Replacing Lindsay

Next year, the Colorado football team will have to replace star running back Phillip Lindsay, who is set to graduate. Here's a look at the top veterans expected to compete for the job:

Beau Bisharat

2018 class: Junior

Size: 6-foot-2, 215 pounds

2017 stats: 21 carries, 61 yards, 0 TD; receiving: 1 catch, 6 yards

Career stats: 36 carries, 106 yards, 0 TD; receiving: 1 catch, 6 yards

Outlook: Bisharat has been the No. 2 back this season and Hagan likes his potential. "Beau is getting better," Hagan said. "He doesn't have that long speed, but he has that quickness and that toughness that you like."

Kyle Evans

2018 class: Senior

Size: 5-7, 175

2017 stats: 2 carries, 2 yards, 0 TD; receiving: 1 catch, 6 yards

Career stats: 104 carries, 400 yards, 4 TD; receiving: 10 catches, 128 yards

Outlook: Evans was the No. 2 back in 2016, rushing for 346 yard and 3 TD. After an offseason hip injury, he returned early this season, but has rarely been on the field. Hagan likes the experience Evans will bring to the position next year, however.

Alex Fontenot

2018 class: Redshirt freshman

Size: 6-0, 190

2017 stats: Redshirting

Outlook: Perhaps the most exciting of the group, in terms of his potential, the Buffs like what he brings to the table in terms of his size and speed. He just needs experience and to prove himself in games.

Donovan Lee

2018 class: Senior

Size: 5-9, 180

2017 stats: Redshirting

Career stats: 85 carries, 422 yards, 3 TD; receiving: 46 catches, 244 yards, 1 TD

Outlook: The Buffs decided to use Lee's redshirt so that he could make more of an impact next year. In the past, he has shown flashes of being an exciting player. Lindsay believes this year helped Lee refocus. "Donovan is going to be hard to keep off the field," Lindsay said. "He's making plays out there right now."

Alex Fontenot can't help but smile when he thinks about the frustration he has sometimes caused for the Colorado linebackers during practice.

"If it's one-on-one in the hole, you're not getting me," said Fontenot, a true freshman running back that is redshirting with the Buffs this season. "I've shown that on scout team and it's kind of funny because (the linebackers) will be getting mad sometimes."

The CU linebackers will be just fine with it if Fontenot can frustrate opposing defenders in future years.

With this season winding down - the Buffs (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12) play their regular season finale on Nov. 25 at Utah - one of the biggest questions going into 2018 is: How will CU replace Phillip Lindsay?

A sensational senior, Lindsay is second on CU's all-time rushing list with 3,635 yards, and he's the first player in program history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He came into this weekend ranking fourth nationally with 1,402 yards this season.

While Lindsay has been spectacular, there's been virtually no contribution from the backups. Sophomore Beau Bisharat is second among CU running backs with 61 yards on 21 carries, while senior Michael Adkins II has 25 yards on 15 carries. The only other back with a rushing attempt is junior Kyle Evans, who has two yards on two carries.

Barring career-high performances from Bisharat or Evans in the finale, they'll both finish with less than 100 yards. Since CU began keeping stats in 1946, the Buffs have never gone into a season without a running back that didn't get at least 100 yards the year before, but they are likely to do just that in 2018.

Running backs coach Darian Hagan doesn't seem too concerned, however.

"Fans shouldn't worry about the running back position, because we've developed guys," Hagan said. "Next year it'll be by committee until one guy just displays that he deserves the carries and to be the No. 1 guy."

That No. 1 guy could be Fontenot, who has spent this season getting his feet wet - and turning heads - with the scout team.

"I think he's going to be real good," Lindsay said. "He's young, he's real fast and he's just raw talent. He's going to be one that is going to explode out. I can just see it happening. I don't know if it's going to be next year or when he's a junior and senior, but he's going to explode out because that's the type of kid he is."

Hagan said Fontenot "is going to be special."

"He is a guy that he's a home run hitter," Hagan said. "He'll stick his foot in the ground and he'll go 80 yards."

At 6-feet tall and 190 pounds, Fontenot is lanky, but said he wants to put another five or 10 pounds on his frame before next year, and he's been encouraged by how this season has gone for him.

"It's going pretty good, just going on scout team and showing what I can do," he said. "Biggest lessons I've learned, go hard every play and don't take off because coaches will notice that and they will call you out for it."

Fontenot is hoping to take the lessons he's learned this year into spring drills, where he'll have an opportunity to fight for a starting role.

"It's something I'm excited about, just to show what I can do and hopefully I can get it," he said.

In addition to Bisharat, Evans, Fontenot and Lee, the Buffs are also hoping to sign a couple of running backs in the 2018 class. Currently, they have two committed: Jarek Broussard, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound three-star prospect from Dallas; and Deion Smith, a 5-foot-11, 177-pound three-star prospect from Houston.

Coaches are not allowed to talk specifically about unsigned recruits, but Hagan said he believes the Buffs are adding a pair of special backs that can compete for playing time next year.

While the Buffs aren't sure who will be carrying the load next year, they do know that it'll be much different without Lindsay.

"At the end of the day, the show must go on, whether I'm there or not," Lindsay said.

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