Best University of Colorado football player

Daniel Graham

A six-three, 240-pound junior, Daniel Graham may well be the fastest tight end in college football, but he sat out three games last year due to injury. Still, he had nineteen receptions for 264 yards and four touchdowns in 1999, and the Football News named him to its All-Big 12 first team. Blessed with soft hands as well as speed and good blocking ability, he should be a mainstay in coach Gary Barnett's offense this year and a sleeper for national honors.

Best University of Colorado football player

Daniel Graham

A six-three, 240-pound junior, Daniel Graham may well be the fastest tight end in college football, but he sat out three games last year due to injury. Still, he had nineteen receptions for 264 yards and four touchdowns in 1999, and the Football News named him to its All-Big 12 first team. Blessed with soft hands as well as speed and good blocking ability, he should be a mainstay in coach Gary Barnett's offense this year and a sleeper for national honors.

This year, junior distance runner Shane Rogers of Wilcox, Arizona, was the Mountain West Conference champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and he won the flat 3,000-meter run at the Air Force Classic, against Oklahoma, Colorado State and Stanford. He's even swifter (and clears higher hurdles) in the classroom: As a physics major at the Air Force Academy, Rogers carries a 3.58 grade-point average and is a member of the U.S. Track Coaches Association's all-academic team.

This year, junior distance runner Shane Rogers of Wilcox, Arizona, was the Mountain West Conference champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and he won the flat 3,000-meter run at the Air Force Classic, against Oklahoma, Colorado State and Stanford. He's even swifter (and clears higher hurdles) in the classroom: As a physics major at the Air Force Academy, Rogers carries a 3.58 grade-point average and is a member of the U.S. Track Coaches Association's all-academic team.

The winner, and still the champ.

Readers' Choice: Mile High Stadium

The winner, and still the champ.

Readers' Choice: Mile High Stadium

Best college athlete you've never heard of

Kara Wheeler

An All-American at the University of Colorado, Kara Wheeler won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events in early June at the NCAA Track and Field championships at Duke University. Only former CU star Adam Goucher has earned more national track titles (three) for the school, and Wheeler was the first CU runner to win multiple events at the same meet. CU's female athlete of the year ran the second-fastest 3,000 in the world this year and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in July.

Best college athlete you've never heard of

Kara Wheeler

An All-American at the University of Colorado, Kara Wheeler won both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events in early June at the NCAA Track and Field championships at Duke University. Only former CU star Adam Goucher has earned more national track titles (three) for the school, and Wheeler was the first CU runner to win multiple events at the same meet. CU's female athlete of the year ran the second-fastest 3,000 in the world this year and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in July.

It can be easy to forget that outstanding college athletes are also capable of being outstanding college students. Many top university football and basketball players, in particular, never bother to graduate; others attend classes just so they can showcase their talents on the field as a warmup for a lucrative professional career. But it is possible to both study and sweat. This past year, seniors Tyler Church (DU-basketball), Corte McGuffey (UNC-football), Cale Bonds (Air Force-football), Ryan Hollingshead (Adams State-football), Adam Batliner (CU-track and field), Kristina Andersson (DU-skiing), Shelly Borrman (CSU-track and field), Heather O'Brien (Colorado College-track and field) and Heather Burroughs (CU-track and field) were athletic standouts. (McGuffey, a quarterback, earned a tryout with the world-champion St. Louis Rams.) Yet each also was diligent enough in the classroom to earn a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for great grades. And there's not a "recreation studies" major among them: Church studied biology, McGuffey and Bonds majored in biochemistry, and Andersson mastered mathematics.

It can be easy to forget that outstanding college athletes are also capable of being outstanding college students. Many top university football and basketball players, in particular, never bother to graduate; others attend classes just so they can showcase their talents on the field as a warmup for a lucrative professional career. But it is possible to both study and sweat. This past year, seniors Tyler Church (DU-basketball), Corte McGuffey (UNC-football), Cale Bonds (Air Force-football), Ryan Hollingshead (Adams State-football), Adam Batliner (CU-track and field), Kristina Andersson (DU-skiing), Shelly Borrman (CSU-track and field), Heather O'Brien (Colorado College-track and field) and Heather Burroughs (CU-track and field) were athletic standouts. (McGuffey, a quarterback, earned a tryout with the world-champion St. Louis Rams.) Yet each also was diligent enough in the classroom to earn a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for great grades. And there's not a "recreation studies" major among them: Church studied biology, McGuffey and Bonds majored in biochemistry, and Andersson mastered mathematics.

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