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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Colorado
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  Don't try to warn Na'im Rodman about hitting any sort of mid-training camp wall. Football, and the encouraging depth Rodman believes is being built along Colorado's defensive interior, will be more than enough motivation to power through the midpoint of camp. On Saturday, head coach Karl Dorrell put the Buffaloes through a scrimmage at Folsom Field. The week ahead marks the midpoint of the preseason grind, with Saturday's workout counting as practice No. 10 of 25 for CU ahead of the Sept. 2 opener at Folsom against TCU. It can be a demanding portion of the calendar.

The opening buzz spurred by the start of camp has faded. Opening night remains weeks away. Yet for Rodman, one of the most experienced players along CU's defensive front, the promise of an improved season is helping the group keep their focus narrowed on daily goals. "I love playing football. So it's easy to wake up and come to practice every day," Rodman said. "It's more like the challenge is to not look so far ahead. I've just got to focus on what I've got to do today." Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson has maintained the Buffs' shift to a 4-3 front this year from a base 3-4 formation was decided in part to make the best use of the talent on the roster. There arguably is not a better combination of depth and experience among any of the Buffs' position groups than along the defensive front. Rodman has played in all 30 of CU's games since he came to Boulder as a true freshman in 2019, with nine starts. - Daily Camera


rJr/2024 DT Naim RodmanColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  As a sixth-year senior, Maurice Bell is one of the oldest players on the Colorado football team. He is, however, fighting once again to make a name for himself in CU's talented receiver room. During a scrimmage on Saturday at Folsom Field, Bell was one of the more impressive players on offense and proved he is fully healthy from the torn Achilles' tendon that cost him the entire 2021 season. "I was pleasantly surprised," CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. "He's back to his old self and actually looks better to me than he was before his injury. I'm really proud of him for what he's come back to and what he is now and we're hoping he continues that." Bell, from Murrieta, Calif., played in only three games during his first two seasons at CU (2017-18) and caught only two passes for six yards in 2019.

In 2020, Bell earned a bigger role, finishing with 10 catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in the pandemic-shortened season. He also ranked sixth in the Pac-12 with a 21.57-yard average on kickoff returns. Bell is hoping to have an even bigger role this year as he's battled back from a devastating injury. "Usually you do lose a step or two (after an Achilles' injury), or you're not as fast as you were prior to the injury, things like that," Dorrell said. "But lately, if you do the rehab correctly and really stay up on doing everything, you can get back to close to 100% and that's where I think Maurice is. I've been very encouraged. Plus, physically he looks better. He's more developed. He's put a lot of work in the weight room, too." - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 WR Maurice BellColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  Throughout his five seasons in Boulder, Nate Landman was one of the best linebackers to wear a Colorado uniform over the past two decades. Replacing Landman, who graduated after last season, won't be easy. Yet even without him, the Buffaloes feel they might be better overall at inside linebacker. "We have so much more depth and talent there than we've had," head coach Karl Dorrell said. "I feel really good about first- and second-team linebackers. I think there's hardly any drop-off." Senior Quinn Perry is back as a returning starter and has had a strong start to preseason camp. The Buffs also return senior Robert Barnes, who got better as last year went along and had a good offseason.

The summer addition of Josh Chandler-Semedo boosted the group even more. A transfer from West Virginia, he led the Mountaineers in tackles a year ago and has been what the Buffs hoped he would be when they recruited him. "It popped on tape really quickly how smart he was, how he played both an inside linebacker position and an outside linebacker position and he did both of them very proficiently," Dorrell said of recruiting Chandler-Semedo. "And he's able to do that here. It's been a seamless transition for him because his football IQ is really, really strong. "His confidence as a leader … he's able to kind of feel comfortable doing it because he knows football and I think he's been a great addition for us." - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 ILB Josh Chandler-SemedoColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  Like a lot of young players, Isaiah Lewis had to wait for his turn. Had the transfer portal and the one-time transfer exemption been an option early in his career at Colorado, perhaps he would not have been so patient. But, now entering his sixth and final season of college football, Lewis is grateful for the journey he's taken and the lessons learned. "I've always talked about just trusting the journey, sticking to the script, working hard, no matter what the circumstances," said Lewis, a returning starter at safety for the Buffaloes. "If I had advice to give to someone it's just put your head down and work. And at the end of the day, it's gonna go to who works the hardest. And as one of my coaches out of the Bay Area, Nate Kenion, told me, 'The cream will rise." A Sacramento native who graduated from Granite Bay (Calif.) High School in 2017, Lewis spent three years waiting.

He redshirted in 2017 and played a total of 29 defensive snaps from 2018-19. "(Transferring) was definitely in my mind," he said. "But for me, I didn't really see the benefits of what leaving could really do. I was just now getting into the system here, I was finally getting integrated in the playbook. I felt like I was mastering the playbook, as well. I didn't really see (transferring) as something that I needed to do, especially because I know that the guys who stick around here are the ones who are going to be fighting for each other and we could create a super strong bond over that. So I took that approach." Transferring was always an option, but before the spring of 2021, players who transferred had to sit out a full season at their next school or apply for an NCAA waiver. An NCAA rule change in 2021 now allows players to transfer one time without sitting out. Lewis said he's never seriously considered leaving CU, and he's glad he didn't. - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 SS Isaiah LewisColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  With a mix of proven veterans and young players developing, the Colorado football team likes its depth at defensive line. If Tyas Martin can also play, that would be a major bonus and boost the group even more. A redshirt freshman from Helena, Ark., Martin is working his way back onto the field after dealing with back issues the past two years. "He's been a very pleasant surprise for us because we were concerned whether he would be ready to play this year and he had a really good summer," CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. "He had to kind of retrain some things just because of the things that he's been dealing with. He's able to do that and he's functioning well."

Martin, listed at 6-foot-4, 345 pounds a year ago, is down to 320 and feeling great through the first week of preseason camp. "The trainers, coach (Shannon) Turley and the staff, they just kept the confidence, building up my core and stuff like that so I'm more flexible and I'm feeling good," said. As a junior at Jacksonville (Ark.) High School in 2019, Martin earned all-conference honors after posting 70 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and six sacks. He missed his senior year, however, because of an L5 fracture in his lower back. Last year, he played five snaps against Minnesota, but didn't appear in any other games. Then, he tweaked his back in the winter and missed spring drills. - Daily Camera


rFr/2026 DT Tyas MartinColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  Alex Fontenot, who finished with 326 yards and five touchdowns last year, missed the end of spring with an injury, but is back and shining during the first week of CU's preseason camp. "He's having an outstanding camp right now," Dorrell said. "He's kind of got a business attitude, gets the work in, doesn't say boo. But you notice him on the field whenever he gets a rep. "I just see his confidence in his movement skills and the things he's doing right now just reminds me where it was a couple of years ago." Never lacking in confidence, Fontenot is even more so after adding weight and muscle in the offseason. "When I'm in practice, I lower my shoulder and I don't feel like I'm getting bounced," he said. "I don't feel like I'm bouncing; I feel like I'm delivering the blow and just keep moving forward." Fontenot is typically looking ahead but said he's enjoyed his journey at CU and is eager to make his final year his best year. "Definitely it's been a weird journey," he said. "But if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would. I had the opportunity to be behind some great backs, such as Phil Lindsay and also Travon. "(Being at CU) has taught me a lot of life lessons, which I'm grateful for." - Daily Camera

rSr/2023 RB Alex FontenotColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  08/11/22 - Nikko ReedSo/2025, Colorado + More +

  The leap from high school to college football isn't an easy one, as Nikko Reed found out a year ago. Entering his second season with the Colorado Buffaloes, Reed is much more comfortable. "I have been more locked in than I was last year," the true sophomore cornerback said after a recent practice. "I feel like camp was a bit of a struggle for me last year, but now that I've kind of gotten used to it, I'm locked in more." The struggle, Reed said, came from trying to learn the cornerback technique while going up against bigger and faster competition than he ever saw in high school.

Despite the struggle, Reed flashed his talent last season, playing 199 snaps and recording eight tackles, two pass breakups and an interception. He also had one kickoff return, taking it 100 yards for a touchdown in the finale against Utah. This year, the Buffs are counting on Reed to take the next step, as he's projected to be a starter. CU has very little experience in the secondary, so it is leaning on Reed and his 2021 recruiting classmates Kaylin Moore, Tyrin Taylor and Trevor Woods. "Nikko is having a great camp, Kaylin's having a really good camp and Tyrin," CU head coach Karl Dorrell said. "They're doing veteran things right now." - Daily Camera


So/2025 CB Nikko ReedColorado
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  Janaz Jordan now enters his fourth season at CU as a key part of the defensive line rotation. "The rotation is like an NFL defensive line rotation, so you're gonna play; the best players are going to play," he said. "The support of your D-line and the defense, it helps everybody grow and play better together. The rotation and everything is great." On the field, Jordan has appeared in 27 games at CU, with six starts. He's been on the field for 542 snaps, recording 21 tackles while clogging the middle of the defense. A regular starter in 2020, Jordan was in a backup role last year. He said he has worked to become better this year.

"I had to improve my conditioning," said Jordan, who played last year between 330-340 pounds. "I think that's what set me back a little bit, my conditioning and my weight. So this spring, I got my weight down and got my conditioning back. "It was just me being undisciplined about my weight and the food I'm putting in my body. But, me getting with my nutritionist, my strength coach and my coaches, they got me into the right direction of what food I need to put in my body and how to condition it into strength and everything." With preseason camp now underway, Jordan continues working to get himself ready for the season. "He's progressing," defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said. "I think Janaz would tell you he's not where it needs to be. … He's got some steps to make and he's taking those steps. Our job is to help him get there. He's doing good." - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 DT Janaz JordanColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  Two years ago, Robert Barnes was playing safety at Oklahoma, with Lincoln Riley as his head coach. Last week in Los Angeles, both participated in Pac-12 media day, with Barnes representing Colorado and Riley as the new head coach at Southern California. Riley did a bit of a double-take when he saw Barnes, who is now a 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker. "It's fun to see him now," Riley said. "He's developed so much physically. You can tell later in his career, he's put on some weight...We always thought he probably would eventually grow into that. It's good to see that it feels like it's kind of all coming together for him here at the end. I would expect he'd be one of the top linebackers in the league." The Buffaloes are certainly hoping so. Coming off a 4-8 season (3-6 Pac-12), the Buffs are banking on Barnes and other veterans to lead them on and off the field.

Entering his second season at CU and his second season as a linebacker, Barnes feels ready to take a big step forward. "I think the adjustment (last year) came from safety to linebacker," Barnes said. "I think it was learning how to play a different position, learning how to play that close to the ball, and just understanding tendencies of what a linebacker is looking for. "Towards the end of the season, I caught that confidence, and I was able to go play the level of football that I was capable of playing, but it just took slowing down the game and being able to obtain that confidence I had at safety and flying around and making those plays that I knew I was capable of making. It was just, the game was so fast at one point that I had to just slow it down." - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 ILB Robert BarnesColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  With four boys bouncing off the walls of the Kopp household, the games never stopped. Well, maybe sometimes they stopped. "Our rule was if someone started crying we had to stop." laughed Braden Kopp, older brother of CU Buffs freshman quarterback Maddox Kopp. "We were always competitive, always outside playing sports." It should come as little surprise, then, that all four Kopp siblings have followed in the footsteps of their father, former University of Tennessee-Chattanooga tennis player Will Kopp, as scholarship Division I athletes. Braden played offensive tackle at Vanderbilt, Miller is a senior forward for the Indiana men's basketball team, and Anderson is a senior guard at Missouri-Kansas City. Maddox, meanwhile, is starting his first preseason camp in Boulder looking to move up the CU Buffs quarterback depth chart this fall.

After transferring in January from the University of Houston, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound redshirt freshman has work to do in order to catch up to incumbent starter Brendon Lewis, sophomore backup J.T. Shrout and redshirt freshman Drew Carter. Kopp said he's focused on getting better every day. "When I decided to come here I knew that I just wanted an opportunity to compete and that's what I'm doing every day, I love it." Kopp said. "We are pushing each other and it's been great." - Denver Post


So/2025 QB Maddox KoppColorado
News Source: Denver Post
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  As quarterback Maddox Kopp stood at the podium on Tuesday, answering questions from the media for the first time since joining the Colorado Buffaloes, JT Shrout walked to the back of the media scrum. Shrout, a junior quarterback, pretended to hold out a microphone and laughed a bit as he listened to Kopp. Earlier in the morning, Shrout "was out there celebrating any single victory," offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said. "Not because it was about him, but because he loves football that much, and he missed football that much." Mentally and physically, Shrout is in a much different place than he was 11 months ago. A knee injury on Aug. 14, 2021, cost him the entire season. This week, for the first time since then, he has been fully cleared to practice and he's once again competing for the starting job with incumbent Brendon Lewis.

"Really happy to be out there again," Shrout said when he took his turn at the podium. After three seasons at Tennessee, where he played in eight games (with one start), Shrout transferred to CU in January of 2021. He was looking for a chance to start and spent the entire offseason battling for the job. During a live scrimmage at Folsom Field, he made a cut to his right, tore up his knee, and was done for the year. "It was depressing almost," he said. "It was really hard. Football is my first love, so not being able to go out there and play was really difficult for me. But I tried to stay in it mentally as much as I could. That was helpful." - Daily Camera


rJr/2024 QB J.T. ShroutColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  When asked about positives from the 2021 season, Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis had to think for a few seconds. "Towards the end of the season, we showed improvement and started moving the ball," he said, before quickly shifting to thoughts of the upcoming season. "We're gonna see a lot more of that this year. (Offensive coordinator Mike) Sanford has done a great job and made a new offense for everybody so it's going to be really fun." It's understandable that Lewis wouldn't dwell too much on the 2021 season, because it was filled with growing pains. As a freshman, first-year starter, Lewis played behind a struggling offensive line and wound up at or near the bottom of the Pac-12 in passer rating, completion percentage and yards per game as the Buffaloes went 4-8 (3-6 Pac-12).

There were highlights, including leading the Buffs to an overtime win against Oregon State and scoring the deciding touchdown in a home win against Washington. Both of those came in November. "The best part of that is that he played for 12 games for us last year," head coach Karl Dorrell said. Lewis, who is competing to keep his starting job, has spent the past eight months learning from that experience. "Watching a lot of film," he said of his offseason. "When we learned the new offense with coach Sanford, we went back and I tried to visualize the plays that he would call, the looks that he would see from last season. So we did a lot of that. A lot of fine tweaking on some mechanical things, lower body-type stuff, a lot of grinding. It was really fun." Lewis is now a third-year sophomore and the Buffs believe he has improved since the end of last season. - Denver Post


rSo/2025 QB Brendon LewisColorado
News Source: Denver Post
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  This summer, Colorado linebacker Robert Barnes would often arrive at the Champions Center at 7 a.m. to get in a workout. When he got there, transfer Josh Chandler-Semedo was often there, as well. "It was a joy to see me get there at 7 a.m. and he's there with me," Barnes said during Pac-12 media day on Friday. "That was him. I didn't tell him to. We just show up early at the same time and I think that already built that chemistry. I've got a guy that's riding with me and he's gonna work just as hard as me, as well." While Barnes and Quinn Perry are team leaders at inside linebacker for the Buffs, it is Chandler-Semedo who leads the way in terms of experience. Chandler-Semedo played in 44 games at West Virginia, with 31 starts and he was the Mountaineers' active leader in career tackles with 260. Last season, he was a 13-game starter, finishing with 110 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups. He was voted All-Big 12 honorable mention by coaches.

CU added Chandler-Semedo to help ease the loss of Nate Landman, an All-Pac-12 linebacker who graduated after last season. "He's gonna be really good," head coach Karl Dorrell said. "He's made a big impact already. Josh has done everything that I was hoping that he would be. When we brought him in on the visit, he showed such strong leadership qualities even then. "He would watch tape with us and...he has a lot of traits like Nate in terms of his knowledge and football IQ. He has natural leadership qualities...It's gonna be a really positive addition for us." - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 ILB Robert BarnesColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  Media members covering the Pac-12 aren't expecting much out of the Colorado football team this season. On Thursday, the conference announced the media projections for this season, and the Buffaloes were picked for a last-place finish. For the first time in the 12-year history of the conference there will be no divisions, so the 33 media members who voted were asked to rank the teams from 1-12. CU received just 58 points in the voting, with Arizona (86) ahead of the Buffs in 11th. Defending champion Utah was the overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12, with 26 first-place votes and 384 points overall.

Oregon received two first-place votes and is ranked second, with Southern California third. The Trojans received five first-place votes. CU has never been highly regarded in the preseason poll. From 2011-21, CU was projected for last-place finishes in the South division seven times - including every year from 2011-16 - and fifth-place finishes three times. The highest projection was a fourth-place finish in 2017. This is the fifth time CU has received the fewest amount of points in the preseason poll among the 12 schools. On the field, the Buffs have had six last-place finishes in the South during their 11 seasons in the Pac-12 and two fifth-place finishes. The Buffs won the division in 2016 and finished second in 2020. Last year, they tied USC for fourth place. - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 DE Terrance LangColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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  Throughout his time at Colorado, Alex Fontenot has been through a lot. He's had three head coaches. He's been a backup and a starter - and then a backup again. He's dealt with a major injury. He's watched many teammates come and go. As he prepares for his final season, however, Fontenot isn't focused on anything that's happened in the past. "I just take it day by day and just try and put myself in the best position to just keep moving forward and keep bettering myself and my game," the senior running back said in the spring. While there are familiar faces in the backfield, led by Fontenot, this is an intriguing position group because of the changes in the offseason. Jarek Broussard, who led the Buffs in rushing the last two years and was the Pac-12 offensive player of the year in 2020, transferred to Michigan State. Ashaad Clayton, a four-star recruit in the 2020 class with a load of potential, transferred to Tulane.

CU's coaching staff targeted FCS All-American Ramon Jefferson to replace Broussard. Jefferson committed to CU in January and was in the Buffs' plans throughout the spring. In May, Jefferson changed his mind and eventually landed at Kentucky. What's left is Fontenot and a lot of players with unproven potential, but that doesn't mean the Buffs can't find success in the backfield. "I know we can get it done," Fontenot said. "That's the confidence I have in our room. … The talent is still there." It starts with Fontenot, who is entering his sixth season with the Buffs. He has 14 career starts, 11 of those coming in 2019, when he led CU with 874 yards and five touchdowns while catching 27 passes. - Daily Camera


rSr/2023 RB Alex FontenotColorado
News Source: Daily Camera
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