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Humble Kuzdale a mainstay on Bucs' secondary
Chris Kuzdale was a freshman when he earned his first start in Charleston Southern’s third game of the 2008 football season. Since that day, Kuzdale has been a mainstay in the Buccaneers’ secondary.
Kuzdale, a 5-11, 185-pound safety from Tampa, Fla., earned All-Big South Conference honors as a sophomore last season after finishing with 64 tackles, three interceptions and six pass breakups.
He entered this season as a preseason all-conference selection and backed up those honors by picking up a team-high nine tackles in CSU’s season-opening 41-31 victory against North Greenville last weekend.
All in a day’s work for the humble Kuzdale, who tries to deflect praise to his teammates.
“I’m one of 11 guys out there, one of the 11 parts and I just try to play my part, and do my job,” said Kuzdale. “Sometimes I get up in there and get the chance to make some plays, but a lot of that happens because my teammates on defense are doing their job also. It all works together as far as I’m concerned.”
Charleston Southern head coach Jay Mills says Kuzdale has earned every honor he has received, because he rates as one of the hardest-working members of the team.
“He’s the quarterback of the secondary, there’s no question about it,” Mills said. “His peers have a great deal of respect for him. He’s had the accolades and honors, yet he practices and plays every day at the highest level. His teammates see that he is going to give it his all every day. When your best players are playing hard, that sets the tone for the rest of the team. He leads by example.”
And that example extends well beyond the practice field.
“Chris has been very strong in his commitment to God and is very faithful in his mission work,” Mills said. “He takes advantage of the blessings he has received and he is always willing to share with others.”
His faith was one of the reasons Kuzdale chose to attend Charleston Southern. Though Tampa will always be home, he says Charleston is the next best thing.
“Coming here was a great decision for me personally and for my life as a football player,” he said. “I get asked all of the time about my time here and did I regret it, and my answer is the same every time. I love it here. It’s a great place, a great school, and the people honestly care about me as a person as well as a player.”
Kuzdale and his teammates face a huge challenge this week as they prepare to take on Wofford’s powerful wishbone running game Saturday at CSU Stadium (1:30 p.m.).
CSU has never beaten Wofford, and Kuzdale is 0-2 against the Terriers. Yet, he sees this game as another opportunity.
“Wofford will tell us a lot about ourselves, but we look forward to that challenge,” he said. “We have a lot of pride on the defense and we will give it our best shot. We’ve struggled in the past against them, but we’ve had a great week of practice and we come into this game with a lot of confidence. I can’t wait for the opportunity.”
By David Shelton, The Post and Courier