The Rams are busy in Albuquerque preparing for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, but there was still work to be done in Fort Collins. The Rams received four letters of intent from junior college players looking to join the rising program. Three of these had given verbal commitments prior to today, while one waited until today to make his commitment. The players include tight ends Steven Walker and Christian Montes, defensive back Preston Hodges, and offensive linemen Jordan Finley.
Steven Walker is a big receiving threat (6'3", 245 lbs) and will try to alleviate the loss of Crocket Gillmore next season. Walker earned NJCAA All-American honors while playing at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. Walker had 12 receptions on the season for 207 yards and two touchdowns while paving the way for two 600+ yard rushers. Walker held offers from Memphis and Southern Miss.
Chrsitian Montes does not appear to be Colorado State's replacement for the loss Gillmore's receiving capabilities. Montes only had 4 receptions for 60 yards while splitting time between tight end and offensive tackle. Montes provides size similar to Walker, standing at 6'4" and weighing 250 pounds. It is possible he may go the route of Martavius Foster and switch to defensive end once he gets to Fort Collins.
Coach McElwain also brought in defensive back Preston Hodges to hopefully shore up a disappointing pass defense. Hodges was originally a running back in high school, but moved to safety in his only season at Bakersfield CC. It is doubtful he will return to running back with the Rams' talent at the position, but he could certainly help on the defensive side of the ball. He runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and displayed great elusiveness in high school.
The last player the Rams added today was All-Valley conference member Jordan Finley. Finley is rather undersized for an offensive lineman, 6'4" 270 lbs, but is quick on his feet and athletic. With the Rams losing four starting linemen to graduation this year, Finley will certainly provide much needed depth in the near future. He will likely see limited action next season as he develops his blocking techniques and puts on weight.
With the addition of these four junior college players, Coach McElwain was able to address some of the immediate needs of the Rams going into next season, and got the 2014 class off to a good start. We will not know how the rest of the class fairs until National Signing Day on February 5th.