BOULDER, Colo. - The past year hasn't been easy for Colorado linebacker Jon Major, but he's tried to keep a positive outlook.
Eight days into his first preseason camp with the Buffaloes in 2008, Major tore an anterior cruciate ligament during a non-contact pass-rush drill.
Eight days into his first preseason camp as a Buff, on August 13, 2008, Major tore his ACL during a non-contact pass rush drill.
"I juked and felt my knee buckle," Major recalled. "It was just one of those freak things that happen. What can you do?"
It was the first major sports injury Major had ever suffered.
"I took an optimistic view on things," he said. "I couldn't be on the field to play or practice so while redshirting, I just worried about the X's and O's; tried to take mental reps."
Major ran around during spring practices, but was not involved in contact drills. His summer conditioning program was also a little different than most of his teammates.
"I was doing more straight-ahead drills, less agility stuff this summer," Major explained. "I got stronger, got leaner. I worked on strengthening my knee by rehabbing and doing extra stuff like running the stadium. I did extra quad and hamstring exercises. I did all I could to try to get it strong for camp."
Major is still not back to 100 percent. But he is close.
"I'd say I'm about 85 percent," Major said on Sunday, the third day of camp. "The plan is for me to do everything like I am full go. Maybe when the double days come, I'll have to hold back just a little bit. But I am feeling good."
Major began practicing at the Mike linebacker position last August. About midway through spring practices, he was moved to Will linebacker. He is currently listed third on the depth chart at Will linebacker behind seniors Jeff Smart and Shaun Mohler.
"[Linebackers coach Brian] Cabral is not afraid to shake things up so I might stay at Will, or be moved back to Mike," Major explained. "They are pretty [interchangeable]. It is good to know both.
"Right now I feel very fortunate to have a couple great players like Shaun and Jeff in front of me. I definitely look up to them and try to learn from them. My goal this year is to keep learning and preparing and who knows where I'll end up. It doesn't matter as long as I keep getting better."
Considered by most to be the top prep prospect in Colorado from the Class of 2008, Major chose to sign with CU over scholarship offers from more than 40 other programs. He recorded 367 tackles and 14 quarterback sacks during his career at Ponderosa High School in Parker, Colorado.
All the attention Major received during the recruiting process made him feel "a bit" uncomfortable.
"I definitely had lot of expectations on me when I got here but [head] coach [Dan] Hawkins always says that it doesn't mean anything and I think that's great because it really doesn't," Major said. "All that [recruiting] stuff is in the past. I have put it behind me. I have to prove myself here."
Sunday Practice Notes -
*** The Buffaloes practiced once today in shells. Their first practice in full pads will be on Tuesday.
*** When asked how Ray Polk has performed at his new position early on during camp, defensive backs coach Greg Brown chuckled, then said, "I wish this was a video interview so everybody could see the big smile on my face. Ray is coming on at a fast pace at safety."
*** CU continues to await word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on Josh Moten. The 2009 quarterback/athlete signee is not currently on campus. He is still back home in Carson, California. There is no telling exactly when the Buffaloes will find out if Moten is eligible or if he will need to grayshirt this fall. "It's not us," Hawkins said. "It's whenever they (NCAA Clearinghouse) get to it."
*** Freshman walk-on Seth Lobato stands above the rest of CU's quarterbacks. He is listed at 6-foot-5, but looks closer to 6-foot-6. Lobato had offers from Fort Hays State and the Colorado School of Mines, but he wanted a chance to play Division-1 football. He threw for 2,741 yards and 34 touchdowns with just four interceptions against 2A competition as a senior at Eaton High School.
"He has got some talent," Hawkins said of Lobato. "He just has to catch up, just like a lot of the other freshmen; just learning. It is a steep learning curve for those guys right now. But he is a big guy and he can run and he is smart and he can wing it so he'll be alright once he figures some things out."
*** Wide receiver Andre Simmons will most likely be allowed to practice for the first time on Monday. The Buffaloes have been waiting for some paperwork from Independence Community College.
*** CU's veterans will practice 9:45-11:45 tomorrow and the newcomers will practice 4:30-6:30.