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Colorado Buffaloes most important players: #17 Nu’umotu Falo

You can’t spell ‘Buffaloes’ without ‘Falo’— it’s right in the heart of the word

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One player who’s eager to improve for the Colorado Buffaloes next season is Nu’umotu Falo. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound outside linebacker returns to the fold competing for playing time stronger than ever following a one-year suspension for violating team rules.

Falo was dismissed from the team and sent home to Sacramento, Calif. after two separate off-the-field issues—a failed drug test last summer along with prior charges of second-degree burglary, theft, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and second-degree trespassing stemming from an incident in April 2016.

Nothing has come easy for Falo since getting in trouble, but through hard work and a lot of self-reflection has pushed through the turbulence of the past year without football — a process in which coach Mike MacIntyre reinstated him back in January. But Falo’s second chance was never guaranteed.

Some players who came before the physical talent weren’t afforded the same opportunity from MacIntyre. Yet, Falo understands how his mistakes could have derailed his life and appreciates Mac for putting him back on the field with the Buffs. You could even say that MacIntyre sees Falo as one of his own kin.

MacIntyre’s history with Falo and his family goes back to his days at San Jose State. Nu’umotu’s older brother, Nate, was recruited by MacIntyre at defensive tackle for the Spartans, but Mac departed for Boulder before Nate began his freshman year in 2013. Nu’umotu’s was in eight grade when he was first introduced to MacIntrye, who gave him a scholarship offer before ever stepping foot in high school. The two built a great relationship from that point on and when MacIntyre came to Colorado he stuck to that promise from eight years ago with Falo being one of his first recruits of the 2015 class.

Over the past seven months, Falo has built himself back into the day-to-day schedule leading into the season. Perhaps one of the most intriguing battles in the midst of fall camp is at outside linebacker for the Buffaloes. Falo’s one of the most experienced players at the position ahead of Jacob Callier, Davion Taylor and Carson Wells. He leads the group by having played a total of 373 snaps as a backup, despite being away for the 2017 season.

In a larger perspective, the redshirt junior is an unknown wild card for the Buffs. He’s a talented athlete with the potential of being a force on the edge in D.J. Eliot’s hybrid 3-4 scheme alongside team captain Rick Gamboa. The key for Falo with less than a month before the start of the season is persistence. After being on the sidelines, Falo’s on a mission to prove he’s a pivotal part of the Buffs defensive rotation, and with more reps could be on the verge of a breakout season.