Mohler Eyeing Move To Boulder

Linebacker Shaun Mohler had to pass 10 extra classes this past spring and summer in order to earn the right to wear a Colorado uniform. With one final exam to go, Mohler is confident he'll be in Boulder soon.

Shaun Mohler was a key part of CU's vaunted class of linebackers in the 2008 recruiting cycle. The only junior college transfer in the class, Mohler played the past two seasons at Orange Coast College in southern California.

Mohler originally verbally committed elsewhere, but had a change of heart during the recruiting process. Signing with Colorado in February meant he had to take more classes during the past six months than he would have had to in order to enroll in some of the other schools that recruited him. Mohler said he had to take 10 extra classes during the spring and summer sessions at Orange Coast.

Why was CU worth the extra effort?

"The (CU) coaches, they showed that they really cared about me when they recruited me," Mohler said. "And (linebackers) Coach (Brian) Cabral was a big factor. He's coached so many great players."

The remaining two classes – a sociology and history course – on his agenda end this week. Mohler said he's confident he did well in both, but won't know for certain until he gets grades from his final exams back. (He already took the sociology final, and will take the history final Thursday).

Mohler is feeling positive enough, though, to have already planned to come to Boulder on Friday and begin taking part in the team's offseason workouts next week. He'll be joining some familiar faces. While he's gotten to know some of his future teammates during visits to Boulder, Mohler will be hanging with some longtime friends on the Colorado team, Matt Burgner and Scotty McKnight. (Mohler and Burgner, a walk-on fullback, are best friends from high school.)

Mohler will be competing in a Colorado linebacking corps that's very different from the one the Buffs fielded last year. Gone is CU's top tackler from a year ago, Jordon Dizon. Still, there will be more players for Cabral to work with than he had last season, when his linebackers played admirably, but wore down as the season wore on.

Along with Mohler, who will be a junior with three years to play two this fall, new faces include freshmen Jon Major and Doug Rippy. Senior Marcus Burton and hard-hitting sophomore Michael Sipili both missed 2007 for various reasons, and are back in the picture for 2008.

They'll join junior Jeff Smart, who may have been the surprise of the defense last fall when he earned a scholarship for his dedicated play in the middle, junior Bryan Stengel and redshirt-freshmen Tyler Ahles, Brandon Gouin, David Goldberg and Josh Hartigan, at the two inside linebacker positions.

Senior Brad Jones and sophomores B.J. Beatty and Nate Vaiomounga will compete at outside linebacker.

Exactly where Mohler fits in remains to be seen. He said Cabral told him to learn the "will" position – the one where Burton, Stengel, Hartigan and Gouin practiced in the spring – but to also study the outside position.

Mohler knows the competition for snaps will be a challenge. But he has high expectations for himself.

"My goal is to start and get a lot of playing time," he said. "I know there's going to be some competition. But I want to start. I've only got two years, so I can't really mess around. I want to contribute to the team a lot."

He contributed to Orange Coast College's team a lot the past two seasons. He was named the team's MVP in both 2006 and 2007. He also was named the Mission Conference's Player of the Year last fall, when he had 93 tackles, including 22 for loss.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound athlete said he's been lifting weights and running five days a week. But he expects CU strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman's summer regimen to be an eye-opener in the coming weeks, nonetheless.

"I've heard some tough things about his workouts," Mohler said. "Plus altitude will be tough my first couple of weeks. It'll be tough, but I'm ready for it."

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