Sophomore outside linebacker Dante Sparaco has decided to leave the Colorado football program and transfer to another school.

According to CU, Sparaco consulted with his family over spring break last week and informed head coach Mike MacIntyre of his decision.

"Dante is a fine young man and we wish him well with his future endeavors," MacIntyre said in a press release.

There is no indication at this time where Sparaco could transfer in the future.

It's a surprising loss for the Buffs, as Sparaco had a good spring and was expected to compete for a starting job in the fall. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder was listed second-team on the final depth chart released in the spring.

Part of the 2017 recruiting class, Sparaco played last season as a true freshman, seeing time in seven games, on special teams and at outside linebacker.

Sparaco played 32 snaps on defense in the first four games and recorded half a sack in the season opener against Colorado State. He finished with three tackles. After the first four games, he did not play on defense again. He played in three more games on special teams and then missed time with a broken hand.

Prior to CU, Sparaco attended three different high schools, playing his first two years at Glenwood Springs before transferring to Cherry Creek as a junior. Before his senior year, he went to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.


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One of the Buffs' first commitments in the 2017 class, Sparaco enrolled at CU in January of 2017 and had hoped to make a big impact last fall.

"It was disappointing, especially coming in here in the spring," Sparaco said at the end of the 2017 season. "I thought I performed pretty well in the spring and thought I had a pretty good shot to play. That's just football for you. You never know what's going to happen."

Although he was disappointed with the 2017 season, Sparaco said last fall that he felt it was a "great year for me, mentally and physically. I'm definitely excited for the beginning of next season."

CU lost last year's starter, Derek McCartney, to graduation, while top backups Terran Hasselbach and Michael Mathewes decided to forego their final year of eligibility and graduate.

That left the door open for Sparaco and others, including true sophomore Jacob Callier, who was a pass-rush specialist last year and finished the spring atop the depth chart at one outside position.

Sparaco's departure continues an overhaul at outside linebacker. The Buffs have now lost five outside linebackers from last year's team, including redshirt sophomore reserve Sam Bennion, who elected this spring to move on from football and focus on academics.

Despite losing Sparaco and the others, the Buffs still have good depth at the position. In their 3-4 base defense, the Buffs list two starting spots at outside linebacker, but typically only one is on the field.

In addition to Callier, the Buffs listed junior Nu'umotu Falo as a starter at the end of spring. Dismissed from the team last summer, Falo is aiming for a starting spot this year.

Another 2017 signee, Carson Wells, had a great spring, and the Buffs are set to add junior college transfer Alex Tchangam this summer.

Junior Shamar Hamilton and incoming freshman Joshka Gustav will also compete this fall.

Sparaco's departure brings the Buffs to a projected 85 scholarship players for the fall, which is right at the NCAA maximum.

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