The last time Colorado receiver Juwann Winfree played in a Division I college football game, he was a true freshman at Maryland, catching a pass in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 30, 2014.
“I was just looking forward to the future,” said Winfree, who seemed to be a potential star for the Terrapins at that time.
“I never knew what I was going to go through, the path that God had for me. Everything is scripted through Him. I’m just following the script and just going to continue to praise Him and see wherever he leads me and do what I can do. You can’t control everything. Just control what you can control and just think positive.”
On Friday, Winfree will make his return to Division I football and make his much-anticipated debut with CU, when the Buffaloes take on rival Colorado State at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“The excitement level is off the charts right now, to be honest,” Winfree said Tuesday. “I couldn’t wait to start this week and just get into it. Anytime there’s a game, my level of everything goes up: excitement, attention, focus – all of that is going up. I’m just ready to prove and show what I can do.”
A 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior, Winfree was dismissed from Maryland in the summer of 2015 for a violation of the school’s student-athlete code of conduct. He then transferred to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, where he caught 55 passes for 837 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2015 season.
After that season at Coffeyville, Winfree committed to play at Pittsburgh, but instead chose to sign with the Buffs. Early in preseason camp in 2016, some thought Winfree was the best receiver on the team. Then, he tore his left ACL and missed the entire 2016 season.
Despite battling some knee soreness in camp this month, Winfree said he has “pushed through everything and I feel that I’m ready.”
“I feel great, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve worked hard this whole offseason and through this camp. I feel my confidence is back up and I’m feeling great mentally and I’m just ready.”
While all four starters are back at receiver — seniors Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross and junior Jay MacIntyre — Winfree is expected to be a major contributor to the offense.
He’s just happy to be back on the field.
“It’s been two years,” he said. “I really missed it. When I’m in that stadium and suited up and the lights are back on, I might shed a tear it’s been so long for me.
“This is my game. I love this sport and the fact that I’m back, it just means so much to me. I’m just ready to show off.”