By Romi Bean

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– After rupturing his Achilles tendon in the final game of the 2020 regular season, Nate Landman’s bright football future was in serious jeopardy.

(credit: CBS)

“I’d say the hardest part about recovery was the first month or two: having surgery, being immobile, can’t drive anywhere. Just kind of wrapping your head around what the next couple months are going to be like,” Landman said.

CU’s star linebacker approached his recovery like he approaches tackling his opponents – with a dogged energy and an unrelenting spirit.

Now he’s ready to dominate the PAC-12 for one last season.

“Physically I feel great and mentally… I’m super excited. I’m blessed with having another year to play here at CU. You can only play college football for a certain amount of years and I’m super lucky to be back. I love this program and excited to give it all for CU one last time,” Landman said.

Landman led the Buffaloes with 61 tackles and 5 sacks before his Achilles injury. He is the unquestioned leader of the defense on and off the field, so his return is massive for a Buffs team that is still finding its identity under Karl Dorrell.

“He is definitely very instrumental for us because he’s our most proven player and he has the production to prove it. He’s established that clout,” Dorrell said. “Hearing his voice barking out calls and adjustments on the defense is very comforting to me as a head coach. When that guy is out on the field, I feel like we have a pretty good chance of being an effective defense.”

(credit: CBS)

This season Landman will get one more chance to represent the black and gold off the field, as well as make the most of the reputation he’s built off it.

“I think it’s great for players to have the opportunity to reap the benefits of NIL. It doesn’t change the main focus of football. You have go out and perform and that ultimately helps your NIL deals. I think it’s a great opportunity for players,” Landman said.

The Colorado Buffaloes open the 2021 season against Northern Colorado on Sept. 3.

Romi Bean