Beau Bisharat was nearly ready to make the move in December.
For years, he had heard about his potential as a linebacker. Several Pac-12 schools, including California and Oregon — where his father was a running back nearly 40 years ago — loved the idea of him wreaking havoc in the middle of their defenses for several years.
A four-star prospect from Sacramento who was recruited by just about everybody in the Pac-12, Bisharat ultimately picked Colorado because the Buffaloes offered him a chance to play running back.
Throughout his first three years with the Buffs, however, Bisharat has carried the ball only 57 times for 249 yards, while playing behind standout running backs Phillip Lindsay and Travon McMillian. He's also been a special teams star, but he's never been able to shake the word "linebacker," as many people have wondered when — or if — he would make the switch. Even teammates have wondered.
"Nate (Landman) really wanted me to come over there and play with him," Bisharat said, referring to the Buffs' star junior linebacker.
After he didn't touch the ball in the last eight games (two of which he missed because of injury) of the 2018 season, Bisharat began to wonder if it was time. Head coach Mike MacIntyre was fired in November and replaced by Mel Tucker in December, and Bisharat was almost ready to concede.
"I really was thinking about going to talk to coach Tucker about playing linebacker with Nate," he said.
Then, he listened to Tucker talk publicly about his philosophy on offense, and his desire to pound the ball with big, physical running backs. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bisharat was re-energized and flushed those linebacker thoughts.
"I'm really excited about this new offense because I feel like it fits my style better," Bisharat said Wednesday, after the Buffs' second practice of spring. "The last offense was a little bit harder for me. I'm more of a downhill kind of guy; I'm not as much of a finesse guy who is going to be able to bounce all the way outside. I like this offense a lot better. It's more downhill and the holes are a lot more definitive, for me at least, so I think it's a lot better for me."
As a rising senior, Bisharat is rolling the dice one more time. More so than at any time in his career at CU, the running back position is wide open. In fact, he's the most experienced back on the roster.
Although there is plenty of young talent, including true freshman early enrollee Jaren Mangham, Bisharat's opportunity to win a starting job, or at least a prominent role, has never been better.
"My heart has always been at running back," said Bisharat, who has had first-team reps early in spring. "It's opportunity. We're all competing and we're in good competition right now."
Bisharat knows, however, that it's fair to wonder if he made the right position choice coming out of high school.
"I've always had defensive coaches tell me I could have been a first round pick at linebacker," he said.
Ability is only part of the equation, though, and Bisharat feels content with his choice because he followed his heart.
"You also have to bring the competitive love for that position to be a first-round draft pick," he said. "You have to love it and really want to do it. I just don't really like defense that much."
Bisharat loves offense, though, and with his size and desire to succeed, he just might find a role in the Buffaloes' new offense.
"For me, it's too early to tell," offensive coordinator Jay Johnson said. "I think I'll have a better idea after three or four more days, once we get the pads on. I do like (Bisharat's) physical size and I do think he has the ability to run."
There's also a lot of talent in the younger group, which includes Mangham, sophomore Alex Fontenot, and freshmen Jarek Broussard, Deion Smith and Joe Davis.
"They show like they have a lot of burst," Johnson said.
Bisharat, however, is hoping his ability stands out and results in a bigger role than he's ever had.
"We have a really good group of guys and I think I do bring that different style to the game," he said.