Though he hadn’t yet seen the paperwork after Monday’s practice, linebacker R.J. Brown had gotten word he was to be put on scholarship this year.
“It feels fantastic,” said the 6-1, 230-pounder. “It’s not easy walking on. When you stick through it and get rewarded by something that makes you feel part of the team — it’s pretty exciting.”
Brown walked on at Colorado in 2004 from Honolulu, Hawaii. He saw action in six games last year, all on special teams. He impressed linebackers coach Brian Cabral in the spring, moving up the depth chart behind starting inside linebacker Thaddaeus Washington.
Brown said his goal is to solidify a spot behind Washington on the depth chart. “If Thaddaeus can’t play, I want to be in there,” he said.
Also put on scholarship are junior fullback Samson Jagoras, senior tailback Mell Holliday and senior tight end Dan Goettsch.
Jagoras will likely be the first team fullback. Holliday will compete for a backup spot at running back behind Hugh Charles, and tight ends coach Kent Riddle said Goettsch will have an opportunity to contribute on the field this season.
• Mark Helfrich and Dan Hawkins are putting the pressure on the quarterbacks to compete. They don’t want to see complacency among the group of three veterans, James Cox, Bernard Jackson and Brian White. While they shared reps fairly equally Monday, Hawkins has made it clear that as soon as one player steps forward and grabs hold of the No. 1 spot, the team is ready to follow. “I want them to compete in the meetings, compete in the one-ons and know that there’s something (at stake). Every single practice, every single rep.”
• Hawkins said he likes the way freshman linebacker Justin Nonu, who weighed just over 300 pounds, moves. But that he needs to shed some weight. “I’m not sure we want him to play at 303 pounds, but he can move. The guy can run. He’s a guy that probably needs to play at 275 if he’s going to play linebacker,” Hawkins said.
• Freshman longsnapper Justin Drescher was at the afternoon practice, after missing the morning session because of a class conflict. Let’s just say, he looks like he belongs at the position, which is very good news after the team struggled to find a longsnapper with consistency in the spring. Of course, the Buffs have been spoiled, as Greg Pace was nearly flawless in the duty the past four years. Pace is back in Boulder as a student coach, and spent part of Monday afternoon’s practice working individually with Drescher.
• Five players have new numbers. RB Byron Ellis will wear No. 27; WR Alvin Barnett, 17; WR Reggie Joseph, 28; TE Patrick Devenny, 47.