Hart grad Colby Pursell is excelling at Colorado

Hart High graduate and University of Colorado offensive lineman Colby Pursell has made a strong impression on the Buffaloes coaching staff after arriving on campus in the winter. Photo courtesy of Brenden Mackey/Colorado Athletics

When it comes to selecting a major at the University of Colorado, Colby Pursell hasn’t yet reached a decision.

“I’m still undecided,” the Hart High graduate said Monday. “I’m going to poke my head around a little more – open up some doors, look down some alleys.”

For now, he’ll aim to open alleys for Buffalo running backs. The freshman grayshirted during the fall of 2016 before joining the Pac-12 program this winter and immediately grabbing the attention of head coach Mike MacIntyre.

MacIntyre elected to grayshirt Pursell (which just means he postponed Pursell’s enrollment) because the offensive lineman would’ve arrived on campus as a 17-year-old.

It’d be an understatement to say the coach is pleased with choosing to wait.

“Colby had a phenomenal winter (and) spring,” MacIntyre said last month at Pac-12 Media Days in Hollywood. “He’s further ahead than I thought he would be. He’s 298 pounds now.”

That’s because Pursell, who turned 18 last October, hit the weight room over the fall. He filled the rest of his time by taking two classes at College of the Canyons and coaching at Hart, where he helped with the offensive and defensive linemen on junior varsity and provided an extra set of eyes in the booth during varsity games.

Pursell at a photo shoot before his senior football season at Hart High in 2015. Dan Watson/The Signal

Asked if it was hard to watch Colorado go 10-4 and play in the Pac-12 title game knowing he could have been there, Pursell pointed out the positives.

“It was nice to have that extra time at home,” said Pursell, who was listed at 260 pounds as a senior in 2015. “I’m not sure I was quite ready to leave home at that time. It was nice to get mentally ready. Watching the games was a little tough, seeing how good they were and knowing that I could be there, but I know that if I wanted to be the best player I could, it would be best if I waited a little longer.”

Pursell couldn’t have waited much longer to take up the sport.

Outside of a flag football game at Placerita Junior High, he didn’t play at all before his freshman year at Hart.

He played right tackle at the Indians’ lower levels as a freshman and sophomore before flipping to the left side of the line on varsity in his final two seasons.

This year, he made another position change for the Buffs: Pursell is listed as the team’s second center on a preliminary depth chart.

“It’s been different. It’s been tricky,” Pursell said of learning center. “Obviously learning a new position is never easy. It’s just something you’ve got to study, you’ve got to put in extra time to learn.”

His efforts have paid off.

“I’m anxious to see what he does early this fall,” MacIntyre said. “He might be one of our true backup guys or one of our first guys to play at backup center. I think he’s got a great future ahead of him.

“He’s a guy that we found and evaluated him and realized he was young, and a lot of people didn’t offer him because he wasn’t quite developed, and all of a sudden now he’s 298 pounds and he’s now growing hair on his chest and everything.”

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