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Colorado football notes: Buffs’ Guy Thomas aiming for strong finish to career

Colorado linebacker Guy Thomas looks in on the Air Force offense on Sept. 10 at the Air Force Academy. (AP Photo/Bart Young)
Colorado linebacker Guy Thomas looks in on the Air Force offense on Sept. 10 at the Air Force Academy. (AP Photo/Bart Young)

It seems like long ago that Guy Thomas graduated from high school and began his journey in college football.

That journey is nearing an end, however, as Thomas prepares for his final five games with the Colorado Buffaloes. The final stretch begins Saturday when the Buffs (1-6, 1-3 Pac-12) host Arizona State (2-5, 1-3) at Folsom Field (5:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU).

“I’m definitely soaking it in,” the sixth-year senior outside linebacker said Tuesday. “I’m definitely putting things in perspective. I’ve been in college for six years and I have five games left.”

After playing his first two seasons (2017-18) at Nebraska, Thomas spent the 2019 campaign at Coahoma (Miss.) Community College. He’s now in his third season with the Buffs and is one of the keys to the defense.

Thomas has recorded 28 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. He had a season-high eight tackles and half a sack in Saturday’s 42-9 loss to Oregon State.

“I’m definitely progressing,” he said. “My body feels great. I’m definitely working on my technique, and there’s a lot of things I could do better and I will do better. I’m one of the older guys on the defense. I would like to carry the defense on my shoulders, make as much plays as I can to put us in the best position to get off the field.”

CU’s defense has struggled most of the year, but Thomas has put together two of his better games in the last two weeks.

“I think he’s having a blast,” CU interim head coach Mike Sanford said. “I love seeing Guy practice. I love seeing him after practice. I always dap him up and he gives me a big hug and says, ‘How are you doing today coach?’ He’s an others-centered type of a human. I love his care for the game.

“For whatever reason, the last three weeks I’ve seen a different switch just turn on with Guy and I think we’re just scratching the surface, too. I think he’s just an incredibly talented and gifted player. His headspace being in a place where he’s just loving going out and competing every day, I think we’re just starting to see the beginning of what he can do to impact a football game.”

Impacting games is exactly what Thomas hopes to do in the last five weeks of the season – and of his career.

“I’m looking to play my best ball in these next five games,” he said. “We have a lot of tough opponents. I’m planning on playing my best football, showing the world what Guy Thomas can do.”

Smith, Fontenot nearly full-go

Less than two weeks after leaving the field on a stretcher, running back Deion Smith was back in pads and a helmet on Tuesday. Alex Fontenot hasn’t worn pads in a while, but that should change Wednesday for the senior running back.

Smith, CU’s leading rusher (243 yards) missed last week’s game, but practiced in a non-contact jersey Tuesday.

“(It was) his kind of last step towards full contact,” Sanford said. “Looked awesome. It’s almost like he looked faster. He looked more decisive. He’s hungry to be out there. Just all the credit in the world to Deion, to come back from a scary moment like that (against California on Oct. 15) and just be that excited to come back to play with his teammates, I love Deion. I love who he is. His team loves him. Having him out there today, it just made my day a little bit better.”

Fontenot, who started the first two games and has rushed for 84 yards on 20 carries, has missed the last five games with a chest injury.

“Fontenot is finishing up his running progression, which is more of a conditioning step rather than a physical limitation step,” Sanford said. “(Wednesday) he should be up and cleared to practice.”


Walk-on quarterback James Mott III has put his name into the NCAA transfer portal and is no longer with the team. Mott played the 2019 season at Chicago and joined the Buffs in August of 2021. He never appeared in a game with the Buffs, but did dress for three. … Saturday is CU’s homecoming game. The Buffs are 4-1 in their last five homecoming games, including two consecutive wins.