FACE TO FACE: Mat Smith with CU defensive back Afolabi Laguda

Many of the questions surrounding the Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) heading into the 2017 season concerned their defense. CU lost nine of their top 13 tacklers to graduation following their 10-win 2016 campaign. The few who did return were also key contributors for the Pac-12 South Champions. Included in the mix, is senior defensive back Afolabi Laguda.

Laguda’s 1,029 snaps from scrimmage in his first two seasons at CU were the most of any returning defensive back at the start of the 2017. Things are different this year for him though. As opposed to playing alongside three future NFL draft picks in the defensive backfield, he has now assumed a much needed leadership role and was voted captain by his teammates. Athlon Sports selected him as a preseason third-team All-Pac-12 performer while Phil Steele’s College Football placed him on the fourth-team.

His collegiate career began at Butler Community College in Kansas as a freshman in 2014. He earned honorable mention KJCCC honors as a freshman and did enough to earn the interest of Colorado’s coaching staff. He then transferred his sophomore year in 2015, eligible immediately. In his time at CU, Laguda has become known for punishing hits and passion for the game. The aggressive nature of his play has led to Laguda’s ejection from games due to targeting penalties several times in the last two years. The most recent, last weekend during the 1st Half in the win against the Northern Colorado Bears (1-1).

The Buffaloes defense needed to prove themselves once the 2017 season began and to many their early performance was a welcome surprise. CU did not allow a touchdown until the first two games of the season against Colorado State (1-2) and Texas State (1-2). It was the longest a Buffs team had held their opponent without a touchdown to begin a season since 1958.

Laguda has accumulated 11 total tackles, two tackles for loss through three games in 2017. His early highlight this season came on a forced fumble and fumble recovery in the season opener against Colorado State.

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