Colorado opened fall camp on Thursday with two fewer scholarship players than expected.
Senior outside linebacker Tyler Henington has decided to medically retire from football, while true freshman defensive back Ca'Ron Baham has elected to leave the team and return home to Louisiana.
A 2012 graduate of Denver's Mullen High School, Henington made an impact early in his career, playing 541 snaps over the course of 23 games from 2012-13. He hasn't played since, however.
Late in August camp in 2014, he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Then, in late July of last year, he had a freak accident off the field, where he stepped into a hole, dislocating his ankle and fracturing his fibula. He missed the entire 2015 season.
"It's really tough," CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "He kept working hard all summer and he came to me about two weeks ago and said, 'Coach, I just don't think I can go on it.' I wish He was out here and so does he, but it's a situation that happens in football and sports sometimes. He gave a lot to the program. Unfortunately I only got to coach him one year."
He won't get to coach Baham at all. One of three cornerbacks signed by the Buffs in February, Baham was granted a transfer. The 6-foot, 190-pound speedster is from John Ehret High School in Marrero, La.
"They're young kids and it's a situation that he wanted to go back near home, so that's what he decided to do," MacIntyre said.
CU now has 81 players on scholarship, four below the NCAA limit of 85.
Back on the field
MacIntyre came away from Thursday's first practice feeling good about the Buffaloes' start.
"I thought it went well," he said. "We got out here and got going early. I thought it went well. No one got injured, so that went well."
The Buffs have a veteran team that features 19 scholarship seniors and 22 scholarship juniors, and that experience helped them get ready for camp.
"It goes quicker and you can put more in," MacIntyre said. "You just crank it up another notch and now you're able to concentrate on the minute details more than just the basics of everything."
While no one was injured, the Buffs did welcome back several players who have been out with injuries for a while, including senior quarterback Sefo Liufau, who practiced for the first time since injuring his left foot on Nov. 13.
"He was able to go the entire practice and he did well," MacIntyre said. "As far as him moving around on his foot, there was no limping; throwing motion; nothing worried about pushing off the foot or landing on it. As far as all that type of stuff goes, there wasn't one hiccup whatsoever."
Linebacker Addison Gillam and left tackle Jeromy Irwin were also back at practice. They were both injured in the second game of the 2015 season and missed the rest of the year and the spring.
Defensive lineman Samson Kafovalu and outside linebacker N.J. Falo returned to practice. Both have spent the offseason suspended from team activities after off-the-field incidents this spring.
While he can practice, Falo will sit out the first three games as part of his discipline. Kafovalu will not be suspended for any games.
Running back Dino Gordon remains suspended, but the Buffs are hoping he'll return soon.
Walk-on Chris Helbig, from Holy Family High School, has switched from quarterback to safety. ... Niwot High School graduate Sean Larson, an offensive lineman, is no longer on the roster. He joined the team in the spring as a walk-on. ... Friday's practice, which runs from 7 to 9 a.m., is open to the public. It's one of just three practices open to the public this fall, along with Saturday (9:15 to 11:55 a.m.) and Aug. 13 (9:05 to 11:45 a.m.). The Buffs are using the lower practice fields.