As the last column of the year, I thought it only fitting to
talk about the subject who appeared most often in the sports
section of the Collegian this year, our very own Bradlee Van Pelt.
When I started covering football this season, I had no idea the
things that I would witness. The last thing I ever imagined was Van
Pelt in a Bronco jersey.
While he led the Rams to a season barely above .500, he
accomplished some great and some not-so-great feats. He started off
on a bad note when Colorado sophomore Joel Klatt fueled the Buffalo
comeback to beat the senior and his Rams 42-35. Even though he
chalked up 338 yards, he lost his last Rams-Buffs rivalry game.
He bounced back throughout the season and even snatched up the
Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year award after
an impressive come-from-behind victory over UNLV.
After breaking his hand in the regular season finale, Van Pelt
once again revealed the competitor inside of him and decided to
play in the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl. Unfortunately, he
threw the ball to Boston College players more often than he did to
any Rams and left the collegiate football world on a sour note.
Van Pelt then pulled my favorite move in his collegiate career.
He decided to stop going to school so he could focus on the NFL
draft. Good thing he did, considering he was taken 250 out of
While he was one of the last taken, he was taken nonetheless and
was even taken as a quarterback. Now Van Pelt is playing in the NFL
and is one of four quarterbacks vying to be Jake Plummer’s backup.
I saw a picture of him in the new Bronco jersey and he doesn’t look
quite as impressive or cocky as he did in the green and gold.
He will have to step it up and prove that he is more than a
running back-quarterback if he wants to beat out Steve Beurlein,
the lifelong backup who has been around longer than sliced bread
and has been injured most of his 17 years in the NFL.
The Broncos are planning on releasing Beurlein today so he can
decide if he wants to pursue another year or throw in the towel.
Hopefully that will send Van Pelt the message: The Broncos would
rather have a 40-year old Notre Dame graduate than a 22-year-old
“athlete-student” dropout. Maybe a year of riding the pine with
former Ram Cecil Sapp will show him the ropes of how to be a
quarterback in the NFL. Who knows?
So in this final tribute to Bradlee Van Pelt, cheers to all he
did at CSU and cheers to all the things he will (or will not) do in