Switch to safety a welcome one for CU Buffs’ Trey Udoffia

Former corner brings added bulk to new spot

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Trey Udoffia will make a switch to safety this year after playing at corner.

Call it a fortuitous union of opportunity and necessity for the Colorado football team.

Trey Udoffia, to the benefit of the entire defense, has built his body into a form more resembling a safety than a cornerback. While the Buffaloes will go into the fall with question marks dotting the entire defensive secondary, there remains a glaring need for depth at the safety spots.

Making the move from cornerback to safety, Udoffia is ready to shore up the back end of CU’s defense. A fourth-year junior in the fall, Udoffia will be one of the most experienced players in the Buffs’ defensive backfield when the 2019 season kicks off, but he is coming off his first spring as a full-time safety.

“I’m very happy with the move so far,” Udoffia said. “I still have got work to put in, but I’m very happy with where I’m at and I like it a lot. I get to play more with my eyes and not with my back to the ball. And I like playing physical, and I get to make a lot more tackles in the run game. It’s a great fit.”

Udoffia said the last time he was a full-time safety was when he was nine years old, but his diligent work in the weight room has made him a better fit for first-year CU defensive coordinator Tyson Summers as a safety than a corner. The 6-foot Udoffia was listed at 185 pounds at the start of last season but checked in at an even 200 pounds this spring.

Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post
Colorado’s Trey Udoffia performed the team’s spring session at roughly 200 pounds, ideal for the move to safety.

“I think Trey has worked very hard,” Summers said. “I think Trey is a natural tackler. A guy that wants to play physical. A guy who that’s highly competitive. I’ve been pleased with Trey from his physical standpoint and how he’s trying to play and how he’s trying to learn.”

As a corner last year, Udoffia appeared in nine games and was credited with 31 tackles and three passes broken up. Udoffia also played in nine of 12 games as a redshirt freshman in 2017, making eight starts and finishing second on the team with eight pass breakups.

Udoffia took the reps with the No. 1 defense at strong safety during CU’s annual spring game on April 27, recording five tackles. With Mehki Blackmon and Delrick Abrams owning the inside tracks toward the starting spots at cornerback, Udoffia’s physical nature and experience as a cover corner could make him a versatile asset at strong safety.

Udoffia will compete for playing time at strong safety with Isaiah Lewis, though the overall picture at safety likely will see additional adjustments given the recent dismissal of Hasaan Hypolite for a violation of team rules, along with the return from injury by Aaron Maddox and the addition of talented newcomers like incoming freshman Mark Perry.

“I have the DB skills, the footwork and stuff, so I’m trying to put my whole corner stuff into safety thing and just go out and play,” Udoffia said. “I feel very comfortable learning the plays. I’m not satisfied with where I’m at. I still have to get in the playbook more. But from the beginning of spring until now, I’ve made big strides and I’m happy with it.”