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This wasn’t what Kabion Ento envisioned when he opted to take a redshirt season a year ago.
Ento figured the 2017 receiving corps that already included three experienced and decorated pass-catching seniors in Devin Ross, Shay Fields and Bryce Bobo didn’t necessarily need his services. With an eye on playing a bigger role in his final collegiate season, Ento ultimately decided to push his senior year to 2018.
So far, Ento hasn’t played much more than he did while redshirting a year ago. That could change this week, as a battered group of receivers attempts to regroup along with the rest of the Colorado Buffaloes ahead of Saturday’s visit to No. 15 Washington (1:30 p.m. MT, FOX).
If Ento is frustrated by compiling only two receptions for 14 yards through six games so far, it doesn’t show. Instead, he believes he is more than ready to contribute if his number is called Saturday.
“It’s not frustrating,” Ento said. “Of course I’d like to be out there more often. But I play on special teams, and whatever my job is I’ll do. That’s one thing I’ve always told myself — make sure you do your job. Of course I’d like to have big numbers and everything. But that’s just not how it is. Balls are going to come my way, and when they do I’ve got to make the most of them.
“It’s really not frustrating. It’s just part of the game. I understand it. Sometimes you just have to do your job and move on.”
Those opportunities might finally arrive for Ento this week. On Tuesday, CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said his son, senior receiver Jay MacIntyre, remains in the concussion protocol after absorbing a brutal head-to-the-turf hit during the Buffs’ loss at USC. Laviska Shenault, who remains the national leader in receiving yards per game (130) and receptions per game, still is considered day-to-day due to a toe injury.
In addition to players like Ento, who posted eight receptions for 174 yards and two touchdowns in 2016, and Jaylon Jackson, the redshirt freshman who made the first two receptions of his career at USC after two seasons of injuries, the hobbled group of receivers may get another jolt of reinforcement with the possible return of Juwann Winfree. The senior recorded seven receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown through the first two games but has been sidelined for four consecutive games due to an ankle injury.
“He was practicing (Tuesday), so that’s encouraging,” CU co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. “He’s had a high ankle (sprain) and you just never know the timetable on them. Sometimes it’s four to six weeks. Sometimes it’s six to eight weeks. I’ve seen guys when I was playing pro football be out for the year with high ankle sprains. He’s getting closer though. It’s the first time I’ve seen him try to go today.”
Chiaverini also echoed Ento’s own sentiments regarding the senior’s lack of playing time so far this season. Likewise, he expects Ento to respond if he gets his chance against the Huskies.
“It’s not so much what Kabion hasn’t done. It’s more about what KD Nixon has done,” Chiaverini said. “But Kabion is a kid who works really hard, knows the offense, and he’s going to be ready next week. I think he’s going to make plays for us.”