Two knee injuries kept running back Jarek Broussard off the field during his first two years with the Colorado Buffaloes, but they haven’t entered his mind this fall.
Despite his injury history, Broussard put together an exceptional preseason camp and he takes momentum into his collegiate debut on Saturday against UCLA (5 p.m., TV: ESPN2).
Broussard, who starred at Bishop Lynch (Texas) High School, began his CU career, in 2018, on the injured list, although he did dress for two games. Last year, late in preseason camp, he injured his knee again and missed the entire 2019 season.
“Going through the knee injury again, it was kind of easy considering it was my second time,” he said. “I knew I was going to have to put in all the work again. Just grinding and staying focused and not getting discouraged and having my teammates’ support through it.”
Fully healthy, Broussard came to preseason camp last month ready to roll. He opened camp fourth on the depth chart. Now, with junior Alex Fontenot out with an unspecified injury, Broussard is first on the depth chart.
“If you play scared, you might end up getting hurt, so that’s something you never really want to do,” he said. “Whenever I step out on the field, it’s like I’m normal, like I never had no knee injuries and play fast.
“It’s honestly been amazing to make it through the whole camp.”
Broussard was the most consistent performer in camp.
“I tell him all the time he looks like the old J-Brew from back in those Bishop Lynch days,” offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini said. “He’s smooth. He’s really tough in protections, he’s got good ball skills. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people when they see J-Brew running the ball.”
Going into the season, the Buffs aren’t sure how long they’ll be without Fontenot, but they feel confident in Broussard, sophomore Jaren Mangham and others to fill in. In addition to Fontenot, the Buffs will likely play this season without sophomore Deion Smith, who has a knee injury.
“We have probably six or seven guys that can go,” Broussard said. “One guy falling, it’s like the next guy just has to be up and ready to play when the opportunity presents itself. We all feed off each other. I know a few guys dropped, but we’re going to play through that.”
CU receiver La’Vontae Shenault will not play against UCLA, as he will serve a one-game suspension after being arrested by Fort Collins police early on the morning of July 5 on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a license violation and driving without headlights at night.
Shenault, a redshirt freshman, has been practicing with the Buffs and will be allowed to play in the Buffs’ next game, Nov. 14 at Stanford. Shenault is scheduled for a Dec. 14 disposition hearing on his case.
Social justice messaging
To promote social justice, the CU football team will wear a decal on their helmet Saturday that reads “CUnited.” The Buffs will also have that slogan on pregame warm-ups.
According to the Los Angeles Times, more than half of UCLA’s players will wear social justice messages on their jerseys against the Buffs. Players could choose from one of five words – Justice, Love, Peace, Equality or Unity – to have in place of their name on the back of their jersey.
Broussard and defensive back Chris Miller are both among the 53 players on the watch list for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award. Miller missed eight games in 2019 with a knee injury. … CU has won four consecutive season openers, all against Colorado State. Since 2001, the Buffs are 0-4 in season openers against teams other than CSU (2001 vs. Fresno State, 2006 vs. Montana State, 2011 at Hawaii, 2015 at Hawaii). … Former CU offensive lineman Arlington Hambright is expected to make his first NFL start Sunday for the Chicago Bears. Hambright was a seventh-round pick of the Bears in the spring.