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Carta-Samuels maintains positivity, still eager to help CSU as a backup

Graduate transfer K.J Carta-Samuels may not be Colorado State’s starting quarterback anymore, but that does not mean he plans to cease from making a positive impact on his team.

The situation Carta-Samuels finds himself in is one many signal callers have faced before. The Washington transfer joined the Rams’ program with a final opportunity to start at the collegiate level.

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After starting CSU’s first eight games, with stints on the bench during games, the quarterback will find himself on the bench to begin the Border War Oct. 26.

Carta-Samuels selected Colorado State for individual reasons, he wanted to start. But the quarterback always prioritizes his team before himself. Though he is a bit disheartened, Carta-Samuels will continue to strive toward benefiting his team in other ways. 

Quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels passes the ball during the Homecoming Game against the New Mexico Lobos on Oct. 13. The Rams won 20-18. (Natalie Dyer | Collegian)

“I’m still going to do whatever I can,” Carta-Samuels said. “Work the same, do everything the same. I’m not changing anything. I’m just going to keep getting better and keep trying to improve, that’s all I can do…(I) want the best for the team so whoever puts us in the best position to be successful should be who plays.”

The starting quarterback battle with redshirt sophomore Collin Hill was underway the moment Carta-Samuels arrived to Fort Collins in the spring.

Despite possessing personal goals of playing better than one another, the two quarterbacks established a healthy relationship immediately. Instead of enemies, Carta-Samuels and Hill became close friends.

The two quarterbacks share a room on each road trip. Within the game, each quarterback serves as a critical observer to whomever is on the field.

“I think we are constantly teaching each other and making eachother better which has been awesome for the both of us,” Carta-Samuels said. “We have conversations during the games all the time about what we are seeing out there and what we need to be thinking about. I think we definitely help each other constantly.”

Hill’s start against the University of Wyoming on Friday marks the redshirt sophomore’s first start under center since Oct. 8, 2016. Hill has played this season in spurts, but jitters will be evident in the highly-anticipated rivalry game.

Hill appreciates what has resulted from his relationship with Carta-Samuels.

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“I think just having a guy like that to be there to tell you hey, this is what I’m seeing out there, what do you see? To be able to talk about that stuff is huge.”Collin Hill

It is also not as if Carta-Samuels’ season has ended. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the starting quarterback will be decided on a week-by-week basis.

Hill will have to stay on his toes.

The season has not played out how Carta-Samuels imagined or desired. That does not mean he regrets the decision to enter his final collegiate season with the Rams.

“I love Colorado (State), I love the team, I love the coaches,” Carta-Samuels said. “I’ve enjoyed my experience up to this point and the games I’ve played in…I don’t think it’s like the end of the season for me. I’m still happy with the decision to come here.”

Coach Mike Bobo helped provide some reassurance to his once-starting quarterback by providing an almost identical scenario he found himself in during his time as the University of Georgia’s starting quarterback.

The former quarterback was stripped of his starting job after a poor mid-season showing years ago. Bobo kept his head up and instilled “the best week of practice in  life.”

The week resulted in Bobo coming off the bench for the Bulldogs when trailing 28-7 during the teams’ very next game.

“It’s like I told K.J. yesterday, ‘Not a lot of people have been in your shoes, but I have,’” Bobo said. “‘And a lot of people don’t understand that haven’t played the position…it’ll hurt today. But, you have to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.’ He’s a tough kid. He’s all in on how he approaches and how he prepares to try to help this team.”

Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.

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