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Colorado defensive back Sherrard Harrington was instrumental in helping coaches land three players from his Washington D.C. high school in the 2012 recruiting class.

A week into training camp, it's looking like two of those true freshman could earn their first college playing time before Harrington does.

Harrington redshirted in 2011 after suffering a hip and pelvis injury in the summer that hobbled him well into the winter. He managed to practice in the first half of spring ball this year before a bruised knee sent him back to the sideline.

Harrington recovered from that injury but then hurt himself again earlier this summer when he said he was doing extra work on his own. He said team trainers diagnosed him with a high-ankle sprain that has limited him so far in fall camp. He estimated on Saturday at the team's media day that he was 80 percent healthy. Monday was his first day back in practice and coach Jon Embree said he could tell.

"Haven't had a chance to see really anything out of him," Embree said.

Harrington said the series of setbacks have been tough to deal with, but he believes he's learned from his challenges early in his college career.

"I get frustrated at times, but through experience being here this year sitting out a whole season, I know how to cope with injuries now," Harrington said. "So I know how to read the playbook and things like that while I'm injured and try to be a mental leader. It's not really as frustrating as it was last year cause I know I'm right there and I'm going to keep studying my playbook until I'm ready."

Harrington was listed as the second team right cornerback behind Josh Moten on the first depth chart of fall camp. CU hasn't updated the depth chart yet, but Harrington said he has made the move to safety.

It's not the first time he has made the switch from cornerback to safety. He did the same thing in high school so that Kenneth Crawley, his old high school teammate, could move into the starting lineup as a cornerback when he was a freshman and Harrington was a sophomore.

Crawley is now a Buff and it's looking like history could repeat itself. Crawley is at least in the mix for a starting job, but there are still three weeks to go before the season kicks off against Colorado State. Crawley also is a strong candidate for the punt return job.

Cornerback John Walker and defensive end De'Jon Wilson also are true freshmen who came from Woodson High School in Washington D.C. Embree referred to the trio as the "D.C Three" on signing day.

Walker will redshirt this season after injuring his hand in the first week of practices. Wilson is competing for playing time on the defensive line.

"Those guys, I'm happy that they're doing what they're doing," Harrington said. "I think it's a great opportunity for them. I'm proud that they're staying focused and they're out there. All I can do is keep getting help until I'm ready to be out there."

Harrington says he tries to be a big brother to his friends. He said he answers any questions they have about football, the playbook, campus, classes, and Boulder.

"I spend a lot of time around them," Harrington said. "I treat them like my little brothers. I make sure on the weekends they're with me so they can stay out of trouble. I don't really let them go out. I tell them they're on a business trip. I promised their mothers that I was going to be a big brother for them and keep them focused. I make sure I am around them a lot."