From the moment he arrived at Colorado as a junior college transfer in January of 2016, receiver Kabion Ento has shown flashes of being a star for the Buffaloes.
Lately, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre has noticed something new about Ento.
"If you see him, he's stronger," MacIntyre said. "I always tease him, 'You have muscles now.'"
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Ento is listed as a senior, but with a crowded stable of receivers, he's spending the year redshirting, with plans of returning in 2018. The Buffs will lose senior starters Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross this offseason, opening up an opportunity for Ento next year.
"No, it wasn't tough," Ento said of agreeing to redshirt. "I had been to junior college for two years. Those two years counted against my eligibility, this year doesn't. It's just a year for me to hit the weight room, get bigger, get stronger, get faster and do everything. For me to have another year, that's all I'm happy about."
During the spring and summer, Ento was arguably CU's best receiver. But, considering the experienced talent ahead of him, he may not have had done much more than he did in 2016, when he caught eight passes for 174 yards.
With an eye on next year, Ento has spent this season working on his game and helping the defense as a scout team receiver.
"I feel like I've improved a lot, just coming and working hard, staying focused," he said. "That's the main thing, just staying focused and trying to do my best to give the (defensive backs) and the defense a look. I'm on scout team, so that's what I try to do best."
Ento is one of two senior playmakers taking the unique path of redshirting this season, along with running back Donovan Lee. With Phillip Lindsay graduating after this season, Lee will have an opportunity to make a bigger impact in 2018 than he could have this year.
The opportunity to get Ento and Lee back next year is exciting for MacIntyre.
"They're both good players that would get more playing time next year than they would this year," he said. "They would help us and they're great kids."