A redshirt year in college athletics can be viewed one of many ways. For Colorado Buffaloes’ Head Coach Tad Boyle, it is a privilege. Tad is often heard saying that players “get” to redshirt instead of “having” to redshirt. There is a quite a difference with his perception. Instead of viewing it as being forced to sit out a full season, Boyle sees it as a another year of free education while a player works on their mental and physical game.

Enter Buffs’ redshirt-freshman center Dallas Walton. A Denver native and 2016 graduate of Arvada West High School, Walton earned All-Jefferson County Conference first team honors as a senior averaging 16.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots. He amassed 14 double-doubles in 26 games while shooting 61 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line. A performance good enough to earn him honorable mention to the Class 5A All-State team. His senior year was even more impressive considering he missed his entire junior season after two ACL tears in his left knee within 10 months of each other.

His uncle, Gregory Walton, was a three-year letterwinner on the CU track & field team, participating in the high jump. Colorado was always the first choice in his nephew’s mind when it came to college. When Dallas arrived on campus in 2016, he was very raw. A long, lanky kid who had quite a ways to go before he would be physically able to contribute at the collegiate level. However, at a true seven feet tall, one with vision could see a potentially dominant rim protector and future force in the paint in the Pac-12. With an ability to step out and knock down a three from time to time, and a very coachable mindset, he was a project that Tad Boyle was more than ready to take on.

So when the season rolled around it was an easy decision to redshirt Dallas, as the Buffs were to be led by then-seniors Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon in the frontcourt. Johnson and Gordon were to be backed up by junior forward Tory Miller-Stewart and fellow freshman forward Lucas Siewart.

Things on the floor didn’t go as planned for CU in 2016-2017, but they did go every bit as planned for Walton in the weight room. 

Strength and Conditioning Coach Steve Englehart worked closely with Walton throughout the season and all the way through this summer. However, it wasn’t just Englehart that gave Walton personal attention over the summer months.

Former Buffs’ star and All-Pac-12 1st Team representative, Josh Scott, moved close to Boulder following his first professional season overseas in Macedonia. In between playing for the Portland Trail Blazers Summer League team, the TBT Colorado team, and trying for another shot at playing in the US, Scott managed to find ample time to work with Dallas on his game. Scott brings a knowledge and experience of being a big in Boyle’s system, unique to only him, that makes for the best possible role model that Walton could ask for.

Unlike most redshirts, Walton was able to get a taste of competition before his second year in the program officially began. Colorado traveled to Italy for a preseason exhibition trip and played four games in 10 days. In just over 14 minutes per game, Dallas averaged 5 points and 4.2 rebounds to go along with one block as Coach Boyle was finally able to use the seven footer at his disposal.

It remains to be seen how much Walton will contribute this season and in what capacity. In fact, the entire rotation is wide open at the moment. Even though there are many things up in the air as of mid-October, one thing is certain. Walton has progressed enough in his redshirt year to where he can legitimately contribute at the NCAA level.