October 16, 2008

Quarles goes home as a Wildcat

Not long before Dan Hawkins took over the program and laid out the differences between the Big 12 and intramurals, the University of Colorado offered Aubrey Quarles, a native of the state, a scholarship, but academic issues made sure the marriage between the wide receiver and the Buffaloes never came to be.

So while Quarles eventually ended up at Kansas State, strong ties between the Wildcat receiver and the program remain, explaining why this Saturday's game has been circled on his calendar for quite some time.

Though he wasn't raised to cheer on the Buffs, for a four-year period, which spanned from the beginning of 2000 until the end of 2003, Quarles was as big a Colorado fan as anyone. He made the 40-mile drive from his parents' house in Aurora to Boulder regularly, dawning black and gold to cheer on the Buffs and his older brother, Clyde Surrell, who took the field for CU as a defensive back.

So when Colorado came knocking on his family's door for a second time, this time in pursuit of Quarles, everything fit like a tailored suit. He would follow in his Surrell's footsteps, and his family, along with his brother who wore a Buffalo uniform just years before, would return to Folsom Field for another four seasons, but this time in support him.

It was just as he pictured it.

"With my brother going there and everything, you could say I was a Colorado fan," Quarles said. "Colorado was like a dream come true for me."

Luckily for K-State, however, there's no cosmic order in football, and things don't always turn out the way they are supposed to.

"I was ineligible my senior year, and I kind of knew I wasn't going to make it to (Colorado)," Quarles said. "I had to go to junior college. After that, they were still trying to work some things out for me to go to Colorado, but I was ready for a change. I needed something new. I didn't want to go back to my home area. Fortunately, it all worked out and I ended up here."

But while a high school-aged Quarles unconditionally supported his sibling and the team he suited up for every Saturday, even in a 2002 game against the Wildcats, that favor won't be returned this year or ever.

It's just not in the cards.

Oh, Surrell will be in the stands this weekend's game all right, but you won't catch the Colorado alum wearing anything that so much as resembles purple. It's something Quarles, who seems to find some shred of humor in the situation, is yet to come to terms with, but at least for one weekend, blood or no blood, his own brother wouldn't mind seeing him return to Manhattan a loser.

"You're probably going to catch him in his black and gold at the stadium, he's told me that's his alma matter, maybe he'll have a two-way split though. That's the most I can hope for."

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