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Class of 2018 – Impact on 2018 Roster … Offense

As the calendar moves to 2018, we can finally put the 2017 season behind us.

The Recruiting Class of 2018 is already – for the most part – in the fold, six weeks earlier than usual. Below, we look at the likely makeup of the 2018 CU football lineup, and how the Class of 2018 figures to impact the two-deep roster.

There is also a look at where attrition might take place this spring. CU is currently sitting at 87 scholarship players, two over the NCAA-mandated limit of 85. There may be an addition or two to the lineup over the next few months, so there are likely 3-5 current scholarship players who will not be in uniform come Fall Camp in August.

Quarterback

Player lost (with 2017 season stats) … T.J. Patterson (did not take a snap at quarterback, but was the holder on kicks. His one pass of the 2017 season was an incompletion on a fake field goal attempt against UCLA).

2018 Projected Roster

Seniors … none

Juniors … Steven Montez

Sophomores … Sam Noyer … Casey Marksberry … Tyler McGarry

Red-shirt freshmen … Tyler Lytle

Recruiting Class of 2018 … Blake Stenstrom

 

Recruiting Class of 2018 Impact on 2018 Lineup … None.

Blake Stenstrom has good bona fides (6’3″, 202-pounds; three-star prospect) and the lineage (son of Steve Stenstrom, who played for Stanford and the Chicago Bears), but he couldn’t even claim the starting spot at his high last season. Stenstrom split time at Valor Christian this past fall with junior Luke McCaffrey (side note: are we almost done with the McCaffreys? While CU has offered the No. 1 prospect out of the state for the Class of 2019, but, like his brothers, Luke is likely to go elsewhere).

So, while there is certainly hope for Stenstrom come the 2020 season and beyond, the only way Stenstrom gets on the field in 2018 is if the three scholarship quarterbacks ahead of him on the roster are all injured.

Of much greater significance this off-season is who will be named the new quarterbacks coach at Colorado. The two co-offensive coordinators already have other jobs (Darrin Chiaverini – wide receivers; Klayton Adams – offensive line), so the new assistant coach coming in will have a returning starter in Steven Montez and an heir apparent in Tyler Lytle.

We’ll have to wait and see how Blake Stenstrom fits into that mix down the road.

Attrition possibilities … Negligible.

Yes, it is true that one of the four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for 2018 will fail to meet the standards of the new quarterbacks coach, and will decide to move on. It is not likely to happen this off-season, however. With only four quarterbacks on the roster – with two of them being freshmen – each can enter Fall Camp with aspirations of taking the field as a Buff.

 

Running backs

Players lost (with 2017 season stats) … Phillip Lindsay (50 career games; 30 starts … 1,474 rushing yards; 14 touchdowns … 23 receptions; 257 yards; one touchdown) … Michael Adkins (32 career games; four starts … 11 rushes; 25 yards … one reception; four yards) … Tanner Grzesiek (walk-on; no stats)

2018 Projected Roster

Seniors … Donovan Lee … Kyle Evans

Juniors … Beau Bisharat*

Sophomores … Riley Hillis … Chase Sanders

Red-shirt freshmen … Alex Fontenot

Recruiting Class of 2018 … Deion Smith … Jarek Broussard

Bold = returning starter … Italics = non-scholarship player … * = denotes red-shirt season still available

 

Recruiting Class of 2018 Impact on 2018 Lineup … Significant.

Hard as it may be to believe, Beau Bisharat will be a junior next fall. The Buffs’ former four-star recruit has been languishing behind Lindsay in the lineup, finishing the 2017 season with just 21 carries for 61 yards.

If not Bisharat, then who? CU will have two senior running backs on the roster in 2018. Kyle Evans suffered a hip dislocation last spring, and, while he did return for the fall, did not see much playing time (two carries for two yards; one reception for six yards). Donovan Lee was also injured last spring (fractured fibula), but took a red-shirt season in 2017, sitting out the entire fall.

Should the three upperclassmen not deliver, the Colorado offense may need to turn to a player who has yet to see the playing field in a CU uniform … and, oddly enough, all three options are from Texas.

In addition to the two incoming true freshmen, CU has Alex Fontenot, a red-shirt freshman who was rated as the No. 55 overall running back in the nation from the Recruiting Class of 2017. He is 6’0″, 190-pounds, and has received positive reviews this fall.

So … that’s plenty of bodies ahead of the incoming Class of 2018, but, with the departure of Phillip Lindsay, there is certainly the opportunity for Deion Smith or Jarek Broussard to see some playing time.

Or … the Recruiting Class of 2018 may not be done.

There is a better-than-even chance that Rakeem Boyd, a junior college transfer, may still sign with Colorado in February. Here is Boyd’s bio …

Rakeem Boyd – RB

… Junior College transfer … 

Just the facts … Boyd is a 6’0″, 200-pound running back, originally from Houston, Texas, who comes to Colorado from Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas Rivals bio  247Sports bio

What others say about Boyd … Boyd is considered to be a three-star prospect by 247 Sports, but was a four-star prospect out of the Recruiting Class of 2016 (and was recruited by Colorado). Boyd signed a Letter of Intent with Texas A&M, and took a redshirt year at College Station before transferring to Independence Community College in Kansas.

In 2017, Boyd had 192 carries for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns.

In high school, Boyd was a star. Boyd was named the District 19-5A Overall MVP as a senior….2014: Was the District 19-5A Co-MVP as a junior….2013: Earned first-team all-district honors as a sophomore.

Boyd had other offers from … only UMass, which gives you pause. A four-star high school star, Boyd left Texas A&M after failing to stay academically eligible. Why Boyd did not receive more offers after posting a 1,200-yard season in 2017 … we’ll see.

Here is a link to Boyd’s Hudl.com highlights.

Attrition possibilities … Fair to Good.

The spring will see a sorting out of the pecking order of the running back lineup in the post-Phillip Lindsay era.

If Rakeem Boyd signs, and if Boyd and/or one or two of the three freshmen backs show promise, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see one of the two seniors, Donovan Lee or Kyle Evans, seek playing time elsewhere. Donovan Lee is on schedule to graduate in May, and could play his senior season elsewhere without having to sit out a season or play at the FCS level.

Fullbacks/Tight Ends

Players lost (with 2017 season stats) … George Frazier (one catch for nine yards … also saw time on defense, with over 130 snaps on that side of the line, collecting 11 tackles and a sack).

2018 Projected Roster

Seniors … Eddy Lopez … Dylan Keeney

Juniors … Chris Bounds

Sophomores … Jared Poplawski* … Derek Coleman

Red-shirt freshmen … Brady Russell … Eric Klemmer

Recruiting Class of 2018 … Darrion Jones (JC)

Bold = returning starter … Italics = non-scholarship player … * = denotes red-shirt season still available

 

Recruiting Class of 2018 Impact on 2018 Lineup … (Potentially) significant.

Ever since Mike MacIntyre came to Colorado from San Jose State, Buff fans have been waiting for the tight end position to become a force for good instead of evil. Instead, the position has become virtually non-existent in the CU passing game.

There were some glimpses of the possible in 2017. Chris Bounds had only seven catches (for 102 yards) all season, but six of the seven came in the final seven games, with a few more balls thrown his way. Jared Poplawski did not have a catch all year, but seems to have the tools to become a weapon.

A new offense, with new offensive coordinators … could make a significant difference for Bounds and Poplawski in 2018.

And now … Enter Darrion Jones.

A junior college transfer, with three years to play two, Jones had 795 yards receiving last year (in only eight games). For the mathematically challenged, that’s an average of almost 100 yards receiving per game.

Or, put another way, Jones averaged almost as many yards receiving per game (99.3), as all of CU’s tight ends posted … for the entire season (111).

That’s got to be a good sign for the tight ends heading into the 2018 season.

Attrition possibilities … Fair to Good.

Eddy Lopez and Dylan Keeney are seniors-to-be, and while both have played (Keeney has played in 38 games; Lopez 23), neither has been a major contributor. Keeney endured all of spring drills with back spasms, then missed all of the 2017 season. If healthy, Keeney could play in 2018 and then apply for a medical red-shirt season in 2019. If not healthy, however, Keeney may call it a career.

 

Wide Receivers

Players lost (with 2017 season stats) … Bryce Bobo (50 career games; 28 starts … 62 catches for 693 yards; five touchdowns) … Shay Fields (50 career games; 46 starts … 46 catches for 623 yards; four touchdowns) … Devin Ross (49 career games; 31 starts … 43 catches for 508 yards; two touchdowns) … Lee Walker (8 special team points) … Kevin Dement (walk-on; no stats)

2018 Projected Roster

Seniors … Jay MacIntyre … Kabion Ento …  Juwann Winfree … Xavier Cochrane

Juniors … Tony Brown (JC) … Cameron Frazier

Sophomores … Laviska Shenault* … K.D. Nixon* … Erik Lawson

Red-shirt freshmen … Maurice Bell … Jaylon Jackson … Curtis Chiaverini

Recruiting Class of 2018 … Daniel Arias … Dylan Thomas … Dimitri Stanley

Bold = returning starter … Italics = non-scholarship player … * = denotes red-shirt season still available

 

Recruiting Class of 2018 Impact on 2018 Lineup … Who knows?

In most seasons, when the No. 3, the No. 7, the No. 8 receivers on a school’s all-time receptions list leave town in the same season, it’s cause for panic. However, many in the Buff Nation, while they thank and wish well Shay Fields (No. 3 in all-time receptions), Bryce Bobo (No. 7) and Devin Ross (No. 8), they aren’t too concerned about the future of the wideout position at Colorado.

That’s because CU is well-stocked in talent at wide receiver (some would say over-stocked). True enough, the leading returning receiver is Jay MacIntyre (28 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns), but right behind him are some receivers who gave Buff fans a thrill or two during the 2017 season: Juwann Winfree (21 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns); Laviska Shenault (seven catches for 168 yards); and K.D. Nixon (two catches for 17 yards; three carries for 20 yards).

Not enough? There are two upperclassmen who will also be vying for playing time this fall. Kabion Ento was a senior this past fall, but took a red-shirt season instead of receiving minimal playing time behind three senior starters.

Now entering the mix, as part of the Recruiting Class of 2018 are three freshmen. The trio, like Laviska Shenault and K.D. Nixon last fall, could make a case for early playing time.

Also joining the mix is transfer Tony Brown. The former Texas Tech wideout (who played for Darrin Chiaverini in Lubbock) is already on campus taking classes, and will have two seasons to play two.

With Shay Fields, Bryce Bobo, and Devin Ross all graduating, there is certainly an opportunity for the Recruiting Class of 2018 to make a statement.

Here’s guessing, though, that it will be the Recruiting Class of 2017 (Shenault and Nixon) who will have the bigger seasons in 2018.

Attrition possibilities … Good.

Too many players, not enough footballs.

Johnny Huntley, who had played in 24 games (no starts), has already left the team and is transferring. Lee Walker has also left the team. Kabion Ento will be graduating in May, and could transfer (like Donovan Lee, above) without having to sit out a season (though Ento has expressed excitement about contributing in 2018).

Not every story has a happy ending, and there are just too many wide receivers on the roster to keep everyone happy.

 

Offensive Line

Players lost … Jonathan Huckins (36 career games; 21 starts) … Jeromy Irwin (46 career games; 36 starts) … Gerrad Kough (43 career games; 35 starts)

2018 Projected Roster

Seniors … Josh Kaiser

Juniors … Tim Lynott, Jr. Aaron Haigler Isaac Miller … Brett Tonz … Dillon Middlemiss … Jack Shutack … Justin Eggers

Sophomores … Hunter Vaughn … Kolter Smith

Red-shirt freshmen … Colby Pursell … Chance Lytle … Jake Moretti … Heston Paige … Grant Polley … William Sherman … Jacob Isen

Recruiting Class of 2018 … Casey Roddick (grey-shirt) … Josh Jynes … Frank Fillip

Bold = returning starter … Italics = non-scholarship player … * = denotes red-shirt season still available

 

Recruiting Class of 2018 Impact on 2018 Lineup … (Hopefully) insignificant.

The Buffs have plenty of upperclassmen returning who have playing experience, including three starters. In addition to those three – Tim Lynott, Jr.; Aaron Haigler; and Isaac Miller – there are two other players (Josh Kaiser; Brett Tonz) with significant playing time under their belts.

After that, however, there is a significant gap in the roster. CU will only have one scholarship sophomore this fall, Hunter Vaughn. Once you get past Vaughn in the lineup, though, you are looking at a 2018 unit which will have nine players who have yet to play a down for the Buffs … half of the offensive line.

The good news is that there are several red-shirt freshman who should be able to make their presence known this fall. Buff fans should be excited to see Grant Polley, Chance Lytle, and Jake Morietti. If one or two of them can get into the rotation, the Buffs should be set for the next two seasons at least.

Offensive linemen who make the lineup early in their careers are rare. Tim Lynott stepped into the starting roster as a redshirt freshman, but he is considered an anomaly.

The Recruiting Class of 2018 will not be heard from in 2018 … unless the CU coaching staff lures a junior college (or 5th-year senior) player to join the Buffs come the February signing period.

Attrition possibilities … Fair.

Colorado only has six offensive linemen who are upperclassmen, and all have been starters in their careers. If there is attrition, it will come from the underclassmen, and will be as likely to come as a result of injury as it is to come from lack of potential future playing time.

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4 Replies to “Class of ’18 Impact – Offense”

    1. VK, you sure do have a long Lingering Dose of CHS (Cody Hawkins Syndrome). Get over it. I still have a good memory and if I do say so I remember more important 3rd Down conversions to lil Mac then just about any other receiver willing to go over the middle. He seemed more willing to take a beating and kept on ticking then the TE’s, but of course I will agree with you and EP that Lingering didn’t realize that the TE is part of a successful offense.

      Watched quite a bit of college football in the last few days and the teams that did really well offensively, for the most part had a very integral TE incorporated in their O.

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