Penn State Football: Castro-Fields Ready and Hopeful for His Best Yet
Penn State corner Tariq Castro-Fields is as frustrated as you are about his 2019 season. Maybe even more frustrated, since, well, he had to live it for himself.
It would be unfair to say Castro-Fields didn't play well, but for a lot of the year he played hurt, with a lacking confidence and without the same glimpses of potential he had shown throughout most of his career.
Because that's the thing, when Castro-Fields plays to his potential he has a chance to go early in the draft. The other side of that coin speaks for itself, especially when an injury gets in the way. So yeah, it is frustrating, and for a player like the Nittany Lion senior, it probably ought to be.
“I think I was playing with a lot of confidence and being physical,” Castro-Fields said of his play earlier in the season. “I thought I knew the defense really well, which allowed me to play fast. My confidence was something that each game I was showing myself what I can do, and it really helped.”
But like all nice things, they never seem to last because that would just be too easy. So as Castro-Fields recovered from injury, and battled through the bumps and bruises, he had to find that confidence again. A process that has no set window.
“It was a frustrating process, but the coaches had a plan for me and I just tried to do the best I could,” Castro-Fields added. "Whatever they asked me to do, wherever my role was for the team, I wanted to do it. I don’t really feel pressure because that’s my role, and I’m just going to capitalize off it."
The irony in all of this is that Castro-Fields had a career season in 2019, racking up 52 tackles, 10 pass deflections and two interceptions, all career-highs by a fairly substantial margin. It was the bad moments that stuck out, but moments that weren't entirely representative of how Castro-Fields performed on the whole.
Like all veteran players though, Castro-Fields knows that there is always some bad with the good, always some ups with the downs and always next season to get things back on track.
And like all veterans atop a group of younger players, Penn State will need him to be at his best, to lead a group with plenty of talent and plenty to prove.
"I think I am ready for it. I really know the defense, I’m able to play the field and the boundary, and I think, regardless of whoever guards who, you have trust in the rest of the corners like [Donovan Johnson, Marquis Wilson]," Castro-Fields said. "To kind of step up and be the top corners.
“I think everyone can compete, so I think it’s more about like the kind of competition in the room that can raise everyone."
And when Castro-Fields is at his best, he can see his draft stock raise too.