One name has been repeated often by Colorado football coach Mike MacIntyre, his assistants and members of the team this spring when asked which young players have made a big impression on the practice fields.
The same name is given in response to questions about who might be the most likely player to fill the rather large hole in the CU offense left by wide receiver Paul Richardson, who left a year early for the NFL.
Bryce Bobo wears No. 4. He's a 6-foot-2, 190-pound product of Covina, Calif., whom CU defensive backs have had trouble handling much of the spring. He's not a burner like Richardson, but he's fast enough. What he brings to the table that Richardson didn't is a little more size and strength.
More often than not when quarterbacks throw the ball up in his direction he comes down with it.
"When we first got here, he could only go one or two plays before he was huffing and puffing," wide receivers coach Troy Walters said. "Now he can go five, six, seven, and just his understanding of the offense. When you first come, you're not sure what to do so you play slow and you're hesitant. Now he knows what to do, knows the details so he can play fast. He's confident out there and it shows in practice."
Bobo redshirted last year and still has a long way to go before he is churning out the kind of production and earning the respect from defenses that Richardson garnered. This spring he's focused on training himself to give maximum effort at tall times, finishing every play and drill and being consistent.
He was recruited to CU by former coach Jon Embree and his staff after a standout prep career in both football and basketball. He averaged 18.6 yards per catch on 56 receptions in his senior season and scored 10 touchdowns.
Just about any CU fan would gladly take anything approaching those numbers from Bobo as a redshirt freshman next fall.
"When I first came here, I was a heavy 200 pounds and I was slow," Bobo said. "I think that's a big reason why I redshirted. Now I'm like 190 and more agile and I just use my physique to move people out of the way. I'm more familiar with the playbook and I'm making bigger plays. I think I came a long way."
Bobo didn't play in his first season at the college level because he needed to get in better shape, but also because there were veterans ahead of him such as Richardson, Nelson Spruce, DD Goodson and Tyler McCulloch. It wasn't a maturity problem. He is among the more focused and driven young players on the team, a trait he says was instilled him in by his family.
"Bobo is the one I think who has really caught everyone's eye," Spruce said. "He's been just a solid receiver making all the catches. He has great hands and kind of a more bigger body who can get kind of physical with the DBs, which is great to see."
Faith plays a big role in Bobo's life. Following him on Twitter is a mixture of Los Angeles-area sports updates and Sunday morning sermons. He said his mother and grandmother keep him centered and have helped him overcome difficult experiences in his childhood, none tougher than the tragedy of losing his father when he was 4. His dad was accidentally shot to death by his half-brother.
Bobo acknowledges that he has heard the praise about his spring performance from coaches and from others who have read reports about his development. He's no different than everybody else in wanting to be praised, but only to a point.
"It really helps me with my confidence, but I try to humble myself because some people just get caught up in the limelight," he said. "I haven't even played a real down of football yet in the Pac-12. So I just try to humble myself and keep working at my craft."
In his playing career and his brief coaching career, Walters has been in the same huddle and meeting rooms with numerous star players. Of course, he's not ready to put that label on Bobo or any of the other young receivers he is working with this spring. But he does see a lot of what it takes in Bobo.
"He wants to be great," Walters said. "That's what I love about him. He's got a chip on his shoulder. He wants to be great. He's coachable. So the sky is the limit."