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Pat Shurmur praises ‘tough’ Colorado center Hank Zilinskas

Hank Zilinskas’ loyalty to the Colorado Buffaloes football program hasn’t gone unnoticed.

A local product from Cherry Creek High School who committed to CU during the Karl Dorrell era, Zilinskas has hung tough and was even rewarded with considerable playing time as a true freshman last season. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive lineman started at center in wins over Colorado State and Arizona State last fall when Van Wells hit the injured list.

Speaking with the media on Thursday, new full-time CU offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur acknowledged that Zilinskas’ willingness to stay put and compete isn’t seen often in college football anymore.

“It’s easy now for guys to just pull the ripcord and take off,” Shurmur said. “Hank was here a year ago and got some reps. Then, he watched this winter as we brought in like six guys around him. He didn’t say anything. He kept working, he was resilient and he was tough. He kept learning, kept developing and got bigger. He did all the things you want from a young man that we’ve developed, so credit to him. If we had to play a game tomorrow, he’d probably be the guy in there.”

As Shurmur mentioned, expect Zilinskas to run with the No. 1 offense during Saturday’s spring game.

Colorado’s annual Black and Gold spring football game will begin at 1 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Network.

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Story originally appeared on Buffaloes Wire