April 9, 2007

Spring Surprise

BOULDER, Colo. -- When Joe Sanders stepped foot on campus at the University of Colorado in August of 2003, the Nashville native was hoping to develop into an impact tight end for the Buffaloes. He was ranked by Rivals.com among the nation's top 35 tight end prospects out of high school.

But after redshirting his first year on campus, Sanders was moved to outside linebacker. Over the course of the next three seasons he saw action in 14 games but was on the field for just 136 snaps.

"With about three games left in the [2006] season I asked Coach Hawkins if he would consider moving me back to tight end and he was all for it," Sanders explained. "I finished the season at Sam [linebacker] but I knew for a few weeks towards the end of the season that I'd be making the change. So I started getting mentally prepared for it and I got the playbook early."

If Sanders plays next season like he has practiced the last week and a half, he will not only be one of the top tight ends on the Buffs' roster but one of the best tight ends in the Big 12.

"Joe has been impressive hasn't he?" head coach Dan Hawkins said following Monday afternoon's practice, the Buffaloes' 12th workout of spring ball. "It is a feel good story from a lot of perspectives. He was kind of struggling at Sam backer and he kept working at it. We're always trying to find 'What is this guy's role going to be on the team? What is his nitch going to be?' I really pride myself in that.

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