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Cordell Volson went from nine-man football to the Bengals’ left guard

Tanner Volson spends about five minutes scrolling on YouTube, looking for an 11-year-old home-made video of his younger brother that captures where he came from and what he was like before he became an NFL offensive lineman.

Search Cordell Volson’s name now, and you’ll see dozens of highlight videos that show why he’s the frontrunner to be the Bengals’ starting left guard. Volson has taken the first first-team reps of his rookie season in practice this week, which has filled a YouTube search with Cordell’s highlights and breakdowns of his game. 

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“Suddenly he got popular,” Tanner said. “Now you get all of these other videos when you search his name.”

Cincinnati Bengals guard Cordell Volson (67) faces off with defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) in a drill during a training camp practice at the Paycor Stadium practice fields in downtown Cincinnati on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.

Volson, the Bengals’ fourth-round pick, is the player who has made the biggest name for himself in Bengals training camp. Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack describes him as a player “with a little you know what in the back of his neck.” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said Volson’s “anchor” and “grip” give him a good shot to be a starter in the NFL.

But when Tanner thinks of his younger brother, he sees the video of the 11-year-old Cordell trying to sheer a sheep on his family farm.

“The population of Balfour is 27,” Cordell Volson said. “I grew up three miles from there. We had a grocery store, a gas station and a few other businesses.”

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Dakota State offensive lineman Cordell Volson (OL54) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Volson went to school in Drake, a nearby town, with about 15 kids in his grade. His parents operate an excavating company, which digs basements and works on water line sewers.

Drake High School had about 20 total players on the football team. Because of how small the school was, they played in a nine-man football conference with nine players on the field instead of 11. 


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