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CU Buffs’ DL Antonio Alfano suspended indefinitely

Former 5-star recruit transferred from Alabama to Colorado this offseason

Courtesy Antonio Alfano
Colorado’s Antonio Alfano has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Karl Dorrell.
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When Antonio Alfano chose in November to transfer from Alabama to Colorado, he became the most highly-anticipated newcomer to the program in more than a decade.

When, or if, Alfano, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive lineman, gets on the field in a Buffaloes’ uniform remains to be seen, however.

On Monday, CU issued a statement from head coach Karl Dorrell that said, “Antonio has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.”

It’s another bump in the road for Alfano, a former five-star recruit who was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 1 prospect in the country for the class of 2019.

Alfano, who grew up in New Jersey, went to three different high schools, playing two years at Bergen Catholic, his junior year at Rahway High School and his senior year at Colonia High School.

After graduating from high school in December of 2018, he signed with Alabama and had two sacks in the Crimson Tide spring game last year.

Alfano went through fall camp and then left Alabama in September, entered the NCAA transfer portal in October.

“I just know that the guy basically quit,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in mid-September to AL.com. “He quit going to class. He quit coming here. We tried to encourage him. We tried to help him. We had tried to set up counseling sessions with him to help him every way we could. … But he didn’t respond to any of the things, so until he responds, you just have to assume the guy quit.”

In December, Alfano told Buffzone that his troubles with Alabama stemmed from his grandmother’s health. He was very close to his grandmother, Victoria Richardson, who had a stroke and went into a coma last fall. Alfano said it was difficult to focus on the game at that point.

“It was just a trying time for me being down there,” he said. “I was kind of also a little frustrated, honestly, with not seeing as much playing time as I would like. I was a little frustrated with that and stuff going on back home. That just made my decision easier.”

Alfano had a relationship with then-CU head coach Mel Tucker, who reached out to him after Alfano entered the transfer portal. While at Georgia, Tucker recruited Alfano and then got him to commit to CU.

Alfano enrolled at CU in January and said he was motivated by his grandmother, who died on Nov. 29 at the age of 82.

“Now that she passed away, it just makes me go even harder because I know she’s up there and I’ve got something to do for her,” he told Buffzone in December.

Tucker abruptly left CU to take the head coaching position at Michigan State on Feb. 12, and it’s unclear if that has impacted Alfano.

Coaching stability has eluded Alfano to this point. He was recruited to Alabama by defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who was then fired less than a month after Alfano enrolled. During the recruiting process to CU, Alfano connected with Tucker and defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, who has since left for Tennessee.

Even if Alfano’s suspension is lifted, his playing status for 2020 is unknown. Because of his transfer from Alabama, he and CU would have to request a waiver from the NCAA to become eligible next year.