Terrence Crowder has confronted the possible end of his college football career on three separate occasions, but he's still plugging away at his dream of playing on Saturdays. And he feels fortunate to have the opportunity.

Crowder came to CU from Galena Park, Texas, a rough area near Houston where he grew up. He was part of the 2012 recruiting class but still hasn't played a down of college football.

Crowder was already pledged to be a Buff when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the first game of his senior season in high school back in 2011. Former CU coach Jon Embree honored the scholarship offer and Crowder was well on his way to a full recovery when he tore the ACL again in a CU practice in the fall of 2012.

Crowder returned to the practice field last August as a redshirt freshman but wasted his season when he was arrested in mid-September for an altercation with his girlfriend at the time. He was arrested for assault and harassment and suspended from the team.

He pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor harassment and received a 12-month deferred sentence that runs through the end of January 2015, according to court records. The sentence essentially means if Crowder stays out of trouble through January of next year the conviction will be wiped from his record.

"When I tore my ACL, I couldn't do anything," Crowder said. "I had too much time to get in trouble. Once I got back into things and I started thinking about my life back home and my future, I was like, 'It's not worth it.' I might as well do what I need to do to get my degree and get out of here."

Crowder said he had a long talk with coach Mike MacIntyre after his arrest and convinced his coach he wasn't a problem child and that he had made some poor choices.

"Coach Mac is just a wonderful coach, a phenomenal coach," Crowder said. "He believed in me. He knows that I'm not like a bad kid. After I got in trouble that one time, I just never got in trouble after that. By the graces of God, he let me stay and he helped me through the bad times I was going through."

He said for a time after the incident he was worried he had thrown away everything he had worked hard to earn in the first place and then worked through two major injuries to keep. After all, MacIntyre had decided to part ways with other players who were not arrested and whose problems didn't make headlines.

"It was my worst fear, going back to where I came from," Crowder said. "I just made it to the best time in my life. I got a scholarship and there is not many people in high school to get a scholarship and get to do to a Division I college. It's great not to go back."

Crowder experienced spring ball as a participating player on the field for the first time this year and he did well at times. He got through the 15 practices and four scrimmages without another injury. He rushed 15 times for 64 yards and a touchdown in the four scrimmages.

He completed spring drills feeling like he will finally be in position to help a football team win games again this fall. It has been four years since his last full season as an active member of a team. He said he worked this spring as a member of the punt return and kickoff coverage teams and he's more than happy to earn playing time on special teams first this season if that will allow him to get on the field. He blocked six punts in his high school career.

Eventually he hopes to fulfill the dream he had when he decided to come to CU and become one of the Buffs' primary ball carriers.

"I have more things that I have to work on to be in that position, but once I do the things coach is asking me to do, lose some weight and get in better shape, I think I'll have a chance," he said.

Crowder knows all too well, having a chance is much better than the alternative.

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @kyleringo.