Shortly after putting his name on the transfer portal last month, Reggie Young started hearing from the Colorado staff.
It wasn’t long before he decided he wanted to be part of the new Buffs led by freshman head coach Deion Sanders.
“My inner child was screaming, ‘Go to Colorado,'” Young said. “It’s just the most unique situation and you can only be excited about what Colorado is doing right now.
“I think this is the most unique opportunity in the country this year as far as everyone wants to see what’s going to happen and all eyes are on Colorado football. So I think this is the college football dream.”
Young, a six-foot, 295-pound offensive tackle from Liberty, is one of 48 transfers Sanders has added this season, and he’s an intriguing prospect.
Young, one of nine transfers in the offensive line, comes to CU with huge potential, but he only has one season left to play. CU’s coaches believe Young can make an impact or he wouldn’t be here.
“I have one season left, it’s no secret, so if you don’t see me as a guy who can influence your team immediately, let’s go our separate ways now,” Young said of his messages to coaches during the recruiting process . . “So I definitely see the opportunity (at CU).”
It was a long journey to Boulder.
Young and his family moved from Savannah, Georgia, to New Orleans for his senior year of high school and it wasn’t until that year, 2017, that he started playing football. After graduating from Edna Carr (La.) High School in 2017, he played at Northwestern State, Iowa Central Community College, and Liberty.
“I feel like I’ve lived in every state in the United States,” he joked.
Along the way, Young has made a lot of development on and off the field, including earning second-team NJCAA All-American honors in 2021 while at Iowa Central.
“It has done a lot for my game on the pitch; it did a lot for me as a guy off the field,” he said of his journey. “I’ve seen it all, I’ve done it all. I’ve had a lot of time to grow and mature. I’ve played at every level so I’m very confident in my game. I proved to myself that I can play at any level and play it the right way.
“I literally had to crawl up the ladder. I started at the very lowest level. I went to high school and really had to work on my game. Those times shaped the player I am today, being true to my god and just being true to the ultimate image I had for myself and my career. I’ve been stacking days for years. So I just felt like, man, it’s coming together. I have been faithful and I am ready for this opportunity.”
A year ago, Young transferred to Liberty to play for coach Hugh Freeze. However, due to an illness early in preseason camp, Young lost nearly 30 pounds and was sent to the hospital.
When he came back, Young did not start, but earned playing time as a key reserve for the Flames. They were limited shots, but it allowed Young to get a taste of FBS football and highlight some good action.
Young said he never thought about another transfer, but when Freeze left Liberty for the head coaching job at Auburn last winter, that changed. Young went through the spring with Liberty and did well, he said, but chose to take his career in a different direction in April when he entered the portal.
At CU, he joins an offensive line group packed with college experience, but not at the Power 5 level. Returning Buffs starters Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan and Van Wells are the only linemen in the group with Power 5 starts and snaps under their belts. Young likes the opportunity at CU because of the experience it brings.
“I’ve played matches. I have experience,” he said. “I’m more ready to make an impact now. … I’m not a project. I’m ready to play now. Division I football team, so it’s not like I have time to mold and shape them; I’m ready to hit the field now.”
And he’s ready to be a part of what will be one of the most intriguing programs in college football this season. Sanders has reshaped the roster like no other coach has before as he looks to turn around a CU program that went 1-11 a year ago. Young wants to be an impactful part of the change in Boulder.
“This opportunity gets me out of bed in the morning, man,” he said. “This will be a historic season for Colorado in its own right. They haven’t had much to brag about lately and it’s shaping up to be a historic season for college football. … If that doesn’t get you excited and motivated to want to be your best self, then I don’t know what does.