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CU Buffs RB Alex Fontenot ready to prove himself again

Sixth-year senior led Colorado in rushing in 2019

BOULDER, CO, March 30, 2022: Runningbacks, Alex Fontenot (8) and Jayle Stacks (33), during the University of Colorado Boulder football practice on March 30, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO, March 30, 2022: Runningbacks, Alex Fontenot (8) and Jayle Stacks (33), during the University of Colorado Boulder football practice on March 30, 2022.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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With half of the scholarship running backs from the 2021 season transferring, the attention this offseason has been on those who won’t be running the ball for the Colorado Buffaloes.

Meanwhile, the man who leads the group has kept his head down and worked.

“Just day by day getting it done,” Alex Fontenot said of his offseason.

Jarek Broussard, who led the Buffs in rushing the past two seasons, transferred to Michigan State. Ashaad Clayton, the four-star recruit from the 2020 class, transferred to Tulane. And, Joe Davis, a talented backup from Valor Christian High School, also transferred.

CU is now going through spring practices with only three backs on scholarship. At the top of the list is Fontenot, a sixth-year senior who has rushed for 1,243 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career.

As the Buffs wrapped up the second of 15 practices on Friday, Fontenot said he’s not concerning himself with those who left.

“At this point, (transferring) is a part of the game,” he said. “You can’t think about it. All that matters is that I’m here; I’ve got to get the work done. Nobody is going to help me but myself, but I can’t think about (the others who left).”

Fontenot’s main focus is to re-establish himself as a starter with the Buffs.

In 2019, he started 11 games and led the Buffs with 874 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He also caught 27 passes for 122 yards.

He hoped to build upon that in 2020, but missed the entire season with a hip injury. In his absence, Broussard became a star and was named the Pac-12 offensive player of the year.

Last season, nobody on offense put up big numbers as the Buffs struggled, but Broussard was still the top dog, leading the team with 661 yards.

The 2021 season was important for Fontenot, however, to get back in the groove. He finished with 326 yards and led the team with five rushing touchdowns and six total touchdowns.

“Besides the frustration, obviously, of not putting up numbers as a whole group, just being out there in general after being hurt (was important),” Fontenot said. “When you get hurt, you come back and everybody’s on the same level, but you’re just like, ‘I haven’t been out here. I’ve got to prove myself all over again in a way. I’ve got to show that this injury hasn’t affected me.’ I feel that’s what I’ve done; just keep going.”

Fontenot has spent most of his career trying to prove himself. He has been a backup to two 1,000-yard rushers (Phillip Lindsay in 2017, Travon McMillian in 2018) and Broussard, while also fighting through injury.

Now, the opportunity is there once again to be the lead back.

“I don’t really think about what I have done (in the past),” he said. “I just take it day by day and just try and put myself in the best position to keep moving forward and keep bettering myself and my game.

“I know what I can do. I know what everybody else can do. I know that I could put myself in a position to be great every time, so I always bet on myself, really. It’s nothing I really worry about, proving to other people.”

Fontenot, junior Deion Smith and sophomore Jayle Stacks are the only scholarship running backs on the roster this spring and Fontenot is a believer in the group.

“I know we can get it done,” Fontenot said. “If it was just us three, we could get it done as an offense. That’s the confidence I have in our room. So it’s really no worries that the numbers are down because the talent is still there.”

Ramon Jefferson, a graduate transfer from Sam Houston, and true freshman Victor Venn are set to join the Buffs in the summer. Fontenot said he doesn’t know much about the newcomers, but he’s got confidence in walk-ons Charlie Offerdahl and Noah Wagner.

“You can’t sleep on them,” he said. “Even though they’re walk-ons, they could play somewhere if they wanted to. They’re getting their reps in. They’re getting better too. They definitely have what it takes to get some reps.”

Of course, Fontenot’s main concern is his reps and what he can do with his opportunity. He set a goal this offseason of improving his ability to make defenders miss in the second level, so he can’t wait until the Buffs put the pads on.

As always, that’s a challenge is Fontenot is embracing.

“I can get people all on defense coming at me,” he said. “That’s the only way I can improve.”

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