It's not often that linebackers get the assignment of returning kickoffs, but true freshman Ryan Severson is not the typical linebacker.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder from San Jose, Calif., has the tools that Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre was looking for to fill the kick return role.

"He's extremely fast; he's a 10.6(-second), 100-meter guy," said MacIntyre, whose son, Jay, played with Severson at Valley Christian High School. "He's very durable."

Severson, who played linebacker and running back, along with returning kicks, in high school, impressed CU's coaches throughout the fall. It was evident early in camp that Severson would not be redshirting.

"I'm very excited. I came out and had a great fall camp," said Severson, who rushed for 1,951 yards and 32 touchdowns as a high school senior last year and was named the San Jose Mercury News offensive player of the year. "I got some playing time on special teams, which I'm excited for."

In Colorado's season opener, sophomore Marques Mosley was the deep man on kickoff returns, with Severson also back. In Week 2, against Central Arkansas, it was Severson lining up deep.

UCA's first two kicks went into the end zone for touchbacks. On Severson's first opportunity at a return, he fumbled the ball and it went out of bounds at the 2-yard line, pinning the offense deep. Not the start he wanted.


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"I was so excited, because it was finally the first time I was going to actually get to return," Severson said of that play. "All the other times I just had to knee it down. I took my eyes of it for a quick second with the excitement, and then (the fumble) happened. I was down and walked off to the sideline and coach was there and he said, 'Keep your head up and get them next time.'"

On his next chance, Severson had a nice return of 29 yards. His last chance was a solid, 21-yard return.

"I was so thankful to get another chance," Severson said. "That's all I wanted at that point. I just wanted to get one more chance at it just to show myself and I did."

MacIntyre gave Severson another chance because he likes the potential Severson has in this role.

"He's young and he'll keep getting better and better," MacIntyre said. "He had a good one the other night and he'll end up breaking a couple, for sure, before it's over."

Severson also said he's been comfortable at linebacker and that he's done a good job of picking up the CU defense. There could be an opportunity for him down the road at linebacker, too.

"I do see a future for him as a linebacker, especially in today's football when you need speed and athleticism on the field," MacIntyre said. "He's kind of that guy."

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