CU Depth Chart and Recruiting Needs from the Class of 2014

The Colorado Recruiting Class of 2014 is largely in place.

There still may be some defections, however. Witness this past week when linebacker Zach Brown from San Diego, a CU commit since last summer, decided he wanted to play closer to home, and de-committed.

There may also be more attrition from the roster, opening up some additional scholarships for next fall.

Still, the Recruiting Class of 2014 is mostly settled, which means the Buff roster for the 2014 season is, for the most part, a known quantity. As a result, we are now in position to review how the eligibility chart will look come September. Last week, we looked at the offensive units.

This week, its the defense and special teams …

Defensive Line

2013 Post-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Defensive tackles … Nate Bonsu, Sr.; Josh Tupou, So.; Tyler Henington, So.; Justin Solis, So.; John Tuso, So. (walk-on); Kory Rasmussen, R-Fr.; De’Jon Wilson, R-Fr.

Defensive ends … Chidera Uzo-Diribe, Sr.; Kirk Poston, Jr.; Juda Parker, Jr.; Andre Nichols, Jr. (walk-on); Samson Kafovalu, So.; John Stuart, R-Fr.; Derek McCartney, (gray-shirt); Jimmie Gilbert (incoming freshman); Markeis Reed (incoming freshman); Timothy Coleman (incoming freshman)

2014 Pre-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Defensive tackles … Josh Tupou, Jr.; Tyler Henington, Jr.; Justin Solis, Jr.; Samson Kafovalu, Jr. (moved over from defensive end); John Tuso, Jr. (walk-on)

Defensive ends … Kirk Poston, Sr.; Juda Parker, Sr.; Andre Nichols, Sr. (walk-on); De’Jon Wilson, So. (moved over from defensive tackle); Jimmie Gilbert, So.; Derek McCartney, R-Fr.; Markeis Reed, R-Fr.; Timothy Coleman, R-Fr.

Class of 2014 verbal commits:

Eddie Lopez, a 6’3″, 289-pound prospect from El Paso, Texas.

Lopez is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, but receives only two stars from Scout. Lopez was an “under-the-radar” prospect when he committed to Colorado in August (at the time, he wasn’t even in the Scout database).

Senior season … Lopez helped Coronado improve from 4-6 in 2012 to 8-3 and a District 1-5A championship this season. He was credited with 69 tackles, including 45 solo and 12 for a loss, and four sacks, up from 41 tackles (27 solo) as a junior. Lopez reported gaining 40 pounds in the past year. For his efforts this past season, Lopez was named by the El Paso Times as the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in his conference.

Comments … Lopez is considered to be a solid verbal. Lopez did take an unofficial visit to Austin for a Texas game, and did receive a scholarship offer from hometown UTEP, but has not waivered in his commitment.

Sam Bennion, a 6’6″, 243-pound prospect from Logan, Utah.

Bennion is considered a two-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout.

Senior season … Bennion had 63 tackles (39 solo) this past season, posting ten sacks, with three pass deflections and a forced fumble.

Comments … Want the good news or the bad news? The good news is that Bennion is a solid commit, and will come to Colorado a mature, larger defensive lineman. The bad news is that CU fans will have to wait two years to see Bennion in action, as he taking a two-year Mormon mission after high school. If it works out for Bennion and CU, Bennion will be that much stronger (and larger) when he starts playing for the Buffs in 2016.

Jase Franke, a 6’4″, 255-pound prospect from Ventura, California.

Franke is considered to be a two-star prospect by Rivals, but a three-star prospect by Scout. In Scout’s view, Franke is the No. 119 defensive end in the nation this year. .

Senior season … Franke had 70 tackles (42 solo) this past season, with nine sacks and a pass deflection.

Comments … Franke is considered to be a solid verbal. Franke had offers from a number of schools, including Arizona, Cal, and Boise State (and Washington after Chris Petersen became the Huskies’ coach), but after taking his official visit to Boulder in December, Franke closed his recruitment. “Going on that visit to Boulder this past weekend, it sealed the deal for me,” Franke told “Colorado is the best fit for me, I don’t plan on visiting anywhere else.”

Michael Mathewes, a 6’4″, 235-pound prospect from Mission Viejo, California.

Mathewes is considered by both Rivals and Scout to be a two-star prospect.

Senior season … Mathewes earned first-team all-league honors after recording a team-high 14 quarterbacks sacks and helping Mission Viejo to 11 wins this season (MaxPreps rated Mission Viejo as the No. 7 team in the state of California this past fall, and the No. 35 team nationally). Mathewes reportedly runs a 4.85 in the 40, a very quick time for a defensive lineman.

Comments … Mathewes is considered to be a solid verbal. A teammate of fellow Buff commit Josh Kaiser (OL), Mathewes had offers from Army and Air Force, as well as several Ivy League schools. Mathewes was picking up interest from schools like USC and Washington before both schools changed coaches. He took his official visit to Colorado in December, and committed after his visit.

Christian Shaver, a 6’3″, 215-pound prospect from Sandy, Utah.

Shaver is considered by both Rivals and Scout to be a two-star prospect.

Senior season … Shaver 59 tackles (43 solo) this past fall, including 6.5 sacks and six other tackles for loss. Shaver’s team (the Beetdiggers – you have to love that nickname!) was considered to by MaxPreps to be the No. 7 team in the state of Utah this season despite a 7-6 overall record. Shaver was the state discus champion as a junior, and will be competing again in track and field events this spring.

Comments … Shaver is considered to be a solid verbal. He had scholarship offers from Hawai’i and Utah State, but committed to CU in August after the Buffs extended a scholarship offer. Immediately thereafter, Utah extended its offer of a scholarship, but it was too late … Shaver was settled on becoming a Buff.

Terran Hasselbach, a 6’2″, 230-pound athlete from Regis Jesuit high in Aurora, Colorado.

Hasselbach is considered by both Rivals and Scout to be a two-star prospect. Rivals rates Hasselbach as the No. 18 player out of the state of Colorado this season.

Senior season … Hasselbach has had a tough start to his career, as a car accident kept him from playing his first two years. He then had a knee injury which deprived him of his junior year – and left him off the radar for many recruiting services. Hasselbach bounced back to be named an all-state performer in his senior campaign, earning the honor of being named the Colorado Mile High Sports Comeback Player of the Year. This past fall, Hasselbach recorded 78 tackles, 11 sacks, 35 quarterback hurries and three caused fumbles.

Comments … Hasselbach would have to be considered a solid verbal, seeing as how he committed on January 10th. A former Western Michigan commit, Hasselbach was waiting for the Buffs to offer, and, when Zach Brown de-committed, the opportunity for Hasselbach to stay home and play for Colorado became a reality.


2013 Post-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Inside linebackers … Derrick Webb, Sr.; Brady Daigh, Jr.; Lowell Williams, Jr.; K.T. Tu’umalo, Jr.; Thor Eaton, So. (walk-on); Clay Norgard, Fr.; Addison Gillam, Fr.; Jesse Hiss, Fr. (walk-on); Tim McLaughlin, Fr. (walk-on), George Frazier (incoming freshman); Ryan Severson (incoming freshman); Kenneth Olugbode (incoming freshman)

Outside linebackers … Paul Vigo, Sr.; Tommy Paplion, Sr. (walk-on); Woodson Greer, Jr.; Hunter Shaw, So. (walk-on); Markeis Reed, Fr.

2014 Pre-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Inside linebackers .. Brady Daigh, Sr.; Lowell Williams, Sr.; Thor Eaton, Jr. (walk-on); Addison Gillam, So.; Kenneth Olugbode, So.; Ryan Severson, So.; Clay Norgard, So.; Tim McLaughlin, So. (walk-on)

Outside linebackers … Woodson Greer, Sr.; K.T. Tu’umalo, Sr.; Hunter Shaw, Jr. (walk-on); Deaysean Rippy, So.; Garrett Gregory, Fr. (walk-on)

Class of 2014 verbal commits: **(but don’t forget transfer Deaysean Rippy, a transfer from Pitt who will be eligible this fall)**

Grant Watanabe, a 5’10”, 225-pound prospect from San Antonio, Texas.

Watanabe is rated as a three-star linebacker by both Rivals and Scout. According to Scout, Watanabe is the 57tth-best middle linebacker recruit in the nation. As a junior, Watanabe was named the Defensive Player of the Year in San Antonio after he recorded 167 tackles, 27 for a loss, three sacks and four interceptions. He was also a junior All-American, first-team all-state, first-team all-city and unanimous first-team all-district selection.

Senior season … Watanabe was hampered by a hamstring injury and a knee injury during the regular season, but still racked up 74 tackles (25 solo), together with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Watanabe played the state 4A championship game with a broken left foot – and was still named the game’s defensive MVP.

Comments … Watanabe is considered to be a solid commit. Before his senior season, Watanabe toured Texas colleges, and took an unofficial visit to Utah. He will take his official visit to Colorado the weekend of January 17th, which will give him time to watch his fellow classmate, CU freshman forward George King, in action against USC.

Rick Gamboa, a 6’0″, 217-pound prospect from West Hills, California.

Gamboa is rated as a three-star linebacker by both Rivals and Scout. Rivals has Gamboa ranked as the No. 97 player out of the state of California this season, while Scout rates Gamboa as the No. 44 middle linebacker in the nation.

As a junior, Gamboa was named Mission League Defensive Player of the Year for the Chaminade Eagles. Gamboa was named the Daily News all-area Defensive Player of the Year, all-state and all-CIF after recording 160 tackles, eight sacks and one interception as a junior in 2012.

Senior season … Gamboa was a member of the state championship team at Chaminade this past season, and was again first-team all-conference and first-team All-Area (LA Daily News). Gamboa didn’t repeat as the League Defensive Player of the Year, however, as that award was given to defensive back Donovan Lee, a teammate … and fellow Buff commit.

Comments … Gamboa is considered to be a solid verbal commit. He has been a CU commit since last June, and will be taking his one and only official visit to Colorado next weekend.


Defensive backs

2013 Post-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Cornerbacks … Greg Henderson, Jr.; Harrison Hunter, Jr., (walk-on); Kenneth Crawley, So.; Yuri Wright, So.; Brandon Brisco, So. (walk-on); John Walker, Fr.; Chidobe Awuzie (incoming freshman)

Safeties … Parker Orms, Sr.; Terrel Smith, Sr.; Jered Bell, Jr.; Josh Moten, Jr.; Marques Mosley, So.; Richard Yates, So. (walk-on); Isaac Archuleta, So. (walk-on); Alexander Stewart, Fr. (walk-on); Tedric Thompson, (incoming freshman); Ryan Moeller (incoming freshman walk-on)

2014 Pre-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Cornerbacks .. Greg Henderson, Sr.; Josh Moten, Sr.; Harrison Hunter, Sr. (walk-on); Kenneth Crawley, Jr.; Jeffrey Hall, Jr.; Brandon Brisco, Jr. (walk-on); Chidobe Awuzie, So.; John Walker, So.; Yuri Wright, So.; Tanner Harrison, Fr. (walk-on)

Safeties … Jered Bell, Sr.; Terrel Smith, Sr.; Marques Mosley, Jr.; Richard Yates, Jr. (walk-on); Isaac Archuleta, Jr. (walk-on); Tedric Thompson, So.; Austin Woodard, Fr. (walk-on)

Class of 2014 verbal commits:

Ahkello Witherspoon is a 6’3, 182-pound prospect from Sacramento City Community College.

A transfer, Witherspoon is not rated by Rivals, but is rated as a two-star prospect by Scout.

Senior season … was in 2012. Witherspoon played for Sacramento City Community College last fall. He was a full qualifier, but did not attract any good offers of a scholarship. After his fall campaign in Sacramento, Witherspoon attracted offers from Fresno State, Utah State, and UNLV, along with interest from Oregon State and Washington State.

Comments … Can’t be any more solid than already enrolled and in classes. Witherspoon signed with the Buffs in December, and will have four years to play three for the Buffs.

Jaisen Sanchez is a 6’1, 185-pound prospect from Honolulu, Hawai’i.

Sanchez is considered by both Rivals and Scout to be a two-star prospect.

Senior season … Sanchez earned first-team all-league and was selected to play in the Hawaii all-star game after recording 35 tackles, 14 pass break ups and three interceptions this past fall. Last spring, Sanchez won league in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.6-seconds.

Comments … Sanchez is considered to be a solid verbal. Sanchez had never been to Boulder before taking his official visit in December. His host was defensive lineman Juda Parker, who was a senior at Sanchez’ high school when Sanchez was a freshman. Sanchez left Boulder confident in his commitment, and has no other official visits planned.

Evan White is a 6’3″, 197-pound prospect from Aurora (Cherokee Trail).

White is considered to be a three-star prospect by Rivals, but a two-star prospect by Scout. Rivals rates White as the No. 7 prospect from the State of Colorado this season, while Scout has White as the No. 169 safety nationally.

As a junior, White had 88 tackles (46 solo), and seven interceptions. He also had 17 catches at wide receiver for 231 yards and two touchdowns. White was named first team all-league, conference and state. White clocked in at 11.3-seconds in the 100-meter dash, 22.25-seconds in the 200 and helped Cherokee Trail to a state championship in the 4×2-relay during track this spring.

Senior season … White had 46 tackles (20 solo), with four interceptions and four tackles for loss. White also had ten catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. White was a repeat All-state honoree by both the Denver Post and Mile High Sports.

Comments … White is considered to be a solid verbal. A commit since last summer, White did not entertain any scholarship offers from any other schools.

Donovan Lee is a 5’8″, 162-pound athlete from West Hills, California.

Lee is considered to be a three-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout. The thing is, Rivals has Lee rated as a three-star cornerback, the No. 80 player out of the state of California this season. Scout, meanwhile, has Lee as a three-star wide receiver, the No. 85 wide receiver nationally (Lee will likely be a cornerback / kick returner at Colorado).

Senior season … This past season, Lee put up great stats – as a wide receiver? As a cornerback? No. As a running back. Lee had 229 carries for 1,804 yards (a 7.88 ypc average) and 36 (36!) touchdowns. Lee also had 27 catches for 560 yards (over 20 yards per catch) and four more touchdowns. On defense, Lee had 112 tackles (92 solo), with eight interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The Chaminade Eagles finished the season with a 12-2 record, ranked as the No. 7 team in California, and the No. 36 team nationally, winning the state championship in their classification.

Comments … Lee is considered to be a solid verbal. After a stellar senior campaign, many schools – including many Pac-12 schools – came calling. Colorado was the first major school to offer Lee, however, and he is sticking with the Buffs. In addition to having fellow Chaminade star Rick Gamboa on board as a 2014 signee, those two players will be joining another former Eagle, wide receiver Elijah Dunston, a member of the CU Recruiting Class of 2013, who red-shirted this past fall.

Special Teams

2013 Post-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Kickers … Justin Castor, Sr.; Will Oliver, Jr.; Diego Gonzalez, So. (transfer)

Punters … Darragh O’Neill, Jr.; D.J. Wilhelm, Jr. (walk-on)

Long-snappers … Ryan Iverson, Sr., Keegan LaMar, Jr. (walk-on); Trevor Carver, Fr. (walk-on); Blake Allen, Fr. (walk-on); John Finch, Fr. (walk-on)

2014 Pre-Spring Depth Chart (by class):

Kickers … Will Oliver, Sr.; Diego Gonzalez, So.; Chris Graham, Fr. (walk-on)

Punters … Darragh O’Neill, Sr.

Long-snappers … Keegan LaMar, Jr. (walk-on); Trevor Carver, So. (walk-on); Blake Allen, R-Fr. (walk-on)

Class of 2014 Verbal Commit:

Wyatt Smith is 6’3″, 200-pound long-snapper from Perkinston, Mississippi.

Wyatt is considered to be a two-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout. Smith was rated, though,  the No. 2 long-snapper available.

2013 season … Smith played for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College the past two seasons, and will have three years to play two at Colorado.

Comments … Colorado had a four-year long-snapper in Ryan Iverson, who set special teams records at Colorado. There was a need for a long-snapper on the roster, and Smith fills that need. There are no concerns about Smith being a “solid verbal”, as Smith became the first member of the CU Recruiting Class of 2014, signing his letter of intent on December 18th.

5 Replies to “Depth Chart and Recruiting II”

    1. If closer to Mom and Dad, he might end up … at Colorado State.
      His offer sheet from last February shows Oregon State, Oklahoma State, and Colorado State. If he’s not going to be a Buff, let’s hope he turns out to be a Cowboy …

  1. Yo Stuart,
    What do you think of the idea of moving Stephane Nembot to the defensive side of the ball? The guy is huge and very strong and could really help clog up the middle. I know everyone likes to talk about his “potential” as an offensive tackle, but the fact is that the guy cannot pass block to save his life.

    The team stats show the guy gave up WAY more sacks and pressures than anyone else, and in most cases you would have to add the stats up of several guys to get the same numbers.

    MacIntyre has had a reputation of moving guys around to better use their talents, although that hasn’t happened here yet. It seems to me that this might fill two needs by getting big stong guy up the middle on the defensive line, and getting a liability off the offensive line. We redshirted a bunch of offensive linemen last year, and it seems to me that at least one of them would do a better job protecting the QB than Nembot.

    As the old saying goes, “Potential just means you ain’t done shit yet!” Maybe Nembot has a better chance to be a dominating player on the defensive side of the ball.


    1. I’m not sure. CU moved Nick Kasa around his entire career, and now he’s a tight end in the NFL.
      Okay with moving him, if the coaches and the player both think it’s in his long-term best interests. In year two at tackle, he did not seem to progress as quickly as we had hoped. He got a pass last year, thrust into the lineup with very little practice at the position. This past fall was supposed to show at least glimpses of what Nembot would look like as a dominant tackle, but we didn’t see it.

      We’ll see what the coaches come up with this spring ….

  2. Don’t forget to listen to my show 7-8 pm MST when Stuart Whitehair will be my guest. You can listen on Mile High Sports 1510am/93.7. If out of the area tune in via the Mile High Sports web site.

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