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Random Thoughts – Volume IX

Sensational Seven (Updated to include Ohio State transfer Max Wray)

To date, CU has added seven players through the Transfer Portal, while losing twelve. And yet, even the most cynical of Buff fans would have to think CU is getting the better of it …

Joined the Buffs in January, and participated in spring practices

  • Quarterback J.T. Shrout … Sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining … From Tennessee … Played in eight games for the Volunteers, with one start … Completed 37-of-69 passes (.536) for 494 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions … In 2020, he played in four games, completing 24-of-42 passes (.571) for 315 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions … A three-star recruit from Newhall, California, Shrout had offers from Cal, as well as schools San Diego State, San Jose State, and Colorado State …
  • Linebacker Robert Barnes … Graduate transfer, but with two years of eligibility remaining … From Oklahoma … He played in 34 career games for the Sooners, starting 10 … He saw action at both linebacker and safety … He totaled 78 tackles (49 solo), one tackle for loss, two interceptions, four passes defended, and one forced fumble in his career … In 2020, he played in nine games and started one, playing at both linebacker and safety, with nine tackles and a half tackle for loss … A four-star recruit from Southlake, Texas, Barnes had offers from over a dozen Power Five schools, including: Alabama; Ohio State; Texas; USC; Notre Dame; Nebraska; and Iowa …

Signed with the Buffs, expected on campus this summer … 

  • Linebacker Jack Lamb … Sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining … From Notre Dame … Lamb finished his Irish tenure with 20 total tackles and two tackles for a loss across 15 games … As a member of the Recruiting Class of 2018, Lamb was listed as the No. 7 inside linebacker prospect in the country. He was selected for the 2018 Under Armour All-American game … A four-star recruit from Temecula, California, Lamb had offers from over a dozen Power Five schools, including eight Pac-12 schools – Oregon; Arizona State; Cal; UCLA; Washington; Utah; Arizona and Washington State – as well as offers from schools like Oklahoma and Penn State …
  • Offensive lineman Noah Fenske … A freshman with four years of eligibility remaining … From Iowa … Although he was on the depth chart at center with Iowa, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Fenske said he could play anywhere on the line with the Buffs … “(The coaches) have pretty much talked about me having an opportunity to learn all three line positions,” he said … Fenske is 6’4″, 300-pounds … A three-star recruit from New Hampton, Iowa, Fenske committed to his home state Iowa, Fenske had offers from North Dakota and South Dakota State, but had interest from Minnesota and Iowa State …
  • Defensive lineman Blayne Toll … A freshman with four years of eligibility remaining … From Arkansas … The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Toll was a true freshman at Arkansas last season, playing both tight end and defensive end. Toll played in seven games last season on special teams … Toll was rated as one of the top 25 defensive ends in the country for the class of 2020 … A three-star recruit from Hazen, Arkansas, Toll had over a dozen offers from Power Five schools, including: LSU; Auburn; Oklahoma; Penn State; Nebraska; Boston College; Oklahoma State and Baylor …
  • Safety Atanza Vongor … A sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining … From TCU … Vongor, listed at 6-foot-1, 208 pounds by TCU … After redshirting in 2018, Vongor played in 16 games over the past two seasons, mostly on special teams. On defense, he played behind LaKendrick Van Zandt, who earned All-Big 12 honorable mention … A four-star recruit from Grand Prairie, Texas, Vongor had offers from almost 20 Power Five conference schools, including: Clemson; Georgia; Florida; Texas A&M; Michigan; Texas; Arizona State; Iowa; Nebraska and Wisconsin …
  • Offensive tackle Max Wray … A graduate transfer with three years of eligibility remaining … From Ohio State … Wray is listed as a 6’7″, 308-pound offensive tackle, but was likely to be a backup this fall behind all-Big Ten returning starters … A four star recruit from Franklin, Tennessee, Wray had offers from eight SEC schools, including Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee and Mississippi. Wray also had offers schools like USC and North Carolina …

What do you like best about this group?

First, take a look at some of the offer sheets for some of these players. Quarterback J.T. Shrout wasn’t exactly wowing programs out of high school … but he wound up a starting quarterback for an SEC program. Offensive lineman Noah Fenske committed to his home state Iowa Hawkeyes early in the process, and was only garnering interest from local Power Five programs … but this is also a versatile 6’4″, 300-pound freshman with four years of eligibility remaining.

The other five? Jack Lamb had offers from eight Pac-12 schools, as well as Oklahoma and Penn State … Fellow linebacker Robert Barnes, meanwhile, was courted by powers like Alabama, Ohio State, Texas and USC … Defensive lineman Blayne Toll? Try LSU, Auburn, Oklahoma and Penn State … Safety Atanza Vongor had offers from most of the current national powers, like Clemson, Georgia, Texas A&M and Florida … while the latest new Buff, offensive lineman Max Wray, originally committed to Georgia before signing with Ohio State. USC, LSU, Tennessee, and Texas A&M were among the other pursuers.

Imagine how excited the Buff Nation would have been if CU had beaten these teams out for these players out of high school?

As tantalizing as the offer sheets may be, perhaps more important for the Buffs over the next season or two is that the CU coaching staff was not only able to sign quality players (each with at least two years of eligibility remaining), but able to sign quality players in positions of need.

With Nate Landman’s recovery going well (but still a question mark), bringing in not one, but two impressive linebackers was a great move. The two other defensive players – defensive lineman Blayne Toll and defensive back Atanza Vongor – will compete for starting positions this fall. Two of the offensive additions – quarterback J.T. Shrout and offensive lineman Noah Fenske – could be seen as insurance policies – quality players who could compete for starting positions in the next few seasons if other prospects don’t pan out, while Wray could become a starter this fall.

Meanwhile, Here’s What CU has lost … 

Update … Cornerback Tarik Luckett becomes fourth post-spring Buff to leave

Sophomore Tarik Luckett has, according to the NCAA, entered the Transfer Portal.

Tweet from NCAA Transfer Portal … 2019 3-star DB Tarik Luckett has entered the transfer portal after totaling 8 tackles in 3 games as a true freshman and not seeing the field in 2020 at Colorado

As a freshman in 2019, Luckett dressed for all 12 games, played in six and started two games, against UCLA and Stanford, at cornerback … He played in five games on defense, 161 total snaps, with eight tackles, two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry … In his two starts, he played in 128 snaps with seven tackles, a quarterback hurry and two pass breakups. Injuries kept him from contributing during the 2020 season.

Luckett will have four years to play three at his new school.

While it’s never a good day to lose a member of the Buff Nation, when you compare what CU has gained, above, to what CU has lost … it’s a pretty fair trade for the Buffs …

  • Quarterback Tyler Lytle … A three-star recruit out of high school … 12 Power Five offers … Transferred to UMass …
  • Running back Jaren Mangham … A three-star recruit out of high school … 33 Power Five offers … Transferred to South Florida …
  • Wide receiver K.D. Nixon … A four-star recruit out of high school … 14 Power Five offers … Transferred to USC …
  • Offensive lineman Valentin Senn … A two-star recruit out of high school … 0 other Power Five offers … Transferred to UConn …
  • Offensive lineman Nikko Pohahau … A two-star recruit out of high school … 0 other Power Five offers …
  • Defensive lineman Jason Harris … A three-star recruit out of high school … 22 Power Five offers … Transferred to Arizona …
  • Linebacker Akil Jones … A three-star recruit out of high school … 1 other Power Five offers …
  • Defensive back K.J. Trujillo … A three-star recruit out of high school … 4 Power Five offers …
  • Defensive back William Anglen … A three-star recruit out of high school … 0 other Power Five offers …
  • Defensive back Derrion Rakestraw … A three-star recruit out of high school … 0 other Power Five offers … Transferred to Tulane …
  • Defensive back D.J. Oats … A two-star recruit out of high school … 0 other Power Five offers …
  • Defensive back Tarik Luckett … A three-star recruit out of high school … 4 other Power Five offers

That’s a large number of former Buffs who are no longer wearing black-and-gold (especially in the defensive backfield), with several more names to be added between now and August.

Only two of the 12, however, have found new homes at Power Five conference schools. Jason Harris, who is from Arizona, went home to play with his brother. Which leaves only K.D. Nixon, who transferred to USC. Nixon finished his career in Boulder in the top 20 on CU’s all-time receptions and receiving yards lists, and yet there are many who felt that Nixon presence was holding back some of CU’s younger receivers. Did Clay Helton at USC see something in Nixon Buff fans didn’t? Guess we’ll find out.

The remaining players on the list landed at lower division schools … or have yet to find a new home. Compared to the offer sheets of the newest Buffs, you have to think that, objectively, the seven coming in will help the Buffs more than would the 12 who have left.

In Karl we trust …

Quest to Get to 89 … 

After the departure of cornerbacks D.J. Oats and Tarik Luckett and the addition of TCU safety Atanza Vongor and offensive tackle Max Wray, CU has a projected 91 scholarship players for the fall, which is two above the maximum allowed.

Typically, 85 scholarships are allowed, but with the NCAA granting all players an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools can add returning seniors who were already on scholarship – often called “super seniors” – to the list of 85. CU has four returning players in that category: quarterback Sam Noyer, offensive lineman Kary Kutsch, defensive lineman Jeremiah Doss and linebacker Nate Landman.

CU needs to be at 89 or less by the start of preseason camp in August.

So, there are at least two Buffs currently on scholarship who will not be on the team come August. And, with CU still actively seeking more help there may need to be even more attrition.

Stay tuned …

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8 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Vol. IX”

  1. It’s almost like Free Agency in the league…KD backed up his words in upgrading the roster and took advantage of our benefits to those looking to transfer…for many of them think the glam of it all has worn out. They want a stress free place w/NFL connections/experience (the smart ones realize this is their last shot at making a career of it).

  2. Good recap CUATG.
    Write up and comments help illuminate this process and change underway with the CU roster.
    I am impressed so far, and think it reflects well on the what is happening with CU football and the coaching staff. It does appear that we are ‘moving up in the draft’ in terms of upgrading talent on roster and addressing areas of need.
    I think this August will be of utmost importance to put the pieces in place…

  3. If this staff manages the roster the right way it will set CU up nicely down the road. These coaches seem to have the respect of the players and do not seem to be the types who seem to overpromise. Both football and basketball programs are staffed by people with integrity.

  4. Yes we are upgrading the talent and that is necessary to get us back to playing big time football. The past coaches took too many diamonds in the rough and hoped they would work out. Still, it is sad we have to have the attrition. Just like layoffs at firms, it is a difficult process, but sometimes necessary. I hope the staff does the transition with great kindness and support, as these are young kids CU invited to come here just a few years ago. It is not the same as professional players be cut or traded IMO.

    1. Good point, someone we know on these posts could probably give us this info, how many of the players leaving the program will leave with a degree? And due to last year not counting, how many years they have left ? i.e. the new line man from OSU has three years left, but is transferring in with a degree, if many of the players leaving CU are leaving with a degree, that is great; graduating players is important.

      Add in that some will have 2 or more years to play elsewhere and some are taking Power5 experience to their new school where they will be a “big fish in a small pond”. And, they should be able to get a Masters degree with that CU undergrad, I just think/hope most are leaving on good terms with a positive experience.

  5. AND, we believe that this staff will develop these guys better than past staffs could… we hope.

    This super seniors thing can go two ways, and every variation in between, since CU had a small senior class with some leaving before they counted towards next year’s roster CU has only 4 super seniors compared to schools that can have up to 6 times as many. In the short run, schools with more seniors can carry more into this season giving them an advantage in depths. But next year’s roster management will be more difficult, they basically have to kick the same number of extra players off the team, how will that play out?

    Will some coaches receive fallout from “broken promises”? Will the programs become top heavy and struggle with roster management in year two or three after all of this?

    The Buffs are adding without overloading if you know what I mean, maybe it will be just the right amount without creating a different problem down the road; especially when you add the financial part of the equation. I think some schools will mismanage their rosters and get greedy this year just to have to upset some of their players down the road; could make recruiting new players more difficult if they put off some good recruits with roster mismanagement… if that makes sense?

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