Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

… Program Note … CU spring practices open on March 19th. Over the next few weeks, there will be a unit-by-unit preview posted every week leading up to the start of spring ball.

In addition to a look at the current roster and questions which Coach Prime & Co. will be looking to address this spring, we’ll take a look at the odds of whether the described unit is likely to face attrition after the spring. The CU roster is currently hovering around 95 scholarship players, with a deadline of August 1st to get to the NCAA mandated maximum total of 85.

Previously posted: Quarterbacks and Running Backs

Up next Friday: Offensive Line

— Wide Receivers (13) …

Returning starter (bold); walk-on (italics):

  • Seniors … none
  • Juniors … Montana Lemonious-Craig … Ty Robinson … Jimmy Horn, Jr. (TR) … Xavier Weaver (TR) … Michael Harrison
  • Sophomores … Jordyn Tyson … Deuce Roberson (TR) 
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Grant Page … Chase Sowell … Chernet EstesCole Boscia
  • 2023 Signees … Asaad Waseem (EE) … Kaleb Mathis (EE-TR) … Adam Hopkins … Omarion Miller … Isaiah Hardge … Jordan Onovughe … Jacob Page

The Stats … 

2022 stats for returning players …

  • Montana Lemonious-Craig … 23 catches for 359 yards and three touchdowns …
  • Jordyn Tyson … 22 catches for 470 yards and four touchdowns …
  • Ty Robinson … three catches for 31 yards …
  • Michael Harrison … two catches for 12 yards …
  • Elsewhere ...
  • Xavier Weaver … at South Florida … 53 catches for 718 yards and six touchdowns
  • Jimmy Horn, Jr. … at South Florida … 37 catches for 551 yards and three touchdowns
  • Deuce Roberson … at Snow College … 24 receptions and 905 all-purpose yards

Nationally … CU in 2022 … 

  • Passing offense … 172.9 yds/game … 118th nationally
  • Total offense … 281.2 yds/game … 128th nationally
  • Scoring offense … 15.4 pts/game … 127th nationally

What to watch for …

Normally, spring practices are all about youth, with underclassmen getting their chance to impress the coaching staff while the established starters look on from the sidelines.

Well, if Buff fans have learned anything about the University of Colorado football program under Coach Prime, it’s that nothing is normal.

This spring in Boulder, wide receivers will be auditioning for a chance to get on the playing field this fall, but it won’t be the wide-eyed freshmen trying to find a spot on the roster, but the returning letter-winners.

Coach Prime & Co. signed eight wide receivers over the past two months (seven full time wide receivers and all-everything CB/WR Travis Hunter), the most wideouts in a recruiting Class in CU history

Of the eight new Buffs who will be focusing on playing wide receiver, six won’t be on campus until this summer. Much will be expected of four-star signees Adam Hopkins (the No. 36 receiver prospect in the nation) and Omarion Miller (No. 38), along with high three-star players Jacob Page (No. 115) Jordan Onovughe (No. 152) and Isaiah Hardge (No. 160) … not to mention South Florida transfer Xavier Weaver.

With almost half of the potential 2023 wide receiver roster going to prom and graduation this spring, the opportunity will be there for the returning players to get reps and make their case for earning a roster spot.

Last season’s breakout star, Jordyn Tyson, will not be a participant this spring, which leaves it to Montana Lemonious-Craig, Ty Robinson, Grant Page and Chase Sowell to battle it out with incoming transfer star Jimmy Horn, Jr. who had almost as many catches and yards last season at South Florida as CU’s returning receivers had combined, together with freshman early enrollee Asaad Waseem.

Six scholarship wide receivers battling for only a handful of openings on the roster.

It should be an intense spring …

Burning questions for spring … 

  • How many scholarship wide receivers will the new coaching staff carry this fall? Assuming that the five incoming scholarship freshmen will be given at least one season to prove their worth, and with injured Jordyn Tyson and junior transfer Jimmy Horn, Jr. all but guaranteed spots, how many spots are left?;
  • Did early enrollee Asaad Waseem put his scholarship opportunity in jeopardy by participating this spring, putting him potentially on the cut list come May?;
  • Will there be any news on the progress of Jordyn Tyson’s recovery? Buff fans know he won’t participate this spring, but is a medical redshirt year in 2023 a more likely possibility, due to the influx of new talent?

Attrition likelihoodHigh … With CU coaches looking to cut a total of 10-15 scholarship players from the roster between now and August 1st, it’s hard to imagine that Colorado will be able to carry a dozen or more wide receivers through to the fall. Coach Prime loves his skill position players, but eight is a large number of new bodies for one unit. With six of the seven new full-time wide outs all but guaranteed roster spots, attention will turn to three returnees – junior Ty Robinson, along with red-shirt freshmen Grant Page and Chase Sowell – to see if they can impress this spring.

— Tight Ends (6) …

Returning starter (bold); walk-on (italics):

  • Seniors … none
  • Juniors … none
  • Sophomores … Seydou Traore (TR) … Caleb Fauria … Erik Olsen … Austin Smith … Louis Passarello … Elijah Yelverton(TR)
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Zach Courtney … Brady Kopetz
  • 2023 Signees … none

The Stats … 

2022 stats for returning players …

  • Erik Olsen … five catches for 21 yards
  • Caleb Fauria … three catches for 23 yards
  • Austin Smith … one catch for 4 yards
  • Elsewhere … 
  • Seydou Traore … at Arkansas State … 50 catches for 655 yards and four touchdowns

Nationally … CU in 2022 … 

  • Passing offense … 172.9 yds/game … 118th nationally
  • Total offense … 281.2 yds/game … 128th nationally
  • Scoring offense … 15.4 pts/game … 127th nationally

What to watch for …

Seydou Traore may be the best goalie to ever suit up for the Buffs. The Arkansas State transfer has an interesting background, and his progress in the Sean Lewis offense may be one of the biggest stories to watch this spring.

Traore is originally from England, which also produced Colorado 2023 linebacker signee Kofi Taylor-Barrocks. Thaore had never competed in 11-man football before arriving in the United States. He had all of one year of preparation at Clearwater Academy International in Florida before heading off to college. Traore was a 247Sports three-star prospect coming out of high school, despite his lack of experience playing the sport.

After catching 11 passes for 79 yards during his first season of collegiate action with the Red Wolves in 2021, Traore’s production saw a dramatic increase during his sophomore campaign. He led Arkansas State with 50 receptions for 655 yards and four scores this past season.

Traore’s potential has definitely caught the eye of the talent evaluators, as he was given a 92.0 rating – four stars – by 247 Sports.

His competition this spring will be a quartet of returning sophomores – Caleb Fauria, Erik Olsen, Austin Smith, and Louis Passarello – who between them had a grand total of nine catches for 48 yards in 2022. That group, together with redshirt freshman Zach Courtney, will have their work cut out for them this spring. With Sean Lewis’ fast-paced offense, and a large group of talented wide receivers, it remains to be seen how much the new CU offense will utilize the tight end position.

That being said, CU’s new tight end coach is Tim Brewster. Brewster, whose fiery introduction speech went viral …

Tim Brewster is a former head coach (2007-10) at Minnesota, and has coached tight ends for the Chargers and the Broncos in the NFL, as well as at North Carolina, Texas, Florida State, Texas A&M … and most recently at Jackson State.

Brewster is not a shrinking violet, and he was not brought in by Coach Prime to coach a room of players who will only be sixth offensive linemen and occasional contributors to the passing game.

What can Brewster get out of Traore and CU’s returning tight ends?

Stay tuned …

Burning questions for spring … 

  • Is Seydou Traore the real deal, who can translate success at Arkansas State to the Pac-12 … in only his fourth year of playing competitive football?;
  • Are the five returning tight ends on the roster – with nine career collegiate catches between them – going to shine, or be asked to look for playing time elsewhere?;
  • How many viral videos will there be of tight ends coach Tim Brewster this spring, either in meetings or on the practice field? Set the over/under at 4.5

Attrition likelihoodHigh … I should rate this as medium, simply because there are only six scholarship tight ends on the roster to start with. Still, there are five returning scholarship tight ends, and, even though four are only sophomores and one is a red-shirt freshman, there hasn’t been enough production to date to justify keeping all of them. Look for one or two of the sophomores to have a stand out spring and earn significant playing time alongside Traore this fall. The others? I’m not so sure …


6 Replies to “Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends”

  1. It’s funny you Guys don’t know Asaad Waseem was 1st team all state and 4Metro player of the year for the state of Florida. Florida kids are better than most and he for certain should have been a 4 star just look at highlights. His team barely loss to state champs in semifinals. The kid will play this year.

  2. Best part about out wideouts and tight ends will be a QB who can throw an accurate pass and an O-line that can block. Numbers will improve across the board.

  3. Are there more staff members than WRs? might have to use a calculator.
    At any rate there have to be some gems (WRs) in the numbers.
    All signs point towards the tight end= RECEIVER position emerging from the Buff dustbin. A Lewis offense cant have enough weapons.

  4. It’s like reading a NFL Training Camp primer…players competing for a spot on the team, let alone playing time.
    On one hand given our reality it’s exciting to know the roster will be better 1 through 85.
    On the other hand, I do feel a bit for the guys that get cut, hopefully they can find a home before next fall.

  5. Yup the receiving corps is going to be an interesting adventure. Gonna be some pain and tears.

    Oh well, it’s the “Prime Buffs” in the spring tryouts.

    Haven’t heard anything about the format. Stu have you?

    Go Buffs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *