cornerback sure knows how to listen.
Of course, it helps to be around people who know what they’re talking about.
Byndom’s postion coach, Duane Akina, has sent dozens of defensive backs to the NFL, with 10 currently in the league.
“He hangs on to every word that Akina tells him,” said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “He’s not brash and boisterous but at the same time he exudes a quiet confidence.”
Byndom spent his summer working out in Austin with Akina’s pupils, including Michael Huff, Aaron Ross, Cedric Griffin and Michael Griffin. He picked their brains and soaked it all in.
So far, it’s paid off. The sophomore has started all eight games and leads the Longhorns with 11 pass breakups.
“You’re around them and around their presence and they teach you their little secrets to improve your game,” Byndom said. “That was another key for me. They just give you their insight because they’ve been through this. They’re helping us prepare our game and get that much better for the future.”
His future certainly is bright. Give Byndom another year in Akina’s system, and he’ll be lining up at corner on Sundays.
The defensive backs room at the football complex is home to the “Money Wall,” homage to the former Longhorns who have gone on to the NFL. It’s also a constant reminder of the high expectations that come with being Akina’s latest pupil.
“Every DB wants to be on the money wall when they leave here,” Byndom said. “That’s another goal, another milestone for us, to have you picture up there on the wall so every DB who comes after knows he made the money wall.
“I definitely aspire to be like one of those guys that came through our defensive back room. Being like them is a goal for me, maybe even going beyond that.”
Byndom’s certainly gone above and beyond expectations in his first year as a starter.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” Akina said. “I knew he was going to be a good player, but he’s really ahead of schedule, much more physical. He’s really just seeing the game. He’s an outstanding athlete and now the game is really beginning to slow down. All those reps are starting to catch up."
Byndom routinely draws the assignment of covering the opponent’s best receiver and has done well in that role. He held his ground against Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles and shut down Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon.
“He’s now one of the best corners in this conference, and his goal is to become national,”
Byndom may not be a big talker, but he let’s his game speak for him. And while his 6-foot, 180-pound frame might not be all that imposing, he’s not afraid to mix it up and hit somebody.
“He’s just a class act, much like Aaron Ross, Michael Huff and yet, on the field, very competitive,” Akina said. “Don’t let that demeanor fool you a little bit. He’s a physical, tough guy.”
On Saturday against Missouri’s 37th-ranked pass offense, Akina will need to make adjustments on the fly and shout instructions between plays. You can be sure that Byndom will be listening.