COLORADO SPRINGS - Throughout spring practices, Jalen Sami turned some heads as a young player on the Colorado defensive line.
The true freshman will have to wait for his debut with the Buffaloes, however. Following the College Football Kickoff Luncheon at Hotel Elegante on Tuesday, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre confirmed that Sami will miss the 2018 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Sami had surgery about six weeks ago.
"He hurt it after spring, slipping in the snow," MacIntyre said. "We'd love to have Jalen, but he'll have four years after this. He was doing well (in spring). He could have helped us."
Sami, from Vista Ridge High School, is a 6-foot-6, 320-pound nose tackle who signed with the Buffs in the class of 2017, but grayshirted and delayed his enrollment until January.
Even without Sami, the Buffs have some depth up front. Senior Javier Edwards is a returning starter at nose tackle, and senior Chris Mulumba a returning starter at end.
Senior Jase Franke and junior Lyle Tuiloma both had significant experience as backups last year, and the Buffs are excited about junior college transfer Mustafa Johnson, sophomore Terriek Roberts, redshirt freshman Terrance Lang and true freshmen Israel Antwine and Tava Finau.
Hill progressing for Rams
The opener against rival Colorado State isn't too far down the road, on Aug. 31, and at this point, neither team knows who will play quarterback for the Rams.
CSU head coach Mike Bobo said on Tuesday, however, that sophomore Collin Hill could be a candidate to start.
Hill, projected to take over the starting role this season, tore his ACL in March playing basketball. He suffered a tear of the same ACL against Utah State on Oct. 8, 2016.
"Collin Hill had his four-month checkup yesterday and all reports were really good," Bobo said. "He's ahead of schedule, so we're going to continue to push him to get him ready for fall camp.
"I think it's going to be, once we get into camp, a day to day decision of where's he at and can he compete to be the starting quarterback? If he's not ready to compete to be the starting quarterback, he won't get as many reps as the other guy."
The "other guy" is K.J. Carta-Samuels, a grad transfer from Washington. Carta-Samuels, who spent the past three years backing up Washington star Jake Browning, has thrown just 47 passes in his career, but has been on campus all summer.
"I've been able to work with him all summer in the meeting room; very sharp kid," Bobo said.
Carta-Samuels, whose sister Gabby plays for the CU volleyball team, could be in line to start for the Rams when they open against Hawaii on Aug. 25.
"He's a really good athlete, really good player and he'll be a big asset for CSU," MacIntyre said.
Bobo said he won't take long to name a starter.
"We'll have a starter within seven to 10 days after fall camp opens," he said.
CU's starting quarterback will be junior Steven Montez, who recently had a chance to take part in the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University.
Montez, who started all 12 games for the Buffs last season, had a chance to learn from NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning during his time there.
"We sat down for a while and talked about it," MacIntyre said. "He really enjoyed it. He got a lot from Peyton and Eli, and really enjoyed it and meeting some of the other quarterbacks that were there. The thing he said he mainly learned from Eli and Peyton was how detailed they were, how they studied film, how they embraced that side of it. He feels like he got a lot out of it."
CU's new quarterbacks coach, Kurt Roper, coached Eli Manning at Ole Miss in the early 2000s, and Montez compared notes with the New York Giants star.
"They definitely talked about Kurt being their coach," MacIntyre said, "and (Montez) got some stories on Kurt, so that was good."
MacIntyre was asked about the Week 2 matchup against an old rival, Nebraska. Of course, he said he's not worried about Week 2 at this point, but acknowledged the unique situation of opening against CSU and Nebraska in back-to-back weeks.
"I've never been around a program, and I don't know if anybody has, that your first two games of your season are the biggest rivals in the school's history," he said. "How we manage that as a team and as a staff is going to be very important."
MacIntyre said the Buffs have not named captains yet. ... Roster attrition this offseason has left the Buffs with 83 scholarship players going into fall camp. MacIntyre said he has not decided how to fill the two open scholarship spots. ... CU opens fall camp on Aug. 1.