Three years after arriving at Colorado with high hopes, Deaysean Rippy is still trying to find a spot on the Buffaloes' defense.
A senior linebacker, Rippy wrapped up his final spring last weekend with four tackles in the spring game and hope that this is finally his year.
"That's why it's a big summer for me," he said. "It's my last go-round and you never know, I may not be able to play football after this year. It means a lot for me this year and I truly do have to buckle down and focus and be a pro for the most part."
A cousin of former CU linebacker Doug Rippy, Deaysean arrived at CU during the summer of 2013, just as Doug was finishing his career in Boulder. A transfer from Pittsburgh, Deaysean was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and there was plenty of hype about his arrival.
Rippy redshirted in 2013 and hasn't played a single snap on defense yet. He played six games (all on special teams) in 2014 and dressed for just one game last year, without playing. He said he dealt with lower back problems last season.
Rippy has viewed this spring and the upcoming season as a fresh start for himself.
"Right now, this year, they've been feeling me out on different positions," he said. "I used to play middle linebacker and now I'm at an outside spot and getting a lot of reps with the first team and trying to leave a trademark and solidify a spot, or maybe as a backup."
Senior Jimmie Gilbert, junior Derek McCartney and sophomore NJ Falo are all slated ahead of Rippy at outside linebacker, but he's still working to get into the mix.
"The big offseason key for me is going to be understanding the defense, especially the outside linebacker position," he said.
Rippy said he'll definitely play on special teams and has been learning a lot from Gilbert and McCartney this offseason.
"As an outside linebacker group, we push each other," he said.
With the season opener less than five months away, the Buffaloes still don't know who will be the starter at quarterback. It could be senior Sefo Liufau, transfer Davis Webb or freshman Steven Montez.
Regardless, two of CU's top receivers said they'll be ready
"If we get a healthy Sefo and Davis does come, we have threats three deep," junior Shay Fields said.
Fields has spent the past two years catching passing from Liufau and the entire spring catching passes from Montez.
"Everybody feels confident in either one of them," Fields said. "We already know what Sefo can do and Montez has proven a lot to us. We feel confident in both of them."
Webb has committed to transfer to CU but is still exploring his options, so the Buffs don't know if he'll be here or not.
Junior Devin Ross said he loves playing with Liufau and was impressed with Montez's work this spring while Liufau was injured. But he's also excited about possibly adding Webb.
"I'm just ready for whoever comes in and I want them to compete and may the best man win," Ross said. "We're ready to support whoever. I'm just ready for whoever knows the offense."
Linebacker Addison Gillam, who missed the final 11 games of 2015 and all of spring ball with a knee injury, said he expects to be fully healthy by the time fall camp starts in August. ... Liufau, who is recovering from a Lisfranc injury to his left food, said he is working out sometimes two or three times a day. "The rehab is going well," he said recently. "It's hard work, but it's fun and I enjoy it right now."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.