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Countdown to Spring Practices – Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

… Program Note … Colorado’s first of 15 spring practices will be conducted on March 18, with the spring game scheduled for April 27th at Folsom Field.

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 add new players – or face attrition – after the spring.

Previously posted:

Up next: Offensive Line … Coming this Wednesday …

— Wide Receivers (12) …

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

  • Seniors … Jimmy Horn, Jr. … Will Sheppard (summer enrollee) … LaJohntay Wester
  • Juniors … Travis Hunter … Terrell Timmons, Jr.
  • Sophomores … Omarion Miller … Kaleb Mathis
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Cordale Russell (summer enrollee) … Asaad Waseem … Jordan Onovughe … Jacob Page … Gavin Marsh … Kendal Stewart
  • 2024 Signees … Kamron Mikell … Drelon Miller

— Tight Ends (5) …

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

  • Seniors … none
  • Juniors … Chamon Metayer … Sav’ell Smalls … Louis Passerello
  • Sophomores … Brady Kopetz
  • Red-shirt freshmen … Morgan Pearson
  • 2024 Signees …

The Stats … 

Xavier Weaver, CU’s leading receiver last season (68 catches for 908 yards and four touchdowns) is taking his talents to the NFL Combine (and hopefully the NFL). Otherwise, a good chunk of CU’s receiving yards from last season will be back on the field in 2024. Colorado went from 172.9 yards per game passing in 2022 (117th in the nation), to 294.7 yards per game passing in 2023 (16th in the country), so there is much to be excited about when it comes to the CU wide receivers in 2024.

Notables returning …

— Quarterback Shedeur Sanders, who set a school record for passing yards (3,230) will be back for a run at national honors and a first round NFL selection.

— Senior Jimmy Horn, Jr., who Coach Prime has taken under his wing with Horn’s father in prison, has been described by his head coach as a “frickin’ warrior” and a “game-changer.”

— Sophomore Omarion Miller, who caught seven passes for 196 yards and a touchdown – all in the second half – of a 48-41 loss to USC, is on Brian Howell’s list of potential Breakout Candidates for 2024.

— And Travis Hunter is … well … Travis Hunter, who will be one of the top wide receivers off the board at the 2025 NFL Draft … if he isn’t one of the top cornerbacks off the board at the 2025 NFL Draft.

And yet, with all of the returning production from last fall … the wide receiver room may be even better this season.

The four transfer additions are proven talents, and the five – count ’em, five! – freshmen and redshirt freshmen the CU coaching staff has recruited (you remember recruiting, don’t you?) will bring some real competition to the spring practices.

The numbers …

  • Travis Hunter … 57 receptions for 721 yards and five touchdowns
  • Jimmy Horn, Jr. … 58 receptions for 567 yards and six touchdowns
  • Omarion Miller … 11 receptions for 234 yards and one touchdown
  • Kaleb Mathis … six receptions for 38 yards
  • LaJohntay Wester (Florida Atlantic) … 108 receptions for 1,168 yards and eight touchdowns
  • Will Sheppard (Vanderbilt) … 47 receptions for 684 yards and eight touchdowns
  • Terrell Timmons, Jr. (North Carolina State) … 11 receptions for 195 yards
  • Chamon Metayer (TE) (Cincinnati) … 23 receptions for 258 yards and five touchdowns

Nationally … CU in 2023 … 

  • Passing offense … 294.7 yds/game … 16th nationally
  • Total offense … 363.6 yds/game … 80th nationally
  • Scoring offense … 28.2 pts/game … 58th nationally

What to watch for …

Two potential stars – Will Sheppard, a promising addition from Vanderbilt, and Cordale Russell, a red-shirt freshman who was a four-star recruit at TCU prior to transferring to Boulder – won’t be on campus until summer, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of competition this spring.

This may well be the spring that Buff fans decided they have a new favorite player. His name? LaJohntay Wester. A senior transfer from Florida Atlantic, Wester earned American Athletic First-Team All-Conference honors at both wide receiver and on special teams last season, also being named Special Teams Player of the Year for the AAC. Wester joins the Buffs with 3,838 all-purpose yards and 24 total touchdowns in his college career.

While you wouldn’t expect that true freshmen would be on the field much for one of the deepest units on the team but Kam Mikell and Drelon Miller may be too talented to watch from the sidelines. Mikell was an impressive playmaker on both sides of the ball playing high school ball against tough competition in Georgia, while Drelon Miller amassed huge numbers – 5,000 all-purpose yards and 51 touchdowns in high school.

Oh … and CU has new hope for its tight ends (seriously). Junior transfer Chamon Metayer comes to Boulder from Cincinnati, where the 6’5″, 245-pounder had a four-game stretch for the Bearcats with over 200 yards receiving.

Much of the attention this spring, though, may be paid to junior Sav’ell Smalls, who is making the move from the defensive line. A former four-star prospect from Washington, Smalls, who played tight end in high school, may take over as CU’s blocking tight end. Smalls is 6’3″, 260-pounds, and could provide some crucial weight and strength on third-and-one for the Buffs this fall.

Burning questions for spring … 

  • LaJohntay Wester comes to CU as the reigning American Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Year. As a potential star at wide receiver, will Wester also be CU’s No. 1 punt returner?;
  • Tar’varish Dawson, Omarion Miller, Asaad Waseem, Jordan Onovughe, Jacob Page are all back from last season. Which one (or more) will make a name for themselves … and which one (or more) will be heading to the Transfer Portal in April? (update: Tar’varish Dawson became the first casualty, announcing on February 26th that he was no longer with the team);
  • Kam Mikell is a Georgian that Kirby Smart wanted to keep in-state. Mikell played quarterback, running back, defensive back and returner in high school. Can Mikell find a niche in Pat Shurmur’s offense?;
  • Is the year that Colorado finds a way to have a productive tight end? (Trick question – one Buff fans ask every spring).

Addition/Attrition likelihoodMedium … There are several reasons to believe that there will be some movement in this roster come April. First, because Coach Prime can’t say no to skill position talent who shows an interest in Boulder. With Shedeur Sanders and a receiver-friendly offense expected at CU this fall, a quality receiver looking around this spring may be tempted to give CU a look.

Secondly, there needs to be some attrition in the lineup if space is going to be made for additions required in other units (especially at linebacker and defensive line). With CU at or near the 85-man roster limit, you can’t have additions without subtractions, and there may be a receiver or two who sees the depth chart in April … and decides to take his talents elsewhere.


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

  1. A player can play four games and still redshirt, so a younger player should go in with that mentality instead of a “me-first” mentality and “I want to play now”. they should say, “Hey coach, I’ll work hard and you find room for me in four games and if I still need time to mature, I’ll redshirt, but if I breakout, then…”

    A coach may find that compelling and get that players those snaps, if he’s proving in practice, it’ll be his shot at playing time… Or he’ll redshirt and know what to work on to get that playing time next year.

    Between greyshirts, redshirts and summer school, I’d have most of my undergrad degree done by the time I was a starter and then coast (class load wise) for three years to finish up the degree while concentrating on football. Maybe get a master’s degree too, especially if the possibly going into coaching may be in my future.

    There’s a good chance that Prime will get a quality QB transfer next year to replace Shedeur and if the Buffs are winning this season, they’ll be a good one, so a young quality WR shouldn’t be too quick to transfer chasing playing time.

    1. Those are good points, and a great approach. I think Wester will get the PR duties, with maybe DE behind him, however I think Mikell and Dre’Lon Miller will get shots too. I’m sure they will get their 4 games.

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