Statistics suggest that Colorado sophomore Laviska Shenault is one of the best receivers in the country in the early stages of the college football season.

It's how Shenault is achieving his success that really impresses UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, however.

After both teams' bye this week, CU (3-0) will host UCLA (0-3) on Sept. 28, and Kelly said Shenault certainly has his attention.

"They may have the best receiver in the league right now," Kelly said during Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches teleconference.

Shenault leads the country with 151.7 receiving yards per game, while ranking fourth with 8.7 catches per game. Of the 21 players nationally with 20-plus catches this season, Shenault's 17.5-yards per catch average ranks third.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly and the Bruins have started slow this season and are winless in three games.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly and the Bruins have started slow this season and are winless in three games. (Harry How / Getty Images)

Overall, Shenault has 26 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored a rushing touchdown out of the wildcat formation against Nebraska in week 2.

Shenault has already lined up this season as outside receiver, slot receiver, H-back, tailback and wildcat quarterback.

"It is dangerous when you have a player that can line up in so many different spots," Kelly said. "You see it a lot in the National Football League. You're going to have one guy shadow a guy, but then they line him up all over the place. It tells you the type of player he is, because not everybody can do that. That's a lot easier said than done, to be able to learn different positions and be effective at that many different positions."


CU head coach Mike MacIntyre and co-offensive coordinators Darrin Chiaverini and Klayton Adams recognized Shenault's unique talent this offseason and knew they had to maximize his potential.

"Give Mike and his staff credit for putting the young man in places where he can be productive, and then give him credit for being able to handle all of that stuff," Kelly said. "Not every player can play multiple positions and excel at it, and he obviously is.

"He'll have a lot of our focus when we play them the following Friday."

Shenault has scored at least one touchdown in each game and said after Saturday's 45-14 win against New Hampshire, "I envisioned me playing well, but I didn't envision me playing this well."

As a team, CU has surprised some around the country with its 3-0 start, considering many pundits put the Buffs at the bottom of the Pac-12 South going into the season. Kelly said he's not surprised.

Aside from Shenault, Kelly praised quarterback Steven Montez and said the Buffs are "really well coached" on defense.

"I see a really well-coached football team, I see a good football team," Kelly said. "Maybe all those people that had them at the bottom of the league don't know what they're talking about. I think Mike's done an outstanding job there.

"I think Colorado is a really good football, so whoever said they thought they were at the bottom probably doesn't know anything about football."

McMillian settling in

Topping the 100-yard mark twice in the first three games, CU senior running back Travon McMillian has certainly made his mark already.

A graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, McMillian came to CU this summer and Montez said he could tell right away that the Buffs would be in good shape at running back.

"When he got here, I know of knew," Montez said. "I was like, alright this dude's got a little something about him. He's something serious.

"He's playing great."

McMillian has 290 yards in the first three games, but Montez said he's also been pleased with the play of Kyle Evans, Beau Bisharat and Alex Fontenot.

"We've got depth, not just as the receiving position, but we've got depth at the running back position, as well," Montez said.


Sophomore linebacker Nate Landman said the key to the Buffs continuing their success after the bye week it to do what they've done so far. "We came into these three (non-conference) games and just wanted to play Colorado football," he said. "It's now league play and there's definitely going to be a more heightened sense of do your job better. But, our mindset is to come in, play Colorado football and if we do that I think we'll be great." ... MacIntyre was the only coach to not participate in Tuesday's teleconference, as he was apparently in the mountains and was unable to be reached.

Brian Howell:, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.