After spending the offseason recovering from a torn ACL in his knee, Colorado tight end Jared Poplawki faces another long recovery process.

CU head coach Mike MacIntyre announced Tuesday that Poplawski suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder last week in practice and will miss this season. Poplawski had surgery on Tuesday.

"His knee is fine, but he tore his shoulder," MacIntyre said. "It's a shame."

Poplawski was injured on the final play of a practice last week, during a field goal, MacIntyre said. Poplawski suffered a torn ACL in pregame of the Buffs' game against USC last year, but played in the game.

A true sophomore from Scottsdale, Ariz., Poplawski was one of only three scholarship tight ends on the roster before walk-on Brady Russell was awarded a scholarship on Friday.

Jared Poplawski
Jared Poplawski

Junior Chris Bounds is the Buffs' top tight end, but Poplawski's injury highlights the importance of Russell's emergence and the rapid growth of junior college transfer Darrion Jones.

A redshirt freshman from Fossil Ridge High School, Russell has had a great camp for the Buffs and figures to play a key role on special teams and at tight end.

"It's very important," MacIntyre said of Russell's emergence. "We'd love to have Pop, but we're glad we have Brady and Darrion Jones and Chris bounds. They're doing a good job."

Jones' development could be the key to the group. A junior who came to CU from Los Angeles Harbor College in January, Jones has exceptional size (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) and skill, but is still learning the offense. CU asks more of its tight ends than Jones was asked to do at LAHC.


"He's doing really well," MacIntyre said of Jones. "He was a little bit behind when he first got here in the spring, but ... what happens a lot of times, the junior college kids or high school kids that come in January, they're kind of lost. But, he's made some big catches, he's blocked well, he's moving around better. He's really kept improving."

MacIntyre also said walk-on Derek Coleman, from Legacy High School, is "doing a good job."

Still battling at QB

Sophomore Sam Noyer and redshirt freshman Tyler Lytle are still fighting for the No. 2 quarterback job, behind junior starter Steven Montez.

"They're all still battling," MacIntyre said. "Both Tyler and Sam have done a good job. We've been pleased with (true freshman Blake Stenstrom) also. That's all been a good competition and they're all doing well."

The Buffs like the talent in all their quarterbacks, but MacIntyre said the pecking order behind Montez "hasn't been solidified completely yet."

On the mend

The Buffs have a pair of true freshman offensive linemen — Kanan Ray and Casey Roddick — that are recovering from knee injuries. MacIntyre said both are coming along, but both are likely to redshirt this season.

Ray, a 6-4, 280-pound prospect from Sierra Canyon (Calif.) High School, came to CU in January after originally committing to UCLA. He graduated high school in 2017 and sat out last season and this spring as he recovers.

"He is doing really well," MacIntyre said. "His quad is getting stronger and stronger. He still hasn't been released yet to go full, but he is getting there. We're excited about Kanan Ray's future. Hopefully we can get him back midway through the season or here in the next month or so and be able to play him a little bit."

The 6-4, 340-pound Roddick, from Ventura, Calif., was also a 2017 graduate who grayshirted. He also sat out of spring practice with his knee injury.

"Roddick is really improving with his injury, too," MacIntyre said. "We should get him back here in the next month and see how things pan out from there."

With the NCAA's new redshirt rule, both could play in up to four games and maintain their redshirt status.


Competition at cornerback continues, with several players still in the mix for starting roles. Two key players in that competition returned to practice this week. Redshirt freshman Chris Miller and sophomore Trey Udoffia had both missed some time with injuries, but both were full-go for the first time on Tuesday. ... The 30th annual Boulder Chamber Colorado Football Kickoff Luncheon will take place Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Balch Fieldhouse.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or