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The Colorado Buffaloes have hit the recruiting trail hard in 2017 as they search for the next generation of star players for the 2018 class. With that, we take a look at the players they currently have committed and the positions they still need to fill.
The quarterback position looks to be set for 2018 with Valor Christian quarterback Blake Stenstrom tied to CU. A Scout 3-star, and an ESPN 4-star, Stenstrom was left out of the Elite 11 by just a few spots earlier this spring. The coaches seem to be very excited about his potential. Based on camp reviews, he seems to be poised for a breakout senior year after not playing much due to sitting behind current Michigan quarterback, Dylan McCaffrey.
The Buffs have done a very nice job filling their receiving core with Pac-12 level speed at various wide receiver positions. Darrin Chiaverini has nailed it in the recruiting game ever since setting foot on campus early last year. Chev has been reeling in what seems like countless additions to the famed “Blackout Boyz.”
2018 seems to be no different with the recent additions of 3-star Daniel Arias and 4-star Dylan Thomas. Both are big-bodied wide outs who have tremendous ability to catch 50-50 balls. Thomas chose the Buffs over Boise State and Washington State.
Another top in-state recruit Dimitri Stanley committed to the Buffs in July. A two-way standout at Cherry Creek High School, and son of former Buff, Walter Stanley, Dimitri will play at wideout for the Buffs. He has good size, speed, and more than enough skill to play on either side of the ball full-time. Look for him to compete for playing time right away strictly due to his versatility.
3-star Jarek Broussard is another recruit to keep an eye on. Listed as an “Athlete” on Scout, Broussard will most likely be used as an H-back type of player at CU. His speed and versatility are his biggest strengths.
CU will most likely be done recruiting wide receivers in 2018 with the four commits they have currently unless something unforeseen happens. Buff fans should be very encouraged about the future of the receiving position as the 2017, and 2018 classes have both been loaded with talent.
The Buffs have one commitment thus far at the running back position in Deion Smith out of Houston, Texas. Smith had 17 offers from schools that included UCLA and Notre Dame. He has tremendous breakaway speed and great vision, which allowed him to rush for over 1,200 yards in his junior campaign. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield as he racked up nearly 500 yards receiving and added five touchdown catches.
The Buffs have done a nice job developing talent across the O-line in the MacIntyre era. This year, the Buffs have three offensive line commits, all of which are 3-star recruits according to Scout. The commit garnering the most buzz has been Walker Culver, a 6-5, 260-pound tackle out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Culver was one of Colorado’s first commits for the 2018 class as he committed back in November of 2016. Culver is one recruit that proves this coaching staff has an eye for talent as he has absolutely blown up lately with ACC and SEC offers. Look for his recruitment to be a roller coaster coming down the stretch as he continues to pile up offers. We will see if the Buffs staff can hang onto him until signing day.
Another early 2018 commit for the Buffs was Josh Jynes, a 6-2, 310-pound guard out of Desoto, Texas. Jynes is a bit of dark horse thus far in the recruiting class but look for him to gather more offers as the year rolls along. He is a promising young athlete who will need to work on his technique and physique but could be a great player for the Buffs down the line.
Frank Fillip rounds out the commits on the offensive line thus far, and he’s perhaps the rawest of the three. He towers at 6-7 and weighs only 260 pounds but has all of the tools to develop into a tremendous tackle for the Buffaloes. If Colorado’s staff can develop him and hone his skill set, he may be able to remind fans of a certain Patriots left tackle.
A hard-nosed linebacker out of Newport Beach, California, Clyde Moore is a workhorse middle linebacker that Buff fans should be very excited about. He isn’t the fastest or most athletic kid, but he will stuff just about any running lane and take on any fullback that comes his way. Without a doubt, this kid can hit and with any luck, will be a very serviceable and reliable player in the middle of the Buff’s defense for years to come.
Davion Taylor is a stout outside linebacker out of Coahoma C.C. in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Taylor has flown somewhat under the radar thus far but has tremendous upside (Ole Miss recently offered). He didn’t play varsity football in high school, so he is very raw and will need to hone his skills. He plans to be an early enrollee in January, so he will have a head start on the rest of the 2018 class to begin classes and workouts with the team.
Delrick Abrams Jr. is ranked as the No. 11 cornerback prospect in Junior College according to Scout and deservedly so. He has tremendous length accompanied by a muscular frame. He is eerily similar to Ahkello Witherspoon, and if he’s any bit as good, the CU defense nabbed a gem in this kid. He is probably one of the most exciting commits in this class.
On the opposite side of the ball, secondary coach, Shadon Brown and Defensive Coordinator, D.J. Eliot have done a nice job getting commitments from long, athletic cornerbacks and physical downhill safeties who will look to become the second coming of the infamous “Money Gang.”
The Buffs have stressed the safety position in 2018 as they already have 3 commitments. One of the Buff’s first commitments for the 2018 class was a highly regarded in-state product, Ray Robinson. Robinson, unfortunately, suffered a season-ending ACL tear earlier this spring and will have to sit out his senior campaign.
Lavon Wallace is the most recent addition to the 2018 class for the Buffs. He is the definition of a prototypical safety. He stands at 6-3, 183 pounds and has an uncanny ability to find himself around the ball. Watch his tape, and he will remind you of Kam Chancellor. While it’s an unfair comparison, his body type, athleticism, and fluidity on the field show flashes of the Seattle star.
Kahlef Hailessie is a 6-2, 185-pound, 3-star safety out of Elk Grove, California. Hailessie is a hard-hitting safety prospect with a “no-fear” attitude. He is extremely fast and athletic. He plays wide receiver as well for his high school team. He has great hands, which should benefit him in the secondary when defending 50-50 balls as well as at nickel defending inside slant routes.
The Buffs have one commit across the entire defensive line in Joshka Gustav. A 6-3, 220-pound defensive end out of San Bernardino, California, Gustav is an athletic 3-4 end prospect who can flat out find the football. He does an excellent job setting the edge and has good speed. He is someone who will benefit from a college weight program but has the potential to be a good player for the Buffs moving forward.
D-line. Perhaps the most puzzling thing about the 2018 class so far has been the lack of commitments on the D-line. The Buffs have glaring needs across the board at every d-line position with most of the current roster being upper classmen. The Buffs need at least three more D-linemen this class so expect that to be an emphasis moving forward until signing day. A name to keep an eye on is 3-star defensive end Tava Finau who seems to be very interested in CU of late. Later in the process expect more names to emerge on the D-line recruiting front. Look for the Buffs to go the JUCO route for some help on the D-line to boost performance at those positions right away as they did last year with Javier Edwards and Chris Mulumba.
The Buffs started the 2018 class fast, as they currently have 16 total commits. The class ranks 45th in the nation and 5th in the Pac-12 thus far according to Scout. Expect for some players to improve their rankings as the high school season rolls around. The Buffs will most likely sign about 20 guys in the 2018 class given attrition and other factors.
Look for the Buffs to possibly add one more running back as well as another tight end prospect by signing day. The Buffs have lost one commitment thus far as in-state running back prospect Max Borghi flipped his commitment to Washington State earlier this summer.
Given that it is so early in the process, the coaching staff will have to not only recruit new guys but work to keep the current commits interested. Last year was one of the more entertaining recruiting years for the Buffs since 2007; expect this year to be more of the same.