More than two months after his breakout season came to a close, Colorado’s Laviska Shenault still has the evidence of his grueling campaign.
His left arm in a sling after surgery for a torn labrum, the rising junior is also recovering from surgery for a toe injury.
“I’m way better than I was,” he said with a smile.
Shenault caught 86 passes for 1,011 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing for 115 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games last season. His 9.6 catches per game led the country and he was considered a contender for the Heisman Trophy midway through the season.
After his sensational six-game start, however, Shenault missed three games with a toe injury, which wasn’t fully healed when he returned for the final three games.
Then, in the Buffs’ 30-7 loss to Utah on Nov. 17, he suffered a torn labrum. Shenault played the season finale at California while dealing with both injuries, yet still caught seven passes for 65 yards.
Since the season came to an end, Shenault said he’s been “rehabbing, rehabbing, rehabbing,” but he will not participate in spring practices.
“I’m feeling good now,” he said. “I’m extremely excited (about the progress). I cannot wait until the day they say I’m cleared. It’s going to be hard not going through spring, but I’m here for the support.”
Shenault said he doesn’t expect to be cleared by doctors until the summer, but is trying to maintain a positive attitude as he looks forward to next season.
“It’s definitely hard, because I feel like I put basically everything into this and not being able to play for even a little bit is kind of aggravating,” he said. “I’m just going to trust the process. Mentally, I just know I’ll be back before the season, so that’s good.”
Leading up to his junior year, Shenault is sure to get a lot of attention because of how he played last season. True to his nature, though, he had no interest in reviewing his breakout season.
“Let’s keep the past in the past,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this upcoming season and the future and I’m just going to keep going hard no matter what. I know everything happens for a reason, so I’m going to keep grinding and trust the process.”
For Shenault and the Buffs, the process now includes a new head coach, Mel Tucker, and several new assistants. Players haven’t spent much time with their new coaches this offseason, but Shenault said, “Oh yeah, I’m definitely excited (about Tucker). It just feels right.”
The process has also included a new attitude in the weight room, and while Shenault can’t work as hard as he’d like to right now, he’s been impressed with the work being done by the Buffs.
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s good, positive energy.”
Shenault is bringing his own positive energy, despite the physical limitations. Not even a pair of injuries and months of rehabilitation can stop the talented receiver.
“I can only do certain things, but I am working out,” he said. “I’m never sitting around.”