Author’s note: One of the amazing things about college football is the impact and legacy a player can leave on a town and a school in just four or five years. In some special cases, it seems like everybody on campus has a story about a guy. This is a collection of those stories.

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Whistle.

Thump.

Whistle.

Thump.

Whistle.

Thump.

It’s Spring of 2012, and the sweet sounds of crashing pads are filling the crisp Colorado air on the practice fields at Denver South High School. The Rebels are finishing up practice with a classic: Oklahoma Drill.

The drill, designed to be a test of strength and will, usually pits lineman up against each other. If a skill position player is involved, they are usually there to essentially give the defensive player a target.

As the whistle continues to blow and the pads continue to pound, there’s one player who stands out, and he’s certainly not a lineman.

It’s No. 22, standing at 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, throwing himself into the big boys, looking like a man possessed, and more than holding his own.

After a flurry of pops, grunts and other exasperations, the whistle blows once more, this time signaling the end of practice.

As the final huddle breaks, the high school junior heads towards the sideline, where local reporter Adam Munsterteiger awaits him for an interview. With his helmet and pads still locked on, he makes his way over with his signature, somewhat intimidating strut in full effect.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The springtime grass crumbles under his cleats as he approaches.

Just as he gets close, he removes his helmet, only to unveil a mile-wide smile and a friendly, “Hello.”

“That’s when I was like, ‘Okay, this guy is cut from a different cloth,’ Munsterteiger says.

Meet Phillip Lindsay.

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Crack.

Oomph.

It’s a rare, rainy Boulder night in October of 2015 and Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau clutches onto his facemask—the back of his jersey firmly planted on the soaked grass—after getting laid out by a defender.

“We won’t name names,” Liufau says now.

Lindsay is not happy to see his quarterback on the ground.

It’s only a few plays later when the undersized running back harkens back to those Oklahoma drills at Denver South.

With his assignment in pass protection, No. 23—now weighing a bit closer to 190 pounds—loads up and take his shot at the nameless defender, who may or may not stand at well over 6-foot-5 and damn near 300 pounds.

Crack.

Oomph.

Before he knew it, Lindsay found himself in a position his quarterback had just become familiar with. But well before the mud could settle on the nameplate of his jersey, Lindsay was back on his feet. His helmet now planted firmly in the face—or chest—of the defender, giving him a piece of his mind.

“You better watch yourself,” the defender said, or so the story goes. “I’m going to the league.”

Of course, it didn’t stop Lindsay. Nothing could.

“He is always fearless, no matter the circumstances,” Liufau says. “Don’t let his size fool you, the man is an alpha male. He will give you everything he has each and every day.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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Flip.

Flop.

Flip.

Flop.

It’s the Winter of 2016, and members of Colorado’s athletic department have a smile on their face. They hear the sound of Lindsay’s Nike slides flopping around their floor of the program’s pristine facility known as the Champion’s Center.

As he makes his way through the halls, he pops his head in through each door frame, making a point to say hello to everybody from intern to secretary to assistant coach.

“How are you?” He asks one staffer.

“How’s your daughter?” He asks another, making a point to have a personal connection with each person on the floor.

Eventually, just as he came, he’s moved on to another part of the facility—probably the weight room.

“He is just the most genuine kid,” says assistant director of compliance, Abbey Shea.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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Click click clickclickclick click click click.

It’s the Spring of 2016, and Phillip Lindsay is frantically crafting a text message.

He’s just come out of a meeting, and he’s once again perturbed about a situation involving his quarterback.

As Liufau attempts to recover from a Lisfranc injury he suffered late in the 2015 season, noise is building that incoming transfer Davis Webb is a shoe-in to take the starting job when he arrives in Boulder.

Lindsay, a member of Liufau’s recruiting class and an eternal believer in the senior to be, is not having it.

Knowing how a competitor like Liufau is probably feeling—his job seemingly being given away while he can’t even get on the field—the running back presses send.

It’s long message that, for the most part, will stay between the two Buffs, but the conclusion has since been revealed.

“No matter what, you’re my quarterback, and you’re going to be the reason why we win this year.”

Aside from its prophetic nature—as Webb eventually spurned the Buffs for Cal and Liufau went on to lead the Buffaloes to their best season in 15 years—the text was much needed at the time.

“I was taken back,” the QB explains, noting that Lindsay is more known for motivational speeches than long text messages.

It wasn’t long after that when Liufau finally got back on the field and regained his role as the team’s rightful leader.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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Tick.

Tock.

Tick. 

Tock.

As the Colorado sky goes from black to purple, the clock strikes 5:30 AM.  It’s the Fall of 2017 and CU running backs coach Darian Hagan has just pulled into an empty coaches lot.

As he makes his way inside, thinking he’s the first one there, he hears a ruckus coming from the weight room.

No, it’s not a cleaning crew, it’s Phillip Lindsay, the underrecruited, too-small running back who, once written off because of a knee injury in high school, has now appeared in every single game in his CU career and holds the school record for all-purpose yards.

“For a guy to get 301 carries and every day he’s in there before every other coach and every other player,” Hagan says, “That tells you right there how serious he is and how committed he is.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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One of just three three-time captains in the 128-year football history at the University of Colorado.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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In high school, he once rushed for 165 yards in one quarter… On a torn ACL.

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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“He would always bring so much energy to absolutely everything. I remember when we were coaching kids at the summer camps, he’d be literally sprinting up and down the sidelines going crazy during the games at the end.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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“In all my years of playing and coaching he is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve been around,” says CU offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini. “His passion for the game and his preparation to play at an elite level are why he will make the Denver Broncos football team.”

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

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“Throughout his whole life, he’s been doubted. He’s a guy that when you doubt him, he takes it personally and right now he feels like he should have been drafted—I do too,” Hagan says. “I know for a fact the player they have is not going to get outworked by anybody. Once he puts his mind to something, he can achieve anything and that’s what he believes. He’s a guy that all the guys gravitate towards. He’s an exceptional leader, he’s a leader by example, he’s a vocal leader.”

That’s Phillip Linsday.

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The most passionate player I’ve ever been around?

That’s Phillip Lindsay.

Ryan Koenigsberg
Author

Ryan D. Koenigsberg, was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, and is the Vice President of Content Strategy and co-founder of BSN Denver. Ryan also covers and travels with the Denver Broncos. Education: Graduated from the University of Colorado in 2015 with a degree in both Broadcast Journalism and Communication. Career: I got my start in Journalism in 2011 with an internship covering University of Colorado athletics for a website called BuffScoop.com, a branch of the 247Sports Network. Less than one year after accepting that position, I was promoted to the lead writer of the site. After another year at BuffScoop, I was hired to a staff position covering the Buffaloes for Buffstampede.com, the CU site for the Rivals.com network. Two years later, shortly before officially graduating from CU, I was approached by a dude named Brandon Spano who was planning to revolutionize the way sports were covered in our great state. I accepted a position on the ground floor of BSN Denver that, at the time, centered—once again—around covering the Buffaloes. After another year on the Buffs beat that resulted in winning the inaugural BSN Denver Silver Slugger award—given to the writer whose stories generated the most traffic—I was promoted to the Broncos beat. In my time at BSN, I’ve had the pleasure of covering a Super Bowl, a Pac-12 Championship, a bowl game, multiple games in the NCAA Tournament and so much more. Somewhere along the way, I earned that fancy title you see at the top of all this. Most memorable sports moment: Nov. 23, 2001: Behind SIX Chris Brown rushing touchdowns, the No. 14 Colorado Buffaloes trounce the No. 2 Nebraska Cornhuskers by a count of 62-36. It was the day I fell in love with college football for good. So much so that I haven’t missed a single Buffs’ home game since. The finest sports book I’ve ever read: I don’t know about finest, but when I was in elementary school, I read every single Matt Christopher book in our school library. It was the best way to not stray away from sports while still filling those pesky reading logs. One sports movie that I can’t live without: When I was a kid, I didn’t have cable in my room but I did have a TV with a VCR. Thing is, I only had a few movies on VCR and I needed to have the TV on to fall asleep. Well, eventually I came around to the fact that the best movie I had was “Cool Runnings,” so I feel asleep to the Jamaican Bobsled team every night for years. You need sleep to live and I couldn’t sleep without “Cool Runnings” SO I guess that’s the one I can’t live without. Most memorable experience as a reporter: Pretty hard to beat the week leading up  to Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. To be at the center of the sports world with not only the greatest athletes but also the greatest sports journalists in the world all around was a truly special experience. Between wake up calls at 4:45 am to catch the media shuttle to the Broncos hotel by 6, the 14-hour work days and the regrettable post-work festivities, I calculated that I got about 20 hours of sleep over an eight-day period… and I wouldn’t have traded one minute of it all. That was awesome. The sport that started it all: It’s hard to pinpoint one sport that truly “started it all” for me. When I was a kid, I remember people used to always ask me what my favorite sport was, and I would always answer the same thing, “Whatever sport is in season.” As long as I can remember, my life has always revolved directly around sports, from playing to watching to writing. It’s not a sport that started it all, it sports that started it all.

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