Beau Bisharat got a taste of college football last season, but now he's ready for more.
The Colorado sophomore running back is stronger and more comfortable as he and the Buffaloes started spring football last week.
"I'm extremely excited," he said. "It's a great opportunity. We didn't graduate anybody (at running back), but I've still got a good chance to play and I'm coming out and working this spring."
A four-star recruit and one of the top players in CU's 2016 recruiting class, Bisharat has added 5-10 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame as he looks for an expanded role this season.
As a true freshman last season, he gained 45 yards on 15 carries and was utilized late in the season as a blocker out of the backfield. Going forward, the Buffs view Bisharat as potentially a key piece to their offense.
"I definitely see him playing a lot and being able to carry the ball and do some things," running backs coach Darian Hagan said. "He just has to stay consistent.
"Late in the season, you saw how we started using him more because we had a lot of confidence in him and that confidence hasn't gone away. He'll be a guy that gets to do a lot of things."
CU's ground game will likely be led by senior Phillip Lindsay, who had a sensational 2016 season. The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Lindsay ran for 1,189 yards and 16 touchdowns while also finishing third on the team with 47 receptions (for 390 yards).
Junior Kyle Evans and senior Michael Adkins are also reliable running backs who have experience in carrying the ball during crucial situations.
Bisharat, meanwhile, gives the Buffs a different type of option in the backfield. He is the biggest of CU's running backs and could be utilized in short-yardage situations.
"He's a big back," head coach Mike MacIntyre said. "He kind of gives us a changeup. He'll have a role for us this year for sure at running back."
That's a role Bisharat has been vying for since he arrived last summer.
Bisharat was also a standout linebacker in high school, and some schools wanted him to play defense. Former CU defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt also spoke with Bisharat about moving to defense last year, but the Sacramento native is eager to prove himself on offense.
"I've definitely picked the playbook up a lot better starting this spring," said Bisharat, who also played on special teams for the Buffs last year. "I haven't had any trouble with it and I feel a lot more comfortable being in there."
While Bisharat didn't have a big role last year, he said he was pleased to get the playing time he did get.
"It definitely showed me what to expect," he said. "Everybody is big, everybody is fast, everybody is strong. Especially with the blocking, it got me used to what college hits are like. It definitely helped being in there."
Bisharat realizes that, if healthy, Lindsay will be the featured back, but he's ready to for whatever opportunity comes his way.
"Obviously I'm just going to fill my role, whatever it is this year," he said. "I think I can definitely come in and shake things up a little bit when Phil gets tired."
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.
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