Colorado transfer Justin Mayers focused on protecting quarterback, helping Buffs win

Justin Mayers wasn’t at Colorado this past season, but he knows exactly
why he’s here now.
The Buffaloes’ offensive line struggled during a 4-8 campaign in 2023, with Shedeur Sanders being the most-sacked quarterback in the country. Head coach Deion Sanders has done something about it, adding five transfer offensive linemen, as well as the top line recruit in the country in Jordan Seaton.
A sixth-year senior who spent five seasons at UTEP, Mayers aims to change the game for CU up front.
“We all know what we’re here to do,” Mayers said in an interview with BuffZone. “It’s a job. CU’s an amazing place, it’s good to have fun, but at the end of the day, we’re here to work and we’re here to get the job done, protect 2 (Shedeur Sanders) and help this team make it to a championship and a bowl game because that’s what this team is capable of.”
Listed at 6-foot-4, 320 pounds, Mayers was a two-year starter at UTEP, earning All-Conference USA honorable mention the past two seasons. He allowed a total of two sacks in those seasons, according to Pro Football Focus.
A two-star prospect coming out of Reedy (Texas) High School in 2019, Mayers’ only scholarship offer came from UTEP.
“It was great experience,” he said. “I learned a lot. It’s a great stepping stone. I made some brothers for a lifetime there.”
He also made a name for himself to where he was highly coveted when he put his name in the transfer portal this offseason. CU was one of 32 teams to offer him a scholarship.
“Obviously I was kinda like the diamond in the rough and the portal kind of showed that,” he said. “I even stopped posting (offers) it got so crazy. But I’m happy to be here.
“I’m thankful for my time at UTEP and those years and all those nights of hard work and grinding and perseverance and resilience brought me here. So now I can put all that on the table and go to work.”
Although it took a few years to earn a starting job at UTEP, Mayers said he’s grateful for those years.
“I think at times you could take it for granted,” he said of the developmental years. “It’s crucial. Those times of developing and becoming a man and as a player, it’s humbling. It makes you work harder, for sure. … The last three years when I was really dominating and playing kind of opened my eyes and really made me find that spark again, that light. … It’s fun to move a grown man from point A to point B and just dominate them in the dirt. That’s what I enjoy.”
Colorado offensive lineman Justin Mayers takes a drink during a workout in Boulder, Colo., on Jan. 18, 2024. (University of Colorado Athletics)
Colorado offensive lineman Justin Mayers takes a drink during a workout in Boulder, Colo., on Jan. 18, 2024. (University of Colorado Athletics)
Mayers is determined to make the most of his second opportunity and to prove himself at the major conference level.
“This kind of shows how the market is nowadays,” he said of the transfer portal. “Good O-linemen and veteran O-linemen like myself are really needed and I think CU was a place that really emphasized that. Not only that they wanted me, but they needed me. The staff here, they treat you like family. No fake, no gimmicks. What you get is what you get. They’re normal people. And they’re guys that I can call my family now.”
As he did at UTEP, Mayers will play guard at CU. He said he’s slotted in at left guard for now, but could play the right side if needed.
Mayers is excited to play with his new teammates, including Seaton. He’s eager to learn from Coach Prime, new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and new line coach Phil Loadholt. But, mainly, he’s eager to be a part of the group that protects the quarterback and helps the Buffs have a better season in 2024.
“I put my life on the line every day, whether it’s practice or in the game,” he said. “I treat it as if my mom or sister’s back there. I think as offensive linemen, you don’t get all the touchdowns or the Heisman awards, but when we score those touchdowns, it takes the O-line to accomplish that. I think being an O-lineman, you have to be selfless. You have to be hungry, you have to be wanting to dominate in the trenches, every single snap.”

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