Like another football coach in Colorado, Colorado State University head coach Mike Bobo entered fall camp with a three-man race for his starting quarterback position. But unlike Gary Kubiak, who is still evaluating his three QBs with two preseason games left to play, Bobo says he and his staff have decided on a starter. They just aren’t ready to divulge that information publicly.

“I feel like all three are capable. We’re not going to play all three. We’ve settled on a guy, I’m just not going to make that announcement yet,” Bobo told Joe Williams, Kent Erickson and Benny Bash on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 on Friday, one week out from the Rocky Mountain Showdown against in-state rival Colorado.

Bobo was willing to share what he’s looking for in his starter, which is really what his team is looking for in their leader.

“At the end of the day I’m looking for a guy that those guys in the huddle and on those guys the sideline believe, ‘This is the guy that can get it done. This guy’s going to take care of the ball and hit his targets. Make the routine play, not just throw balls out there where guys can do things after the catch.'”

Last year Bobo called on Nick Stevens, then a redshirt sophomore, to lead the Rams. After a somewhat rocky start, including heartbreaking overtime losses to P5 opponents Colorado and Minnesota, Stevens rebounded in the second half of the season and helped the Rams close out the year with four consecutive wins en route to a bowl game. Stevens earned second-team All-Mountain West honors, but even that was not enough to secure the starting job for this season.

“Nick [Stevens] is a guy that I through really improved every game last year,” Bobo said Friday.

“He did a nice job as the season progressed of learning what we wanted and playing within himself. Obviously, the number one thing that has been on all of our minds as an offense, and as a defense, is the turnover ratio. [Last year] we just committed too many turnovers and 12 of them came from his position. Interceptions are something you can’t do.

“I tell people, we got better as the year went on because the quarterback’s best friend started to work – and that was the run game. We were able to run the ball effectively and that took some pressure off Nick. He was a first year starter replacing a guy that was the Mountain West Player of the Year (Garrett Grayson) and we might have done too much with him early on.

As for this year, Bobo sounds optimistic about what he’s seen from Stevens through fall camp.

“I really like how he’s competed. I really like how he’s grown in this system. I feel real comfortable with Nick and what he’s done, and I think he’s going to show improvement this year.”

By that, it sounds like Stevens may be the guy. But Bobo also praised a graduate transfer that followed him from Georgia, Faton Bauta, who was particularly impressive in the CSU Spring Game.

“Faton [Bauta] is a guy from Georgia who brings a little bit different element. A guy that can do some things with his legs. Is a little bit bigger – not taller than Nick, but a little bit thicker. Maybe some quarterback run stuff with him.”

Bauta was thought to be the leader in the clubhouse over the summer because of his status as a graduate transfer and because of his strong performance in the spring game. Stevens’ strong performance this fall, and the rapid improvement of a true freshman, however, made this a true three-man race.

“Then there’s a guy by the name of Collin Hill, who’s a true freshman out of South Carolina,” Bobo said about his first true QB recruit. Bobo had been courting Hill during his time as a coordinator at Georgia and the relationship turned into a big recruiting win for the Rams.

Bobo say Hill is “about Nick’s height, but has really good feet for a tall guy. He’s got the strongest arm on the team. He has a bright future. He’s a true freshman and he’s been in the thick of this thing, this race, since fall camp.

“He came in midyear and went through spring ball, and quite frankly has head was spinning. But you could see the talent. The big thing I wanted to see when he got back to fall camp, after he’d had a spring and had a summer of studying how he would develop. And he’s done really well. Really, really well. He’s someone we’ll continue to push and get ready.”

There was real emphasis in Bobo’s voice when speaking about Hill. Could that translate to a starting job this year? It’s unlikely, but if so, Bobo isn’t telling. At least not yet.

Hear the full interview with Bobo, including the proper pronunciation of Faton Bauta, in the podcast below.

Bobo’s Rams take on the University of Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown to open the 2016 college football season on Friday, Sept. 2 at 6:00 p.m. Listen to the game on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 in Denver.