Senior safety and captain Afolabi Laguda is determined to make this year a special one for himself and the Buffs.

Now one of the leaders of the team, and especially in the secondary, he said he has put all of his energy into having a great year.

"I know this is my last ride and I know I have a future ahead of me, but none of that matters," he said recently. "What matters to me is getting back to Santa Clara (for the Pac-12 championship game). I made a lot of sacrifices with family, not being around my family, just for this team."

Coming together

With Laguda as one of the leaders, the CU secondary — which is aiming to replace three NFL draft picks from last season — is progressing.

Secondary coach ShaDon Brown said he's been pleased with the work the Buffs have put in during preseason camp.

Along with Laguda, the Buffs will lead on veterans such as Isaiah Oliver at cornerback and Ryan Moeller, Nick Fisher and Evan Worthington at safety. Redshirt freshman cornerback Trey Udoffia is one of the young players being counted on this season.

"I think we're starting to jell," Brown said. "I think guys are starting to understand that we have to play as one group back there. I've been harping on there's 11 people on the defense and everybody has a piece to the puzzle. If one pieces is not correct or missing, the puzzle doesn't work right or fit. A big part of that is communication and we're doing much better with that. I feel really good at this point."


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Notable

The Buffs will host the annual kickoff luncheon on Friday at Balch Fieldhouse. They will practice on Friday afternoon. ... CU will open practice to students on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at Franklin Field.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.