Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter has a “tremendous chance” at returning to the lineup for Friday’s game against Stanford, coach Deion Sanders told reporters Tuesday.
“There’s a tremendous chance he could play,” Sanders said. “It goes by how he looks, how he performs in practice, how his wind is. He has to be in shape. I don’t want him to be a liability. I always want him to be a tremendous asset.
“Travis, he came to me yesterday morning and said, ‘What more can I do to help us get to the point that we need to get to?’ I love the team aspect of Travis 100 percent, but I hope he can play.”
Hunter, who plays wide receiver and cornerback, suffered a lacerated liver Sept. 16 against Colorado State and has missed the last three games.
The Buffaloes have gone 1-2 without Hunter, including losses to Oregon and USC.
Hunter posted 16 receptions for 213 yards on offense and added nine tackles and one interception on defense over the first three games of the season. He was injured on a personal foul by Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn. While Colorado fans pilloried Blackburn on social media, he and Hunter later made peace and even went bowling together.
Sanders said Hunter has been cleared to play but the team wants to be cautious not to rush him to return.
“He’s cleared and he has protection on to secure those areas, but the game is the game,” Sanders said. “The game is a violent game, it’s a vicious game, it’s a very physical game, but Travis is also physical.”
Colorado will need a win over Stanford on Saturday if the team hopes to put itself in strong position to make a bowl game. The Buffaloes have back-to-back games against ranked opponents (UCLA, Oregon State) following the Stanford game and may be underdogs in each of their final five regular season games overall.
Colorado closes the regular season with road trips to Washington State and Utah after a Nov. 11 game against Arizona.
Colorado star football player Travis Hunter has been medically cleared to play and has a “tremendous chance” to return to action in his team’s next game Friday night at home against Stanford, his coach Deion Sanders said Tuesday.
Whether he does play will depend on “how he looks, how he performs in practice, how his wind is,” Sanders said. “He has to be in shape. I don’t want him to be a liability. I want him to always be a tremendous athlete.”
That likely means he will play since Hunter has been practically begging to return to the field since his injury.
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Hunter dazzled in his first two games for Colorado (4-2), playing more at least 125 plays in each as a two-way player at cornerback and receiver. But he was knocked out of action with a lacerated liver Sept. 16 after Colorado State defender Henry Blackburn delivered a crushing late hit on him as he was racing down the left sideline late in the first quarter.
Sanders said Hunter approached him yesterday and asked, “What more can I do to help us get to the point that we need to get to?”
“So I love the team aspect of Travis 100%, but I hope he can play,” Sanders said at his weekly news conference in Boulder.
No other player is as valuable to coach Deion Sanders other than his quarterback son Shedeur. Hunter’s absence effectively meant the Buffaloes had lost two star starters – one on offense and one on defense.
Colorado was 3-0 in games started by Hunter and now is 1-2 in games without him. Since his injury, the Buffaloes struggled the rest of the game against Colorado State before winning in double overtime, lost at Oregon 42-6, lost against Southern California 48-41 and then barely won last weekend at Arizona State 27-24.
Now the Buffaloes face Stanford (1-5) on Friday night at home on ESPN. Sanders previously said he preferred to have Hunter recover a few more weeks and maybe even wait until after Colorado’s bye week next week. But Hunter returned to practice Monday and now could be available for the second half of the season starting Friday at sold-out Folsom Field.
“He’s cleared, and he has protection on (to) secure those areas,” Sanders said. “But you know, the game is the game. The game is a violent game. It’s a vicious game. It’s a very physical game. But Travis is also physical.”
FOX Sports’ RJ Young shared his thoughts on the Colorado Buffaloes’ QB Shedeur Sanders and his signature celebration that is making waves across the sporting world. Then, RJ discussed what impact Travis Hunter’s return will have on Coach Prime’s Colorado Buffaloes.