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Colorado's official back on the football map

By ARNIE STAPLETON

AP Pro Football Writer

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) When the college scout from Green Bay arrived at the Champions Center on the University of Colorado on Wednesday, the Buffaloes had its latest validation of the football program's progress.

All 32 teams were represented at CU's pro timing day for the first time ever. The last time every NFL team sent a scout or a coach to the campus was in 1995, when the league had 30 NFL teams.

"It just shows the rise is real," linebacker Kenneth Olugbode said, playing on the team's slogan last year when they won 10 games and the Pac-12 South title while ending a nearly decade-long bowl drought.

The Buffaloes sent four players to last week's NFL scouting combine, including quarterback Sefo Liufau and three members of the "Money Gang" secondary: Tedric Thompson, Ahkello Witherspoon and Chidobe Awuzie.

Liufau said having all 32 teams here to look at the DBs and defensive lineman Josh Tupou, among others, shows how far the program has come.

"We had a plethora of guys going out there today to show what they have," Liufau said. "So, it's just a testament to what we did this past year as a team and it's just drawing interest now from the next level."

Having every NFL team on hand to watch them for the first time in 22 years is another sign the Buffs are back.

"I didn't even know that stat, but dang, I mean, that's a blessing," Awuzie said. "We all came here with a vision to rebuild this program into a winning tradition here. You have the individual accolades along the way when you're losing, but when you're winning, that's when everybody gets to eat."

Awuzie said he sees this group as the vanguard of a Buffs revival and next year "all 32 teams will be here again. So, hopefully this tradition lives on."

Ahkello said that was always the goal.

"When I transferred in spring of my freshman year, I saw these two dudes as high-caliber people and players that I could work with and grow with," Ahkello said of Awuzie and Thompson. "Just to go out here and bring that kind of notoriety and attention to this program, that's what we came here for. It's not even about ourselves. It's about getting the culture right with this program. I think that's what we're doing."

Thompson also called it a "blessing that all 32 teams are here."

"It wasn't us three that's the reason all these teams are here," he said. "It's just the way our defense was and the way our team played throughout the whole season, the way our coaching staff was. So, I think it was just an overall great job by the University of Colorado."

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Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Updated March 8, 2017

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