LARAMIE – Talking a big game is nothing new for University of Wyoming redshirt junior cornerback Azizi Hearn. Whether it’s on the field to opposing wide receivers or in some sort of effort to spark the Cowboys, Hearn is never afraid to be heard.
So when Hearn says he and redshirt junior cornerback C.J. Coldon are bound to be the best cornerback tandem in the Mountain West, it’s not exactly a surprising proclamation.
He also might not be off base.
“I think we will be the best cornerback duo in the Mountain West,” Hearn said. “Let me tell it, because I know I’m working very hard.”
Hearn and Coldon have a wealth of experience, having started 16 games and 12 games in their careers, respectively. Coldon battled injuries his first two seasons but started all six games in 2020, leading UW with two interceptions. When Coldon was injured in 2019, Hearn stepped in, thrived and hasn’t looked back, leading the Cowboys with four pass breakups in 2020.
According to UW coach Craig Bohl, the cornerbacks have excelled during spring practice, and he has lauded Hearn and Coldon specifically on several occasions.
“It’s great to have C.J. and Azizi back. Those guys played a lot this last year, and it’s a little bit unusual to have two guys be able to play the whole year. Typically somebody, unfortunately, does get injured,” Bohl said. “They both played well.”
All that experience has Hearn confident he and Coldon will lock down the conference’s best receivers in 2021. Being the best tandem in the MW is only the tip of the iceberg in what they want to accomplish, however.
“We’re working to be the best in the nation, if we’re being honest,” Hearn said. “And I know C.J. is working hard as well.”
Hearn started his career as a walk-on at the University of Arizona but has found his footing in Laramie over the past two years. He’s made life difficult on the opposition’s play makers through his play and with his mouth. In many ways, the two go hand-in-hand.
“It kind of gets me going and gets guys going around me on my team. So yeah, that’s a part of my game,” Hearn said. “Sometimes it’ll be flat out there, and that brings life.”
Hearn also has a personal goal this season: to collect his first career interception. He was, quite literally, inches away from notching one during in the third quarter season opener at Nevada.
Hearn appeared to pick off Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong in the end zone in an incredible feat of acrobatics. Hearn went up for a ball perfectly placed on the shoulder of star receiver Romeo Doubs and managed to pin the ball against Doubs’ shoulder pad while it simultaneously rested in the receiver’s hands. The two tumbled to the ground, and Hearn came up with the ball after rolling over Doubs.
After review, however, it was ruled incomplete. Hearn admits he views that play occasionally, a somewhat cruel reminder of how agonizingly close he was.
Hearn is confident his first interception is coming, however. He’s put in too much work for it not to happen.
“I’m making an emphasis on the right now for sure, getting some interceptions on my résumé,” Hearn said. “But if I’m being real with you, I let that play go right after it was over … Of course I wanted it, but they ruled it how they ruled it, and there was no get back on that one, so I had to keep moving.
“I still watch it sometimes … It’s a cool play.”