With more than 100 young men, all wearing gold helmets and either black or white jerseys, running around the football field, it can be difficult to stand out.

Unless your name is Phillip Lindsay, that is.

A redshirt freshman running back and kick returner, Lindsay has routinely been one of the most dynamic players on the field since joining the Colorado football team in 2013.

Lindsay has yet to play an actual game in a CU uniform, but he's already got his head coach, Mike MacIntyre, calling him the "Tasmanian Devil" and running backs coach Klayton Adams grinning at the thought of giving him the ball when it counts.

"He has that never-say-die attitude," MacIntyre said. "He'll do anything. (He has a) phenomenal attitude all the time. He gives unbelievable effort. He's extremely tough. He has quickness. He has a contagious, bubbly attitude. He's just one of those guys.

"If he carries the ball three times in a game or he carries the ball 20 times, he'll make a difference."

Oh, how Lindsay wants to make a difference at CU.

Born and raised in Denver, Lindsay was a star at Denver South High School and was thrilled when former CU coach Jon Embree offered him a scholarship.

After Lindsay tore his left ACL as a senior at South, CU remained committed to him. When CU fired Embree a couple of months later, Lindsay remained committed to the Buffs, despite the fact that they were coming off a 1-11 season.


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"I love my state, I love (CU), I love Colorado football, and I want everybody to know that," said Lindsay, who hasn't played in a game since Sept. 14, 2012. "You're coming from Colorado and everybody is talking down about (the football program) because you have off years. But it's about pride."

Lindsay's pride in CU is surpassed only by the pride he has for his family.

The Lindsays have become well known for their athletic achievements. His father, Troy, played football at Colorado State. His cousins, Gabe and Tony, played football at Oklahoma State. He has a sister, Cheri, who was an all-conference volleyball player at Prairie View A&M and another sister, Sparkle, who played basketball at Mesa State. His brother, Zachary, is a true freshman on the Northern Colorado football team.

Athletics are important to the Lindsay family, but that's not the focal point. Every day, Phillip's parents, Troy and Diane, call their son and, Phillip said, "The first thing they ask is, 'How is school going?'"

Phillip learned a long time ago that his success in the classroom is much more important to his parents than anything he does on the field.

CU redshirt freshman Phillip Lindsay could see his first game action since 2012 early in the season opener against Colorado State as he is likely to be the
CU redshirt freshman Phillip Lindsay could see his first game action since 2012 early in the season opener against Colorado State as he is likely to be the Buffs' primary kickoff returner. (Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera)

"That's how our family always has been," Phillip said. "We have to have (at least) Bs or we don't come in the house."

In high school, Phillip had his parents literally looking over his shoulder to make sure he got his school work done. Now that he's on his own, Phillip said he could easily take advantage of that freedom, but his conscious won't allow it.

"You feel like, 'All right, they've led me in the right direction and I need to do this because it's the right thing to do,'" he said. "I don't want to disappoint them. I want to make them proud and by that, I need to handle my school work."

Phillip also doesn't want to disappoint the CU football fans. That's why he's given "Tasmanian Devil"-type of effort since arriving in Boulder.

"I feel like I don't take plays off," he said in explaining why he thinks MacIntyre gave him the nickname. "I go 100 percent. I have high energy, high level. I'm always going. I'm physical. I'm mean."

Few people are as nice off the field as Lindsay, and the 5-foot-8, 175-pounder admits he's much tougher when he puts the pads on.

"It's just about having a heart and a mindset," he said. "You have to be tough. You have to be tougher than the dude you're going against, mindset-wise.

"When I'm in the play, when I'm in the zone, there's nothing else in my mind. Everything is clear but me and what I have to do."

Last year, what he had to do was prove he was healthy and somehow get noticed as a scout team player. He did both.

"I looked at redshirting as an opportunity to be looked at," he said. "No. 1, because coach Mac was always on the defensive field, and No. 2, because I'm going against the No. 1 defense. If I can make them better and make myself better, I'm doing something. That's how I went into it every day."

Now Lindsay is getting a chance to perform on a bigger stage. He is expected to be in the Buffs' rotation of running backs, and is likely to be the Buffs' primary kickoff returner, which means his first chance to touch the ball could come very early on Aug. 29 against Colorado State.

Lindsay can't wait. He's making his family proud, making his coaches proud, and now he's ready to make Buff Nation proud.

"I'm here, but I don't want to just be here," he said. "I want to make a name for myself, I want to help the team, I want to do things to help Colorado out. I'm from here and I want to be able to rep my state the right way."

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.