Colorado star Travis Hunter was released from the hospital Monday, coach Deion Sanders said Tuesday, after being on the receiving end of a devastating hit during CU's double-overtime win over Colorado State. Hunter, who plays both receiver and cornerback, is expected to miss at least three weeks because of the injury which came as the result of a late hit from Colorado State safety Henry Blackburn in the first half of the rivalry showdown.
Hunter briefly returned to the field following the injury but was taken to a local hospital while the game was ongoing.
"He's at home doing his schoolwork, playing video games and being Travis," Sanders said. "Wonderful man. He can't wait to get back to continue to do what he's capable of doing."
While Hunter's absence will be felt at receiver as the No. 19 Buffaloes prepare for their Pac-12 opener at No. 10 Oregon on Saturday, it's the Buffs' defense that has more questions to answer without the sophomore star. Hunter emerged as a lockdown corner in the season's first two and a half games.
"The plan at corner is corner by committee," Sanders said. "That's why we practice. We're going to see who steps up and takes over that role."
Among the cornerbacks behind Hunter is five-star freshman Cormani McClain, who was the top-rated cornerback in the Class of 2023. But Sanders made it clear that McClain must continue developing before he's ready for a prominent role. Colorado will have its hands full against the Ducks and quarterback Bo Nix, who has thrown for 893 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 77.6% of his passes during Oregon's 3-0 start
"There's no one in the country who can fill Travis Hunter's shoes," Sanders said. "You've got to understand he's a unique player, he's one of a kind, he's the best player on offense and the best player on defense. That's just who he is, in the country and not just on this team. So, having guys step up, they've just got to step up and do the job that we're asking them to do."
Hunter emerged as an early name to watch in the Heisman Trophy race with his performance in Colorado's opening two games. The Jackson State transfer made 11 catches for 119 yards in Colorado's season-opening win over TCU and added three tackles and an interception. The following week, he made three receptions and four tackles in a win over Nebraska.
Ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in the Class of 2022, Hunter stunned the college football world by choosing Jackson State and Sanders, spurning a longtime commitment to Florida State in the process. He's developed a close relationship with Sanders, who also played both offense and defense during his college football career.