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Saying goodbye to the Buffs 2013 senior class

A group that persevered through 3 head coaches and a difficult 4 or 5 seasons at Colorado

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season came to a close for the Buffs football team against Utah November 30th and the following day the Buffs senior class had their senior banquet. 14 Buffs will forever say goodbye to their playing days as Buffaloes with a potential 15th in medical redshirt hopeful Josh Ford. All deserve praise for trying to help turnaround this program during some of its most difficult years on the field; from working their rear end under three different head coaches to the worse season in Colorado history). While I have highlighted a half dozen of this group, the others deserve some recognition for their accomplishments as well. So, let’s look into the departing seniors of the 2013 Buffs football team:

Nate Bonsu - Bonsu will not need football after this year. He is a double major in International Affairs and Political Science and is CU’s nominee for the 2013 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. He earned the Jacob Van Ek Award for academic excellence at the banquet. Bonsu’s playing time decreased as the season went on but he kept a smile on his face and a great attitude. He played through many injuries through his career, but stayed relatively healthy in 2013. He is the epitome of what you want in a student-athlete.

Justin Castor - Castor tore up his knee before the season and sat out the whole season. He mainly handled kickoff duties during his career and 2013 looked like he would be handling those duties again. Coach MacIntyre mentioned him booming the ball in spring camp before his season and career ended. After seeing an athlete lose their dream right before the end as a coach myself, I can tell the emotion and love for the Buffs was there. Castor stayed on the team and helped chart kicks and help the team out when he could have just taken off. He leaves with four letters.

Scott Fernandez - Was highlighted in previous article. He earned the Tom McMahon Award for great dedication and work ethic, not missing a practice the entire season.

Josh Ford - Ford sat with a leg injury for the whole season. He looks to get a medical redshirt but currently it is uncertain. He looked to be part of the rotation at tailback prior to the season and had earned a scholarship for the second year in a row.

Gus Handler - I will not mention the gigantic beard this young man has. Okay, I just did. Handler played the most snaps of any Buff offensive player, missing only 2 for the 2013 season. Handler was a solid rock when there was a turnover at QB during his playing time at CU. He was on the Rimington Award watch list the past two seasons. Co-recipient of the Offensive Trench Award.

Jack Harris - Harris is all 6’-7" tall and played the majority of the snaps the last two seasons, only missing 33 snaps this year. He was CU’s highest scoring offensive lineman in 2013 with highest marks against USC at 87.5%. Harris has the size to be an invite at an NFL camp since CU seems to churn out under the radar NFL starters at left tackle in Polumbus, Solder and Bakhtiari. He was the other Co-Recipient of the Offensive Trench Award. He is a double major in anthropology and sociology.

Harrison Hunter - He graduated early and will leave with a degree in Economics before next school season. His father played at Colorado and so after attending Fort Lewis out of high school, he walked on in 2011 to play where his dad did. Hunter had two tackles this season in only 14 defensive snaps.

Ryan Iverson - He was the long snapper the past four seasons at CU. He is part of a string of long snappers in Greg Pace, Justin Drescher and now himself. 12 seasons CU has been able to depend on a guy and Iverson didn’t disappoint having only one bad snap in 4 season. Iverson leaves CU the career leader of special teams tackles for a long snapper and lead the team in special teams points this year.

Parker Orms - Orms will best be remembered for his big hits, playing through injury and being one of the most talented players in Colorado prep history. Orms battled injuries throughout his time at Colorado. Starting against CSU in his RS frosh year, he blew his knee out three snaps into the game ending his freshman campaign. The following season he played in six games but spent seven out due to injury or suspension. Orms won the Hammer Award for biggest hit of the year, a new award brought on by MacIntyre and staff. He received the Hammer Award for 3 weeks of the season. He also received the Buffalo Heart Award from "the fans behind the bench". Orms has been knocked for his speed at the Pac-12 level, his ability and other issues by fans and myself alike but one thing that can never be said is Orms didn’t try his heart out and doesn’t bleed black and gold. If Orms had stayed healthy, he may have played but he played the season receiving shots to his knee just so he could play every week. Unfortunately his season ended with a shoulder injury against Utah and you could see the pain in his face knowing his time on the gridiron was over. Orms was a scrappy, hard nosed local kid that impressed the last two three staffs enough to be starter for each one. He played corner when he wasn’t suited to, played both safety positions when he was best suited as a strong safety, but he just loved playing football and you could see it on his face when he had to say goodbye to the game as a player.

Tommy Papilion - A walk-on from Cherry Creek that went to Arizona to start his career. He worked as a student assistant to end his career as a Buff after having three knee injuries throughout.

Alex Turbow - Walk-on that decided to come out after just focusing on school at CU his freshman year. Earned a scholarship at the end of fall camp and saw limited action on special teams.

Chidera Uzo-Diribe - Uzo-Diribe was highlighted in an earlier article. He has the size to play in the pros and will most likely be a late draft pick or UFA. He was the recipient of the Defensive Trench Award.

Paul Vigo - Vigo was a team captain for the season and was moved around all season and throughout his career. He was a stalwart on special teams and helped button up some of the early season issues with his leadership. He stood up for the team and lead even with not ending his time at CU as a regular player on defense. It earned him the Eddie Crowder Award for that outstanding leadership.

Derrick Webb - Webb was highlighted in an earlier article. He went through a mid-season lull where he only played 21 snaps against Arizona but finished strong down the stretch and had double digit tackles in all 3 of his last games of a Buff. He was a great interview and earned best Interview by the team beat media and the Derek Singleton Award for spirit, dedication and enthusiasm. Listening to this young man talk before the season, you knew he will forever bleed black and gold.

Jordan Webb - Webb’s 2013 season could have never happened. After being the starter through an ugly 2012 season, Webb hoped to rebound and compete for the starting job during 2013 spring drills. A blown out knee, followed by an altercation late night in Boulder left Webb’s return in serious doubt. However, the matter was dealt with and Webb returned, even though he knew he most likely would not get an opportunity, he came back and finished out the season. Unfortunately for him, he will be best remembered for being quarterback during the worse season in CU history and his altercation.

Alex Wood - Wood was highlighted in my article with Fernandez.

While the 2013 season went as many fans had expected, there was progress that could be seen that these seniors talked about helping be that spark to turn this program around. MacIntyre mentioned paying for this groups ticket to the Buffs next bowl game. With a fairly easy non-conference slate, Washington and Arizona losing a lot of players and Cal still down, maybe CU can get to the six wins needed to let those seniors finally enjoy a bowl game that too many other programs take for granted.