Crosby To Return for Senior Year

Placekicker Mason Crosby will return for his senior season. The 2005 Lou Groza-Award finalist spent the past few days in his hometown of Georgetown, Texas, and decided he wants to play one more season at Colorado before pursuing a professional football career.

"It's been tough," Mason Crosby said in a statement released Thursday by the university athletic department. "I tried to separate myself and be with my family, remove all the distractions, and look at all the things that are important to me, my family and my teammates.

"It just came to me; I was meant to play another year at Colorado and do the college thing for one more year. I made a commitment to play four years in college, and I owed that to myself and to my teammates. I tried to get all the information possible, and in the end, this was the right decision for me."

Crosby earned consensus All-American honors, as well as a spot on the first-team all-Big 12 squad, and was named conference Special Teams Player of the Year in 2005.

He led the Buffs in scoring with 94 points, converting all 31 PAT kicks and 21-of-28 field goals; he led the nation in the average distance per field goal made with 41.2 yards. Crosby's 58-yard field goal at Miami was the longest ever at sea level without using a kicking tee in NCAA Division I-A history.

Crosby will be coached by Kent Riddle, who is in charge of special teams under new head coach Dan Hawkins. Asked if he was familiar with Crosby after Riddle took the CU assistant job, Riddle said, "I know he's a helluva kicker. I know he's a first-team All-American, a great kicker and I feel very lucky to be coming into a situation where, hopefully, he's still there.

"We're going to do everything we can between myself, being a special teams guy, and Hawk, who was the special teams coach before he became head coach, we're going to be very special teams friendly. Maybe we can make him a two-time All-American kicker, and even a higher draft pick."

Crosby received word he may have been as high as a third-round draft choice in the 2006 NFL Draft. Crosby said he spoke with Hawkins about his options. The senior-to-be said he's looking forward to taking on a leadership role.

"I'm looking forward to playing under (Hawkins)," Crosby said. "I want to help lead this team in the right direction, and want to take more of a leadership role this year, take advantage of being a senior and share my experiences with the younger guys. My class has been through a lot, and we need to be there to help with the transition to the new coaching staff.

"So I just want to make sure everyone realizes that we're a team, and do my part in helping the younger guys get through the coaching change."

Hawkins said he hoped Crosby would stick around another year when the head coach was introduced at his hiring press conference in December. Thursday, Hawkins lauded Crosby's decision.

"To have a player of his caliber stay is important to our football team," Hawkins said. "His affection for the University of Colorado and Buffalo football is awesome."

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