Welcome to the sixth piece in our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. The aim of these articles is to provide a detailed look at what each team has done thus far on the recruiting trail, and what work still needs to be put in before NLI day in February. One team a day will be featured, in order of where they fall in their current MWCConnection ranking. Today looks at Colorado State.
6th in the MWConnection Recruiting Rankings
The Ram’s season began with disappointment, and despite a few bright spots, the disappointment lingered all season. The first game of the season – and first home game – ended in an embarrassing loss to Hawaii (who turned out to surprise many people later in the season). It only got worse from there as CSU got manhandled by their rivals in Boulder in the next game. Many people at that point had already discounted their season as a failure after those two games. But shockingly, they Rams stepped up their game and took down the Arkansas Razorbacks of the mighty SEC (who went on to an abysmal 2-10 record themselves). That was one of only three wins for the Rams this year. It was a season of many challenges, both for the team as a whole, and for head coach Mike Bobo, who had been dealing health issues since the summer. Bobo has stated that he is excited to hit the recruiting trail to start building for the next season, now that he has his health back and a fresh start.
Led by Bobo, the Rams operate a multiple offense with a pro-style focus. Over the past few years, their offenses have been at their best with above-average QB play, a very good consistent running back threat and a fantastic, well-rounded wide-receiver. From the day Mike Bobo arrived on campus, his offense has depended on the ability to run the ball. He’ll often lean on the run game to open up opportunities for the play action and screens. This year, the offense was terrible, and that was primarily a symptom of an anemic offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, things looked a bit different this year. When John Jancek took over the defense last year, he wanted to instill an attacking mindset. Included in that mindset was a switch to the 4-3 base defense, with added blitzes packages and more press coverage. The defense struggle mightily last year which prevented the unit from implementing many things that they would have liked to incorporate.
The Road So Far:
As bad as they were on the field, especially at end of the year, their recruiting seemed to go in the opposite direction. They were towards the bottom most of the year but steadily rose and then made a strong push in December to finish and claim the 6th spot. Offense was the slight lean with 8 players coming in on that side of the ball and 7 on defense. They were pretty balanced out with location; in-state commits led the way with 3 from Colorado. California, Florida, Texas, Ohio. Georgia, Michigan, and North Carolina also produced commits in this class.
The offensive headliner in this class will be WR Ty McCullough. He will almost certainly continue the ever-growing line of dynamic receivers the Rams seem to keep getting, as he at one time held Cal and Boise State. He’s joined by three other WRs; Jaylen Hearst, another highly ranked WR, Dante Wright, and Nate Craig-Myers, the former highly ranked recruit and Auburn bounceback. Kyle Helbig comes in at tight-end and he should end up as a threat in the passing game before all is said and done as well. Offensive line went heavy on junior college talent, with Desmond Noel and TJ Storment bringing both experience and size to the Rams. They could find their names in the starting lineup next year. Alex Azusenis brings size in as well, but they can take their time with him.
CB Brandon Crossley is the star on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a four-star who can provide immediate help to a defense that sorely needs it. Like WR, three other CBs join him. Xavier Goldsmith was the longest committed recruit in all the MWC and is all in on the Rams. Keevan Bailey brings size to the position while Andre Neal brings size and experience. Caleb Blake will slot in well at safety, while DEs get restocked with Cian Quiroga and the long and big Aidan Cullen, both of whom are intriguing athletes for the pass-rushing spots.
Number who signed in December: 15
Number who will enroll early: 4
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: RB, LB, DB
Colorado State has traditionally recruited well and it was somewhat of a surprise that they weren’t doing the same for much of this year. However, they pulled off some late signings to boost their rankings. Expect them to carry that momentum into January, as they acknowledged they still had work to do going forward. It seems like CSU has locked down most of its glaring issues. Still, Bobo has stated that he plans on adding depth to the running back and quarterback positions, which is much needed after some loss of depth in that position last year. So far, Bobo’s new strategy of focusing on recruiting later on in the recruiting period has paid off. We’ll have to see what he can scoop up down the stretch.
Coach Bobo said they are still looking at two or three players at each of these spots. If you look at who they signed, it makes complete sense as they are two spots that currently have no commits or signees. They offered a few running backs over the past week or so, making it clear they are determined to restock that position as quickly as possible. There has also been talk of the son of another former NFL and Pro Bowl player, Deion Sanders’s son — Shilo Sanders — signing with Colorado State. We won’t know until February, until February, but Colorado State has a shot at having a Pro Bowl lineage secondary between Sanders and Bailey.
Coming tomorrow: San Diego State