Four Former Colorado Buffaloes Hitting the Big Time in the NFL - AboutBoulder.com

The University of Colorado Boulder has a long history of producing elite-level sportsmen and women through its stellar athletics program. For example, the Colorado Buffaloes, the university’s football team, has almost a dozen of its former students playing in the National Football League (NFL), where they keep the Boulder flag flying. Here are four former Colorado Buffaloes that are loving life in football’s top competition.

David Bakhtiari – Green Bay Packers

David Bakhtiari has earned over $105 million in his NFL career, which started in 2013 and is going strong today. The offensive tackle stands at 6ft 4in and weighs in at 310 lb, making him a mountain of a man. He was one of the Buffaloes’ starting offensive tackles between 2009-2012 before forgoing his senior year to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.

Despite his glowing reputation, Bakhtiari was selected in the fourth round, 109th overall, the ninth offensive tackle drafted that year. The Green Bay Packers started Bakhtiari during his rookie season, and he played all 16 games. Bakhtiari was almost ever-present for the next few years until a torn ACL limited him to a single appearance in 2020; he has since returned stronger than ever.

Mason Crosby – Green Bay Packers

Mason Crosby - Green Bay Packers - AboutBoulder.com

It is usually quarterbacks that receive the plaudits from fans and pundits, but Mason Crosby is a superstar of the game and a kicker. Crosby played college football for Colorado from 2003-2006, breaking several records thanks to his supreme leg strength. He holds the record for the longest field goal (60 yards) and most points scored (308) for the Buffaloes. Amazingly, 138 of Crosby’s 203 career kickoffs for the Buffaloes resulted in touchbacks, making him a fan favorite.

The Green Bay Packers acquired Crosby as the 193rd overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Little did the Packers know back then that they had a legitimate star on their hands. Crosby became the Packers’ starting kicker and racked up 141 points during his rookie season. In 2010, the Packers lived up to the predictions of the best online sportsbooks and became Super Bowl champions, with Crosby scoring a 23-yard field goal to cement the Packers’ victory. Croby has an 81.4% successful field goal record from 485 attempts and has scored 1,918 points with his boot!

Laviska Shenault – Carolina Panthers

Laviska Shenault is a wide receiver that played college football for the Buffaloes from 2017-2019, where he played 32 games, received 1,943 yards, and scored ten touchdowns. Shenault also put up some solid rushing stats in his three college football seasons, rushing for 280 yards for seven touchdowns.

The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Shenault 42nd overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. In August 2022, Shenault was traded to the Carolina Panthers, where he enjoyed 272 yards from 27 receptions, resulting in one touchdown. Shenault has a bright future in the game and has time on his side, with him only being 24 years old.

Chidobe Awuzie – Cincinnati Bengals

Cornerback Chidobe Awuize was a proud Colorado Buffalo from 2013-2016 after turning down offers from several other Power 5 schools, including Pac-12 opponents Utah and Washington State. Awuize became an instant hit and was on the watchlist for the Thorpe Award before his first senior season, which is given to the best defensive player in college football.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Awuize as the 60th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, putting pen to paper on a $4.28 million four-year contract. He started 42 games for the famous Cowboys from 2017-2020 before joining the Cincinnati Bengals in March 2021. Awuzie suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 8 of the 2022 season, so hopefully, the former Buffalo will be fully recovered in time for the upcoming campaign.

Director of Media Relations at AboutBoulder.com john@aboutboulder.com