Nate Landman, the heart and soul of the Colorado Buffaloes, will return to play in 2021.
The star linebacker has been the foundation of the entire defense since his sophomore season. He’s a natural playmaker in the middle, a downhill wrecking ball and a tremendous on-field leader. He is irreplaceable is every sense of the word — something we knew already, but was confirmed when he ruptured his Achilles against Utah.
That injury is why Landman is coming back. He was presumably headed to the NFL, but his draft stock obviously took a dip. The 2021 season will be his chance to prove himself healthy and productive before his professional career.
Landman is a fourth-year senior who can only return because this 2020 season did not count against players’ eligibility. He won’t be the only senior coming back, either. Nothing is confirmed one way or the other, but the Buffs could return every starter from their upstart defense.
The injury itself is terrible, but having Landman back for another season is so important for the momentum of the program. The Buffs don’t have to worry about replacing an irreplaceable player, the fans get to watch #53 hit some people, and Landman himself will be in the better position to later enter the NFL.