Jaleel Awini entered the Air Force Academy as one of the football program’s most promising players. He was the 2010-2011 Gatorade Colorado Football Player of the Year in his senior year at Rangeview High School, when, as the quarterback, he led his team to an 11-1 record and took them to the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
As an Air Force Academy Falcon, he was a redshirt freshman, meaning he was with the team but was deliberately kept from playing, so that he could continue to develop at that higher level of play. In his sophomore year, he had the chance to transfer to the University of Colorado, in Boulder
“I feel like this is where I should be,” he said, after becoming a Buffalo. “I’m happy here.”
As a Colorado native, the Buffaloes were the team he dreamed of playing for as he grew up in in the Denver area. “Those Colorado teams I saw as a kid [in the early 2000s], that’s the reason I started playing football,” he said. The quarterback position was locked up at first and second string, so he switched to linebacker and then, more comfortable on offense, to wide receiver.
Jaleel Awini impressed CU head coach Mike MacIntyre with his toughness. “When you move a quarterback over, you’re worried about them going and hitting somebody,” he said. “That’s a different toughness. He does that.”