Colorado State transfer KJ Carta-Samuels hoping to finally find his time to shine

FORT COLLINS — On a scale of 10, first-year Colorado State quarterback Kyle James “K.J.” Carta-Samuels says he’s a nine when understanding the Rams’ complex offense. After Saturday’s scrimmage at Canvas Stadium, he’s confident he’ll be a ’10.’

Carta-Samuels isn’t your typical first-year player. Major college football isn’t new territory. He’s a fifth-year graduate transfer from Washington, where he backed up Huskies senior star Jake Browning the past three seasons. Carta-Samuels, 23, was originally scheduled to transfer to UCLA in March, before switching to CSU following the news expected starting QB Collin Hill re-tore his left ACL playing basketball.

Hill played in five games (three starts) as a true freshman in 2016 while competing with the now-graduated Nick Stevens before taking his redshirt in 2017.

“I really do feel good about where I’m at,” Carta-Samuels said Thursday before his sixth practice with the Rams. “The first couple practices were heavy installs, so there was a lot thrown on your plate. Kind of scrambled a little bit, trying to figure everything out. But now that we’re getting through fall camp a little more, I have way more understanding. It just becomes quicker. It becomes less thought and more reaction-based.”

He should feel confident. If the Rams’ season opener was tomorrow instead of Aug. 25, he’d be the starter. Coach Mike Bobo has Carta-Samuels atop his unofficial depth chart, followed by redshirt freshman Justice McCoy and Hill. Hill has been working out in pads with a brace on his left knee, but it’s Carta-Samuels and McCoy taking snaps with the Nos. 1 and 2 offenses.

Bobo is thrilled with his new QB’s work ethic and hunger to finally become a starting quarterback. In three seasons at Washington, Carta-Samuels completed 54 percent of his passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

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