• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's George Frazier, left, will contribute on offense and defense this season.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado's Dante Sparaco could be ready to see playing time as a freshman this season.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado running back Michael Adkins has just 11 rushing attempts in the last 25 games due to injuries.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera

    Colorado safety Afolabi Laguda is the only returning starter in the Buffs' secondary.



The majority of camp is closed to media and public, so it would be difficult to actually watch these guys, but here are some players to pay attention to this camp and this season:


Players with a lot of experience who need to go to another level:

TE/DE George Frazier, Sr.: One of the most versatile and team-oriented players on the roster, he will help out on offense and defense this year. He’s also one of the best leaders on the team.

LB Rick Gamboa, Jr.: For the past two years, he’s been a starter and a steady performer, but others around him get more attention. He should be more of a leader this year.

OL Jeromy Irwin, Sr.: The returning starter at left tackle, he played a lot at guard in the spring. Wherever he lines up, the Buffs need him to be a rock for the line and lead the others.

S Afolabi Laguda, Sr.: He’s a returning starter, but steps into a bigger role — especially as a leader — this season. He’s expected to be head of a revamped secondary.

QB Steven Montez, So.: He’s now the starter and a lot will be expected of him. He’s shown the ability, the confidence and some of the leadership needed to excel. But, can he do it every day?


True freshmen who could see the field and make an impact this year:

WR K.D. Nixon: There’s a lot of talent packed into his 5-foot-8, 180-pound frame and it might be tough to keep him off the field. He could help as a receiver, runner and returner.

OLB Dante Sparaco: He enrolled in January and has already impressed coaches and teammates. It would be a surprise if Sparaco doesn’t play and contribute this year.

TE Jared Poplawski: CU hasn’t thrown much to its tight ends under MacIntyre, but Poplawski might have the best skillset of anyone they’ve had. If he’s physically and mentally ready, he could make an impact.

LB Carson Wells: Depth at inside linebacker is thin, and the Buffs will need a freshman to prove ready to play. With good size and exceptional speed, Wells could be the man.

PK James Stefanou: At 30, he’s the oldest player on the team, but the Australian has never played American football. He was signed to bring some stability to the kicking game.

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Players CU fans haven’t seen in a while, but could have a big impact this season:

RB Michael Adkins, Sr.: Injuries have damaged his career, but two years ago, he was the top tailback on the team. He’s rushed for 1,175 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career, but has just 11 rushing attempts in the last 25 games. If healthy, he could be a great asset in the backfield.

LB Derek McCartney, Sr.: A torn ACL in the third game of the 2016 season derailed that campaign. He comes into camp healthy and is expected to take over his starting job at outside linebacker. He has 25 career starts and is eyeing a big year.

S Evan Worthington, Jr.: He hasn’t played since 2015 and hasn’t made much of an impact on defense since 2014. Worthington was buried on the depth chart in 2015 and then was dismissed from the team in January of 2016. He had an exceptional spring and figures to be on the field a lot this season.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or