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CU Buffs’ Jayle Stacks aiming for bigger role

Running back has only played 40 snaps in two seasons

BOULDER, CO-April 9, 2022: Running Back, ...
Colorado running back Jayle Stacks during the University of Colorado football scrimmage on April 9, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Going into the season, there is no question Alex Fontenot and Deion Smith are the leaders of Colorado’s running backs room.

Yet, watching Jayle Stacks move his 5-foot-11, 235-pound frame downfield before leaping into the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown run at the Buffaloes’ scrimmage last Saturday provided a glimpse into the potential he has to impact the offense.

“Jayle is doing a really good job,” running backs coach Darian Hagan said. “He’s a multi-dimensional running back that can do a lot of different things and he’s doing everything we ask of him. He’s buying into it.”

A third-year sophomore from Cherry Creek High School, Stacks is hoping this can be the year he finally busts loose for CU.

After rushing for nearly 3,000 yards during his prep career, Stacks has played just 40 offensive snaps in his first two seasons at CU. He has carried the ball once, gaining four yards late in a 34-0 rout of Arizona last season.

Stacks’ potential to impact the offense has been there since he arrived, though, and he’s often displayed a knack for big runs or catching the ball out of the backfield during practice. He’s now hoping that leads to more opportunities on game day.

“Oh for sure,” he said. “I talked to Hagan and (offensive coordinator Mike) Sanford and they want me to do that. But what really matters is that Deion and Fontenot, the guys that have been here, I have no problem (being behind them). They’ve been here longer than me, so whenever my number’s called, I’ll be ready to get it done.”

Stacks has put himself in a better position to produce when his number is called.

“He’s a guy that we wanted to lose weight,” Hagan said. “He attacked that head on. He lost weight. … He’s doing a really good job for us.”

In addition to losing some weight, Stacks feels more comfortable and confident in the CU offense.

“This is my third fall camp and I think the game is slower,” he said. “When I first got here, it was bullets flying. But I think I’m taking more time to read the holes and understand what I need to do each play and each assignment that I have.”

Part of Stacks’ growth has come from learning how to play running back in college, as it’s not as simple as it was in high school.

“It’s just more than running,” he said. “You’ve got to not only know what you have, but I know how the offensive line is blocking or here we’ve got to double-team. If I don’t know how they’re blocking it, then I know I can’t do my job properly.”

Stacks’ job this season could be to use his power and strength to pick up tough yards in short-yardage situations. He enjoys the idea of being the Buffs’ power back.

“I like to turn for yards,” he said. “I’m the kind of guy, if I get hit, I’m gonna fight for four or five more yards and if I break it then I break it. But I think I bring a little something different.”

Stacks hopes that little something different leads to a different type of season for him – and the Buffs – as he strives to make this his best year at CU.

“I come out here and get 1% better every day,” he said. “That’s my philosophy. That’s how I live. Just be better every day and don’t go with the flow. Just try to do extra, get some work after practice. Anything I can help contribute to the team and their success, I’m willing to do.”

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