SALT LAKE CITY -- If Paul Richardson pulled off his Colorado football uniform for the final time Saturday after a 24-17 loss at Utah, he will be missed by everyone who loves the program.
If it wasn't his final game in black, silver and gold, he will be the biggest addition to the program for the 2014 season even though he's already on the team.
Richardson insisted he hasn't made up his mind about whether to turn pro or return for his senior season, but in using his Twitter account to thank coaches after the game he might have given the impression that he's done with the college game.
He said he plans to have an initial conversation with coach Mike MacIntyre about the subject on Monday and go from there. He has no time table in his mind for making a decision.
Richardson said he won't base his decision on what round he is projected to be drafted in by the NFL committee that advises underclassmen. He will lean on the advice of his family and coaches most of all.
"I value coach (Troy) Walters opinion, I value coach MacIntyre's opinion," Richardson said. "I know we're going to have a healthy discussion about it and they're not going to steer me in the wrong direction. I know whatever decision we come to together and make is going to be the right one for me."
Richardson made four catches for 54 yards in the season finale against the Utes. That effort capped the greatest single-season receiving performance in Colorado history.
He finished the year with new school records of 83 catches for 1,343 yards. He tied the record for touchdown catches in a season with 11.
If he does decide to forego his senior year, Richardson will leave ranked third in career receptions (156), fifth in career receiving yards (2,412) and second in career touchdowns (20). He would likely break all those records in the first two games next season if he returned.
MacIntyre previously said he would not try to talk Richardson into staying. Asked about that topic again Saturday, MacIntyre looked at the questioner and said, "What do you think?"
"Of course I want him to stay," MacIntyre said. "I'd love for him to stay. I need him here to break every record. There is so many things for him to do, but that's their decision and he's got to want to be here. I don't want him half here, half there. Then he's got a chance of getting hurt, he's not going to perform as well as he usually does. ... I'll be praying every night that he stays."
Linebacker Addison Gillam recorded 14 total tackles and the first interception of his career against the Utes, adding to his record-setting season with the Buffs.
Gillam finished the season as the first freshman in school history to lead the team in tackles for the season and just the sixth underclassman to do it. He recorded 118 total stops and might have broke teammate Greg Henderson's record for plays from scrimmage this season.
MacIntyre began boasting about Gillam in January and February last winter before the Buffs began spring ball. The coach predicted he would be a playmaker and now he believes Gillam should be honored for his achievements.
"To me, he's the best defensive freshman in the league," MacIntyre said. "...Addison Gillam to me definitely deserves defensive all-freshman Pac-12 and I think he should definitely be freshman All-American. I don't think there is anybody that has played better than him at Mike linebacker in the country."
Senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe appeared to force his sixth fumble of the season against the Utes on a play along the sideline when he tackled tight end Jake Murphy, who fell on the ball and recovered it.
The play will be reviewed by Utah and CU officials Sunday and if it is deemed a forced fumble, Uzo-Diribe could end up leading the nation in that category this season. He held the national lead coming into the game.
It would also put Uzo-Diribe in a tie former CU linebacker and linebackers coach Brian Cabral for the school record with 11 total forced fumbles in is career.
Tight end Scott Fernandez produced his career best receiving performance in his final game as a Buff. The senior caught four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. He came into the game with five catches for 36 yards in the other 11 games this season combined.
"It was nice to get some catches and get a touchdown, but I would have rather won the game," he said.
Good and bad records
Punter Darragh O'Neill tied the school record for punts in a season with 216 and broke the record for punts inside the 20 with 68. He also set a school record for punts inside the 10-yard line with his 10th of the season and 25th overall on Saturday.
MacIntyre praises Duke
MacIntyre stopped his postgame press conference to commend his friend and former boss David Cutcliffe, who led Duke to a 10-2 record and a spot in the ACC championship game.
"He should be national coach of the year no doubt whatsoever in my mind over anybody," he said. "I don't care who you say. To do that at Duke, unbelieveable."