The comfortable choice for RJ Sneed II last winter would have been to play one more season at Baylor.
After all, he’s spent his entire life in Texas. Sneed was born in Houston, went to high school just outside of Houston and then spent five years in Waco, which is only about three hours from Houston.
“I had never been anywhere cold, with snow for longer than, like, 48 hours to play a game,” he said.
Instead of comfort, Sneed chose to take on a challenge.
A 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver, Sneed transferred to Colorado in January and is aiming to make an impact with the Buffaloes this season.
“(Baylor coaches) actually were calling me during the whole process and were trying to get me to come back, but I just thought it was time for a change of scenery,” said Sneed, who caught 133 passes for 1,564 yards and eight touchdowns with the Bears. “I had been there for five years and my receiver coach was leaving and I didn’t know who else was coming in next. Maybe it’s just time to go out somewhere for my last year, just do something different.”
Despite a foot injury that has limited him in summer and has caused him to miss the first several practices of preseason camp, Sneed is happy with his decision.
“I enjoyed my time at Baylor, but I enjoy really getting coached by (CU receivers coach Phil) McGeoghan,” Sneed said. “He’s actually my fifth receiver coach I’ve had and he’s taught me a lot in a short amount of time and I appreciate him and everything he’s done so far.”
Sneed, who was injured during the spring showcase on April 23, expects to return to the practice field soon and be ready for the Sept. 2 opener.
In Sneed, the Buffs are getting a proven veteran that can help to solidify a receiver group that went through some turbulence last winter.
Starters Brenden Rice (Southern California) and Dimitri Stanley (Iowa State) transferred, as did three other receivers. The Buffs also dismissed offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini, leading to the hire of McGeoghan. It’s the first time since 2015 that CU’s receivers won’t be coached by Chiaverini.
McGeoghan had all spring to work with Sneed and has been impressed.
“RJ’s intelligence is probably the most impressive thing that he has,” McGeoghan said. “And his leadership skills; and his communication skills; and his ability to communicate within the play and really get on the same page with everybody. His overall coverage awareness (is good), as far as the shell of the defense and the rotations of the safety, so that allows him to play fast and play with anticipation. He’s a great student of the game. He’s a great leader. He’s very selfless and he’s a hard worker.”
Sneed developed a lot of those traits by growing up in a close family. He has two older sisters and admits that as the youngest in the family, “I used to get babied, but not anymore.”
These days, Sneed benefits from the support of his family, especially his father, Rodney, and mother, Dr. Rhonda Sneed. His mother is an ordained minister who founded the Restoring Souls Outreach Center in Houston. Sneed said their support was critical when he chose to enter the transfer portal after last season.
“It helped me a lot because my faith was tested in January,” he said. “In the portal, there’s over 1,000 people in there, so you never know what’s gonna happen, but I just kept my faith and I kept going through that. Now with my injury, I could have been like, ‘OK, maybe my career is over,’ but I just kept faith and kept pushing through it. It helps a lot. My mom, she’s a strong Christian woman and prays a lot and I really appreciate her.”
With a solid foundation formed by his upbringing, Sneed said he enjoys being a leader in the receiver room.
“Yeah, because I feel like it’s something you grow into,” he said. “I’m not vocal every day, but either I’m going to lead by saying something or I’m gonna lead by showing you my work. At the end of the day, you’re leading one way or the other.”
More than anything, he hopes to lead by producing on the field and making this his best season.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s my final year of college football. I get to make one more impression on (NFL) scouts. I’m very excited. I’m gonna make sure I take it day by day, game by game and just go out and play my best every game.”