To be the best, it’s not a bad idea to look up to the best.
A&M Consolidated junior cornerback and point guard Nate Floyd agrees, which is why he aspires to be like Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
“I like [Ramsey’s] mentality for the game,” Floyd said. “Even though he’s kinda cocky, I feel like he feels like no one can catch a ball on him, and he’s unstoppable. Then Stephen Curry on the other hand, I feel like he leads his team, doing what the floor general does and passes the ball but can also shoot the 3-ball.”
Floyd, whose 6-foot frame gives him an advantage many corners don’t have, said he tries to take the 6-1 Ramsey’s play style and make it his own, combining different techniques he sees Ramsey use with coaching from Consol cornerbacks coach Brandon Phillips.
It’s been a recipe for success as Floyd earned honorable mention on both the Texas Associated Press Sports Editors Association and Texas Sports Writers Association Class 5A all-state teams as a sophomore, grabbing six interceptions for a stingy defense that allowed just 270.7 yards per game. He has a pair of interceptions already this season and will look to continue his strong start as the Tigers host Lamar Consolidated for a District 10-5A Division II matchup at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tigerland Stadium.
Phillips said one of Floyd’s best qualities as a cornerback is his ability to shake off a mistake or bad play and focus on being competitive on the next down. Floyd’s fire serves him well since he is often isolated one-on-one with a receiver, and Phillips thinks basketball helps Floyd fuel that nature.
“He gets to compete all year ’round,” Phillips said. “Whether it’s video games, basketball, football, whatever he’s doing, he’s always competing. When he gets off the basketball court, he comes back out here and gets in the weight room. He’s competing in the weight room, competing in [40-yard dashes], whatever we’re doing, so that definitely helps.”
Floyd, who was named to the 18-5A basketball all-district first team last season, doesn’t see playing both sports as anything special since he’s played both beginning at a young age. He has benefitted from being a two-sport athlete, though, and he said there is a large amount of overlap in the skillsets for cornerbacks and point guards. Floyd believes his court vision as a point guard, in particular, comes in handy when it comes to anticipating routes and shutting down opposing receivers.
“Also, when we’re playing defense, Coach Phillips likes to use some basketball terms because he knows I play both, and it helps on the football field as well,” Floyd said.
Phillips also said excelling as the floor general for Consol’s basketball team has helped Floyd step into a leadership role in the secondary this season. Floyd’s leadership has been a necessity with the departure of senior safeties Jordan Woodard and Kolby Peel off last year’s squad. Fellow juniors Xavier Stewart and Bryce Linder, who has four interceptions, have taken over starting roles in the secondary.
According to Phillips, Floyd had a large hand in helping the group progress from 7-on-7 through preseason practices and the first half of the Tigers’ season. The secondary has gelled into a cohesive unit, and the Tigers haven’t missed a beat defensively, as they are allowing just 9.8 points per game and giving up just 109.8 passing yards per game.
“We’ve kept our focus, and we’ve kept the tempo of the defense up real high,” Floyd said. “I feel like Bryce Linder and Xavier Stewart, even though they’re newbies on defense, they came in very well and fit in very well, and they’ve been contributing to help our defense do what we did last year, which is be a nonstop defense.”