AT COLORADO: 2011 (Sr.)— He played in seven games, starting four at left cornerback and three as the nickel back, but suffered a fractured fibula in practice (Sept. 13) and missed the next six games, returning to action for the last five games of the season. He was one of 50 players officially nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy, awarded to a walk-on who made an impact in his school’s program. After fall camp shook out, he earned the top spot at left cornerback, making his first start at the position in the season opener at Hawai’i after playing mostly safety and nickel previously. Despite missing almost half the season and playing just under half the defensive snaps (444 of 868), he still was eighth on the team in tackles (the fourth defensive back) with 56 tackles, 39 of the solo variety. He had seven tackles for loss, including three quarterback sacks, six third down stops, four passes broken up, a forced fumble (at Arizona State), two tackles for zero and a pressure. He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in CU’s 48-29 win over Arizona, when he recorded a career-high 14 tackles (11 solo, three for losses including one sack) and an interception. He had nine tackles at UCLA (seven solo), and eight against USC (seven solo) and Utah (three unassisted). His three career sacks tied for the seventh most in school history by a defensive back, and he finished fourth all-time in special teams points at Colorado with 72, as he saw less duty due to his leg injury, as he had just two points on the year (an assisted tackle and a recovered kick).
2010 (Jr.)—He saw action in seven games (five starts), including his first career start which came at California as the nickel back in the second game of the year; he suffered an ankle fracture early in that game, though it did not require surgery. He missed the next five games, returning for the Oklahoma game in late October and then started the last four contests, also as the nickel back. He received the team’s Tyronee “Tiger” Bussey Award for perseverance in overcoming adversity, injury and/or illness for battling back from the ankle injury. He had 39 tackles on the year (22 solo, one for a loss), with seven third down stops, a quarterback hurry and QB chasedown (near-sack). He was second on the team in interceptions with two, the first pair of his career; the first came in Denver against Colorado State (when he had four tackles, two coming on third down), with the other at Kansas (seven tackles; two 3DS). He had a season-high nine tackles (eight solo) in the win over Iowa State, when he was named the team’s defensive back of the game. He also had eight tackles against both Kansas State and Nebraska. On special teams, he racked up 12 special team points on the strength of four forced fair catches, three first downfield credits where he altered the return path, three tackles (one inside-the-20) and one knockdown block. In the spring, he was the recipient of the Jim Hansen Award, presented to a player for outstanding academics.
2009 (Soph.)—He played in all 12 games on special teams, and in five on defense (no starts), earning second-team All-Colorado honors for his special teams play from the state’s chapter of the National Football Foundation. On defense, he had three solo tackles in 29 snaps from scrimmage; all the tackles came in the win over Texas A&M (when he played a season-high 17 snaps on defense). But it was on special teams where he made his mark, and earned a scholarship: he racked up 45 special team points for the season, the second most in CU history since the inception of the tracking program in 1987. He was in on 14 tackles, nine solo and three inside-the-20, which earned him 17 of the points; he also had 11 knockdown blocks on returns, six wedge breaks, five caused penalties (meaning opponents were flagged five times trying to block him), two forced fair catches, two first downfield credits that altered return men directly into tacklers, a forced fumble and a downed punt. Twice he had seven special team points in a game, at West Virginia (two tackles, two knockdown blocks, a wedge break and two caused penalties) and at Oklahoma State (two tackles, two wedge breaks, two knockdown blocks and a forced fair catch). He was the recipient of the team’s Bill McCartney Award for special teams achievement (he was honored with CU’s Special Teams Player of the Game honor for the Wyoming game). One of the recipients of the team’s Gold Group Commitment Award as selected by the coaches, as the honor recognizes excellence with class in a variety of areas. He was the Iron Buffalo Award winner for the defensive backs in the spring, presented to the player at each position who represents hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room.
2008 (Fr.-RS)—He saw action in all 12 games on special teams, and in three on defense (no starts, nine total snaps). He tied for third in special team points with 13 on the strength of two tackles (one inside-the-20), seven knockdown blocks to help spring return men and three wedge breaks. He was the co-recipient of the Bill McCartney Award, presented for special teams achievement (he shared it with Josh Smith), and was the special teams player of the week for the Eastern Washington game, when he had two wedge breaks and two knockdown blocks on key returns. The coaches also honored him with the Gold Group Commitment Award, given to those players committed to all-around excellence. He had a brief trial at outside linebacker early in spring practice but the coaches felt he was more suited for the safety position. He had a solid spring, with 11 tackles (nine solo, one quarterback sack) and an interception in the three main spring scrimmages, The coaches selected him as the Bill McCartney Award winner as the most improved special teams player during spring practice.
2007 (Fr.)—Redshirted; he practiced the entire fall at safety after joining the team as an invited walk-on for August drills.
HIGH SCHOOL—A four-year letterman in football, he earned second-team 1A All-State (Rocky Mountain News) and first-team All-South Central Conference honors at quarterback, as he completed 41-of-91 passes for 840 yards as 12 touchdowns (with just one interception). He had 75 attempts for 462 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing, and defensively, he posted 36 tackles (14 solo, four for losses including a quarterback sack), with three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and three interceptions. As a junior, he was named honorable mention All-State at tight end, with 320 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the season. Under coach Mike O’Dwyer, was 11-1 his senior year, and a perfect 13-0 (state champs all three years) in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons; he was a member of the Limon team that set the state record for the most consecutive wins (50) for any state classification. Limon was the SCC champ all four of his high school years. He also lettered three times in basketball (guard, averaging 15.3 points per game as a senior), twice in baseball (pitcher, infielder) and twice in track (sprints, relays). As a prep, he was a member of five state champion teams: football (2003, 2004, 2005), track (2004) and baseball (2005).
ACADEMICS—He graduated with a B.S. degree in Business (Finance) in December 2011. He was one of three players as a senior to receive the team’s Dean Jacob Van Ek Award for academic excellence. He earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors three times (redshirt freshman, sophomore and junior seasons) and was a first-team Pac-12 All-Academic squad member as a senior. He was Colorado’s nominee for the prestigious William V. Campbell Award (the “academic” Heisman) and for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award. He was one of 11 Colorado Chapter/NFF Scholar-Athletes for 2006, he was a member of the National Honor Society throughout high school. A 4.0 student as a prep and ranked No. 1 in his class, he was four-time Academic All-State selection.
PERSONAL—Born May 24, 1989 in Hugo, Colo. Hobbies include playing most sports and recently learning to play the trumpet, with past summer jobs including working for the town of Limon and as a roofer. He also was a voluntary elementary school basketball coach.
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ADDITIONAL STATISTICS—Interception Return Yards: 2-16, 8.0, 16 long, 0 TD (2010); 1-0, 0.0 (2011). Special Team Tackles: 2,0—2 (2008); 9,5—14 (2009); 2,1—3 (2010); 0,1—1 (2011).