• Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Steven Montez has the ideal size, athleticism and arm strength to play in the NFL.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Steven Montez completed 258-of-399 passes for 2,849 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Colorado quarterback Steven Montez needs 2,728 passing yards to break Sefo Liufau's all-time mark.



A year from now, Steven Montez could be putting his name atop the Colorado record book in just about every major passing category.

During the next few weeks, however, Montez has to decide if he wants to chase records — and a bowl game appearance — or his dream of playing in the National Football League.

Following Colorado’s 33-21 loss to California in the season finale on Saturday in Berkeley, Calif., the talented junior quarterback said he’s not sure what he’ll decide to do next season.

“That’s a decision I’m going to have to have with my family and, to be honest, I don’t think right now is the time to make the decision,” he said after an emotional night when the Buffaloes (5-7, 2-7 Pac-12) lost for the seventh straight week to finish out of contention for a bowl berth. “I think that’s going to come later on. We’ll see what happens.”

At 6 feet, 5 inches and 230 pounds, Montez has the ideal size, athleticism and arm strength to play in the NFL. He also proved many times — especially on Saturday — that he’s got some developmental work to do to play at an elite level.

Montez had a solid season all around for the Buffs, but his three interceptions on Saturday — two of which were returned for touchdowns to put the Buffs in an 14-0 hole less than two minutes into the game — were costly. On both throws, Montez was tricked by the Bears’ defense, who disguised the pass coverage.

CU interim head coach Kurt Roper, who has been Montez’s position coach all year, acknowledged there’s some growth that needs to be made in Montez’s game, but also praised the junior.

“I think Steven, the sky is the limit,” Roper said. “I think we all can grow. We grow as coaches each year, and I think players grow each year.”

Roper said reading defenses better is a challenge for a quarterback, but, “I think he can be really good at it.”

For the season, Montez completed 258-of-399 passes for 2,849 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His completion percentage (64.7) and yardage total both rank fifth for a single season in CU history.

Montez’s final numbers were fairly similar to his numbers in 2017, when he completed 228-of-377 passes for 2,975 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

For his career, Montez ranks fourth in CU history with 6,841 passing yards — needing 2,728 to break Sefo Liufau’s mark. Montez is also third with 46 touchdown passes — 14 shy of the mark held by Liufau and Cody Hawkins.

“As of right now, I’m a Colorado Buffalo and I want to finish my fifth year,” said Montez, who has started 24 consecutive games and has a career record of 12-15 as a starter. “That’s what I want to do, at this point right now.”

CU’s direction with the coaching staff could play a role, though.

Last week, CU fired head coach Mike MacIntyre and athletic director Rick George is currently searching for a full-time replacement. Montez lobbied for Roper, whom he has credited for making a huge difference in his game this year.

“I think coach Roper is a damn good coach,” Montez said. “I think if we can keep coach Rope around, that would be huge. That would be huge for the program going forward. It would definitely be huge for me and my career going forward, getting better and improving as a quarterback. This man, coach Roper, he’s a really good coach.”

Asked if Roper’s status will play into his decision to return or leave, Montez said, “We kind of have to see where the cards fall and then we’ll make our decision after that.”


Senior running back Travon McMillian, who rushed for 1,009 yards in his lone season at CU, said he will take a few weeks off before he starts training for a shot at the NFL. … Saturday’s game was the first of the season in which CU never held the lead. … After a Derrion Rakestraw interception vs. Arizona on Nov. 2, the Buffs were plus-8 on turnover margin for the season. From that point on, they were minus-12 (12 turnovers, 0 takeaways). … Linebacker Rick Gamboa played in his 50th career game on Saturday, tying a school record (held by Jimmie Gilbert) for a defensive player.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or