Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
The college football world is starting to notice Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault.
He’s earning player of the week honors. He’s being discussed as a Heisman Trophy candidate. National publications are writing about him. ESPN is in Boulder this week to do a feature segment on him for their College GameDay show. His own quarterback compared him to one of the world’s most dynamic athletes.
And, how is Shenault dealing with the attention?
“I’m just going to keep doing me,” he said Tuesday while shrugging his shoulders. “I’m not really worried about it right now. I’m just worried about getting wins.”
The humility of Shenault is nearly as impressive as his performance this season for the 19th-ranked Buffaloes (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12), who will visit Southern California (3-2, 2-1) on Saturday.
The nation’s leading receiver, Shenault has 51 catches for 708 yards and six touchdowns, while adding four rushing touchdowns.
Seemingly every week, Shenault does something better than he did the week before. In Saturday’s 28-21 win against Arizona State, he scored four touchdowns — the first Buff to do that in five years.
“This is kind of a crazy comparison, but he’s kind of just like LeBron (James),” quarterback Steven Montez said. “He just constantly keeps getting better. You think, ‘Alright, he’s already played this well up to now, maybe he’ll have a slower game,’ and it’s just never like that. He just keeps doing more crazy stuff and just keeps getting better every week. I think that’s the scariest thing about him.”
While his teammates are marveling at Shenault’s performance, the sophomore from DeSoto, Texas, is simply doing what he can to help the Buffs continue their win streak.
“We have a want to win mindset,” he said. “It’s definitely different from last year.”
Having Shenault on their side gives the Buffs — and Montez — confidence.
“He’s a huge weapon and we use him a lot of different ways and he kind of does it all,” Montez said. “That’s very intimidating for a defense because I’m sure they’re thinking, ‘How are we going to stop this guy? How are we going to try to contain him in this game?’ And, I really don’t think you can because he can just do so many different things.
“He’s an animal. He’s a great ball player.”
Turnovers in short supply
During the three-game non-conference slate, the Buffs’ defense forced seven turnovers (four fumbles, three interceptions), with at least one in each game.
Through two Pac-12 games, the Buffs have yet to force a turnover.
“We’ve dropped a few picks we should have gotten,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “Both teams we played (UCLA and Arizona State) had good ball security; they took care of the football.
“We didn’t have any turnovers (on offense), either. If you do that, you’ll be OK, but we do need to make turnovers and I’m pretty sure (USC is) thinking they do too.”
Redshirt freshman lineman Jake Moretti played in 42 snaps during the first three games, but has yet to see the field during conference play. Co-offensive coordinator/line coach Klayton Adams said Moretti is continuing to battle his health as he recovers from a leg injury.
“We’re working through getting him healthy,” Adams said. “If we can get him to the point where he can be the best version of himself during a game for an extended period of time, he’s got the right skill set, the right mentality. He’s a very bright guy. He’s a fun guy to be around. He’s going to be an excellent player. We’ve got to get him healthy.”
Sophomore outside linebacker Jacob Callier tweeted Tuesday that surgery on his shoulder went well. Callier played the first four games, but opted to have season-ending surgery and use this season as his redshirt year. … Dating back to last season, CU’s offense has just 10 turnovers in the last 13 games, or one every 118.5 plays. … CU has not scored in the first half in either of the last two meetings with USC.