NORMAN, Okla. -- He was just a youngster, a true freshman who stepped on campus without massive recruiting hype.
Yet his teammates at the University of Oklahoma could already sense there was something special about Aaron Colvin. So much so, they tagged the young cornerback with a bold moniker:
Two years later, the Sooners are hoping Colvin Island returns to Norman this fall. The junior moved to safety as a sophomore, handling the transition well while recording 74 tackles -- tied for the team lead -- and becoming one of the best defenders on the squad.
But Colvin still longed for his freshman days at cornerback.
"I feel like that's my true position," Colvin said. "I love it. It's just so natural to me, every little move feels natural for me at corner. I feel like that's where I am best."
New defensive coordinator Mike Stoops seems to agree, as Colvin moved from safety to cornerback heading into his third year on campus.
"There are some things you always have to work on but going back to corner was really easy for me," Colvin said.
One of the most versatile and productive players on the roster, Colvin will join senior Demontre Hurst to give OU one of the Big 12's top cornerback duos in 2012 after missing spring football due to shoulder surgery.
"The spring was kind of hard for me, not being able to be out there with my teammates," he said. "I had to take mental reps, and basically just jump in there two-a-days."
If Colvin is working to knock off some rust, it's difficult to tell. Head coach Bob Stoops and his brother Mike have both praised Colvin's ability during preseason camp. At 6-foot, 181 pounds, Colvin brings terrific acceleration, athleticism and good size to the cornerback position. He has the coverage skills to handle most Big 12 receivers and the tackling prowess to make an impact in the running game.
"Aaron Colvin coming back at corner really strengthens our defense," Mike Stoops said. "He gives us another great cover guy on the perimeter. He's very versatile, he can play all five positions and play them at a very high level."
Colvin has a different view of his progression this August.
"I don't feel like I've been doing as great as I should. I really don't," he said. "I feel like I can be a lot better. I actually told my mother I've gotta pick it up."
As his junior year approaches, his goal is to secure a return of Colvin Island. And while he's excited about his return to cornerback, Colvin remains willing to return to safety if needed.
"It's whatever Coach (Stoops) wants. If that's what he wants, that's what I'll do," Colvin said.
But the best case scenario for the Sooners means he remains at cornerback and his freshman nickname makes a return appearance.
"(With) me, playing corner, I feel like I can take a receiver out of the game," he said. "That's just how I feel. I just like being one-on-one, I don't want anybody to have to worry about me.
"You give me somebody, I'll lock them up for you."