The loss of Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon to graduation should be mitigated somewhat by Isaiah Oliver's immense talent. How well the Buffs' other starting cornerback plays in 2017 will determine how much of a drop-off in production there will be.
Junior College transfer Dante Wigley could end up starting opposite Oliver. But during most practices this spring, it has been true sophomore Anthony Julmisse and redshirt freshman Trey Udoffia rotating in with the first-team defense in that spot.
“And most days it has been Ronnie [Blackmon] and Dante [Wigley] battling it out at the nickel back spot,” Udoffia said. “The competition between 'Ant' and I has been really good. I have honestly done a lot better than I hoped coming into the spring.
“We definitely see that open spot on the field and are battling for it. It just comes down to who wants it more. 'Chido' and Ahkello are going to the NFL so they set a really high standard. It is going to be hard to come in and fill it, but I think I can do it.”
After being told he would redshirt, Udoffia called his parents and shared his disappointment. But later during his first fall at CU, Udoffia started to embrace the opportunity he had to develop without losing eligibility. He credits the long hours he logged studying the playbook for his emergence this spring.
“The coaches always say, 'Knowledge equals confidence equals playing fast,' and I didn't really think it was true at first. But it really is true,” Udoffia said. “I know the plays so now I am really showing my real self out there.”
One of the most versatile members of Colorado's 2016 recruiting class, Udoffia had 2,223 receiving yards as a prep standout at Del Oro High School in Loomis, California. There was some question as to what side of the ball he would play on for the Buffs, but Udoffia had a feeling he would have the best chance to succeed at cornerback.
“I felt that way not only because of all the really good receivers we have, but also I felt like my body type was better suited for playing cornerback at the college level,” said Udoffia, who stands 6-foot-0, 185-pounds. “My background playing receiver has definitely helped me become a physical corner because I knew as a receiver it was always harder to run your routes against a physical corner.”
While Udoffia has good speed, he said that is an area he is still working to improve.
“Shay [Fields] has shown me at times my speed is not where I need it to be,” he said. “But once I get that, I think speed will also become a strength of mine.”
New Buffs secondary coach ShaDon Brown described Udoffia as a “really quiet guy” but he likes what he has seen from him between the lines this spring.
“He's starting to catch people's eye and flash on film. Some of the older players have even noticed him,” Brown said of Udoffia. “He makes some mistakes but he is learning from those mistakes and is making plays. He is a guy that is pushing for playing time. He will be a guy that will be in the mix in the fall.”