A Colorado State football player has received death threats after delivering a late hit that appeared to send two-way CU star Travis Hunter to the hospital, officials said Monday.
Rams coach Jay Norvell told reporters that police are involved because of the “seriousness of the threats” against senior safety Henry Blackburn.
“Our university is supporting him, the police department is supporting him because of the seriousness of the threats that have come out of this,” Norvell said.
“I mean it’s just sad. It’s sad that that’s the state of the world we live in. I mean it’s a football game. Let’s not make it more than that.”
Hunter, who CU coach Deion Sanders has described as a “future first pick” in the NFL Draft, was taken to a hospital for evaluation during the game Saturday at Folsom Field in Boulder.
“The first thing I heard is that he would be out for a few weeks,” Sanders told reporters after the Buffs rallied for a 43-35 double-overtime victory, in a game that ended at 2:25 a.m EDT Sunday.
“I heard that for sure, but we’re gonna do what we’ve gotta do to take care of him. So I know Travis like a book, he’s probably gonna want to be out for two weeks. But his health is more important than this game.”
CU didn’t immediately reveal the reason why Hunter was taken to the hospital. But it could have been related to the illegal hit to his midsection by Blackburn.
In a rarity of modern football, Hunter plays nearly every down for Colorado.
As a wide receiver, Hunter has caught 16 passes for 213 yards through three games. And as a cornerback, he’s picked one pass and broken up two others.
“The bad thing about losing Travis, is you lose such a crucial piece of our team,” said Buffs safety Shilo Sanders, son of coach Sanders and brother of CU’s quarterback. “He’s on offense and defense so it’s like you’re losing two players in one so that was pretty rough.”
The Rams were penalized twice on the play when Hunter got hit. Blackburn was flagged for pass interference and nickel back Ayden Hector was assessed a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Hunter came back to play after Blackburn’s hit and saw action on both sides of the ball through the second quarter.
Rams coach Norvell said he didn’t condone Blackburn’s play but stopped short of criticizing his safety, who grew up in Boulder and went to high school about 4 miles south of Folsom Field.
“I’ve reviewed the play, it’s a play that happens sometimes,” Norvell said.
“When you a throw a deep ball and you got a guy playing middle safety and he’s got to react on the boundary and he’s going full speed, it’s a bang-bang type of play. The officials looked at it. We looked at it, and it is certainly not something that we teach or coach. It just happens in football sometimes.”
Colorado State acknowledged the death threats in a statement Monday.
“CSUPD is aware of death threats against CSU football player Henry Blackburn, and the investigation is ongoing,” the university said. “The police department will continue to monitor the situation, and the university is actively supporting the player and his family.”
Hunter and Buffs quarterback Shedeur Sanders have both been mentioned early Heisman Trophy candidates.
Coach Sanders has led the Buffs to a 3-0 start, in his first season taking over the team that was 1-11 last year.
The Pac-12 announced Monday that Colorado’s game Sept. 30, against No. 5 USC, will be carried on Fox.
That means the first five games of this once-forgotten program will have been shown on national TV.
The No. 19 Buffs next play No. 10 Oregon at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on ABC.