Do You Know This Colorado Buffalo?

Do you know the Colorado Buffalo pictured at left? Remember the face. You're likely to hear his named called by the P.A. announcer at Folsom Field this fall.

When CU receivers coach Eric Kiesau last week was asked to name some receivers who were standing out in camp, he rattled off four names: Patrick Williams, Stephone Robinson, Blake Mackey and (cue the record scratch sound!) Cody Crawford.

Cody Crawford?!

This reporter knew the name, but couldn't tell you the number, much less pick him out of a lineup of dark, curly-haired sophomores at the University of Colorado.

A look at the roster reveals he's No. 48. Oh yeah, that No. 48 who was getting a lot of reps with the second- and even a few with the first-team, in practices last week.

Surely, though, he's not really going to see the field this year. After all, Crawford is a walk-on. He's 5-11, 175 pounds. He doesn't run a 4.4 40-yard dash.

So, Coach Kiesau, do you really expect Crawford to play on Saturdays this fall?

"Absolutely — no doubt in my mind, you'll see Cody Crawford out there," Kiesau says.

Umm, well, what does your boss say about this, Mr. Kiesau?

Turns out, Dan Hawkins is on the Crawford bandwagon, too. The head coach — perhaps sick and tired of seeing so many players missing practice because they were "sick and tired" last week — used the freckled-face Crawford as an example in practice.

"I stood him up in front of the team the other day," Hawkins says. "Last week he cracked a rib and never missed a practice. All the guy does is make plays.

"It goes back to that old ‘Moneyball' theory (referring to the 2002 book about baseball). Some guy can be big, fast, look good and all that. But you have to make plays. Cody's making plays."

Apparently, when the new staff took over in January and told the returning Buffaloes that "whoever works the hardest, whoever makes the most plays (in practice) is going to play," Crawford took them at their word.

"They don't have any favorites," Crawford says.

Since January, Crawford has earned a reputation with Kiesau for knowing the playbook, hustling and catching the ball when it comes his way. Apparently, that's still what counts for a wide receiver.

"I always say to my guys, ‘I don't care what your 40 time is, I don't care how big you are. I only care about two things: Work ethic and trust,'" Kiesau says. "He's a classic example of how our staff thinks outside the box and you don't have to fit a certain mold. You do what you're supposed to do, you do it effectively and you make plays, and you'll get on the field."

Crawford was on the field plenty at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego. As a senior, Crawford earned first-team all-CIF honors as a defensive back, and was named first-team all-Palomar League at receiver and DB. Torrey Pines won the CIF Championship his senior season.

After high school, Crawford wanted to continue playing football, but not at a small school. After some research, he applied and was accepted at CU in 2004. He then approached the CU coaching staff and was invited to walk on that fall.

Now, two years later, it appears Crawford will be in the regular rotation at wide receiver.

But, wait. Really?

"The guy knows all the assignments, he lines up correctly and he makes plays," Kiesau says. "And he gives more effort than anybody."

OK, OK. So there's a distinct possibility Crawford will have his name blasted on the public address system and his face shown on the BuffVision boards on Saturdays.

Well, now maybe when Crawford's friends tell someone that he's on the football team, they'll believe them. That'll be a new experience for the 20-year old.

"I don't really like to tell people," he says. "But sometimes my friends like to embarrass me and let people know that I play. People don't expect it. ...There have been people who haven't been believed me."

Believe this: Crawford's having the time of his life. And if that extends to having his name called on Saturdays soon, he's ready.

"It's a lot of fun," he says. "I'm just living a dream."


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