Welcome to day two of the 12-part series, breaking down each team’s recruiting class. Although Colorado State ended up being ranked second, they brought in enough talent to be ranked first in most other years. So much talent in fact, that they had classes ranked better than fellow Group of 5 schools: Memphis, SMU, Northern Illinois, and Troy, among others. Keep reading for the evidence as to why the Rams are the #2 class in the MWC.
- 23 Players Signed
- 8 offensive, 14 defensive, 1 special teams
- 18 players were listed as 3-stars on at least one of the recruiting sites
- Breakdown by State: 3 Florida, 3 Georgia, 3 California, 3 Colorado, 2 Louisiana, 2 South Carolina, 2 Mississippi, 1 Kansas, 1 North Carolina, 1 Ohio, 1 Nebraska, 1 Arizona
WR Nikko Hall
- As one of the top players in the class, Hall is as athletic as they come. He could play a number of positions at a high level in college, but the CSU coaches are going to develop him a wide receiver. Hall has great speed and high points the ball well. He has the incredible ability to control his body and be able to put himself in great position to make a catch, both on offense or defense. There is little doubt he will be able to play right away and make an instant impact, quickly become the next in a line of NFL-calliber WRs the Rams have developed.
WR A’jon Vivens
- Another wide receiver with great versatility, Vivens will make a great compliment to Hall. He has great break-away speed that was used at both WR and RB in high school. His combination of strength and shiftiness make him very hard to bring down on the first attempt, especially with just one tackler. All of these traits make Vivens a great bet get extra yards out of every play.
TE Trey McBride
- A big target at high-end, McBride can stretch the field with his receiving routes and will be able to make big plays over the middle of the field. He has tremendous hands and is versatile enough to line up in multiple spots on the field. McBride was even athletic enough to play DE. He gives the Rams another potential weapon in this class.
TE Gary Williams
- Williams is the ying to McBride’s yang, who is comfortable causing most (but not all) of his havoc closer to the line of scrimmage. His film shows him lining up more often on the line, where he can utilize his skills as a menacing blocker or else run shorter type routes behind, at, or just in front of the line of scrimmage. Once the ball is in his hands though, he is difficult to take down and has will surprise some defenders with his speed given his size.
OL Ches Jackson
- Jackson is a huge presence on the end of the O-line and a tall order for defenders to beat. Though quite tall, his film displayed a focus of trying to stay low to utilize his strength. Jackson is very technical as well, at times looking like he is moving like a well-oiled machine. It’s easy to see he knows and executes his assignments quickly and efficiently.
JUCO OL Keith Williams
- Williams will provide two things as he joins the Rams: experience and playing with nastiness that coaches love on the offensive line. As a JUCO player, he is accustomed to a faster speed of the game and going up against better athletes on the other side of the line of scrimmage. As his film clearly shows, Williams loves to play physical, lay some hard blocks and punish anyone who tries to get in his way. He should see the field immediately.
OL Kavesz Sherard
- As one of the better pick ups in class, Sherard looks like he was made to run-block. His high school team certainly valued him in that aspect of the game, if his film is any indication. Sherard pulls in tons of directions after the snap, consistently being in the thick of the play or making a huge block. He should help establish a run game in the future.
OL Florian McCann
- McCann projects as one of the tackles of the future for the Rams. He may be a bit lean coming into college and will benefit from a red-shirt year in order to pack on weight, but his frame looks like he can add some muscle to it. Still, McCann attacks defenders with everything he has, displays good foot-work and puts himself in good position to execute his assignment.
DL Damion Daley
- Daley has the look of an athletic player along the defensive line. The first thing that stands out about him on tape is his surprisingly good hands for a DL player. His quickness and overall athleticism give him the potential to be a terror on the interior and he could develop into a solid interior pass-rusher down the line
DL Devin Phillips
- A two-way lineman in high school, Phillips with be plugging up the middle as a NT in college. He is one of the better players in this class, as illustrated by by his highlights. He seems to be his man before the ball is even snapped, staying low and using quickness and power to consistently get into the backfield. That combination makes it almost impossible to guard with just one blocker.
JUCO DE Jan-Phillip Bombek
- Adding an all-conference talent is nice, but adding in JUCO experience is even better. Bombek looks the part of a starter at defensive end, using a nice speed-rush to get in the backfield as soon as the ball is snapped and stop runners or get after quarterbacks in a hurry. He also does a nice job getting off of his blocks in the run game to help out and be able to make a play.
JUCO DE Damion Dickens
- Another JUCO player along the d-line, Dickens has the luxury of having 3 years remaining to play 2 as far as his eligibility goes, so sometimes teams get creative and redshirt players depending on how the depth-chart looks. He is another high-motor pass-rusher who can hold his own in the run-game as well. Dickens is strong and plays with good leverage to beat blockers.
DE Troy Golden
- Seeing a theme here with all the defensive ends? Golden is fast, plain and simple. His film shows him outrunning quarterbacks and running backs in the backfield to make tackles. While he will need to add weight to get off blockers and win matchups on the line, he won’t want to compromise his best trait of being quicker than other players.
DE Brandon Derrow
- Stop if this sounds familiar, but Derrow is a high-motor player. He doesn’t give up on plays and because of this, is able to make a late tackle coming from the other side of the field. He does a nice job of shedding blocks and plays with a sense of urgency on ever play. Derrow’s intangibles and work ethic will allow him to “play up” and exceed expectations.
LB Rushton Roberts
- As a tall, lanky DE in high school, Roberts will be expected to transition to linebacker in college. It seems like a good fit for him, as he is quick and mobile. He tackles well and can play sideline to sideline. Roberts should be able be a great edge-rusher from an OLB spot and could also potentially cover H-backs and be an equalizer for big tight-ends running over the middle of the field.
LB Cam’ron Carter
- Carter has all the makings to be a great middle linebacker. He has good instincts and a nose for the ball, shooting through gaps to stop running backs at the line of scrimmage. He’s also athletic enough to play outside, which will bode well for him as athletic middle linebackers are highly coveted in to counter today’s spread offenses.
LB Zach Schlager
- A seemingly rare QB/LB two-way player, Schlager plays with fearlessness and toughness on either end of the field. He will be a LB for the Rams and his knowledge of offenses will no doubt benefit him as he make reads and makes plays. Elusive and mobile on offense, that should allow Schlager to cover well and beat blockers to make plays on defense.
LB Dequan Jackson
- Jackson looks promising as an outside linebacker, doing well containing the run and picking up players out of the backfield. As a technical, sure tackler, he will end up as a great fit playing on the field side where he can use his speed to cover lots of ground, making plays all over. Having the ability to play in a bit of coverage already with help Jackson translate well to the college game.
CB Malcom Magee
- Magee has big play-making potential. He’s a big ballhawk at cornerback, doing a good job reading the QB and knowing when to take risks to make a big play. Once he has the ball, he sets his mind on the end zone, as can be easily seen on film, taking multiple interceptions to the house. In coverage, Magee does well in man or zone, shifting his eyes from the QB to his guy effectively.
CB Rashad Ajayi
- Ajayi is another big playmaker at cornerback. He sniffs out plays well, breaks through blocks, and has good instincts. One trait that is impressive for a CB is how sure of a tackler he looks on his highlight tape, which will serve him well playing against the run or screen-game. In coverage, his technique looks pretty good and he combine that with instincts and his athletic ability.
S Tywan Francis
- Another great get in this class, Francis looks to be a key cog in the Rams’ secondary for years to come. He sees the field well, getting an early step or two to come up or move back in order to make a play. Francis looks especially comfortable in the box where he can make plays against the run.
S Quinn Brinnon
- Brinnon was an early commit for the Rams and is a hard-nosed, high-energy type of player on the field. He shows great game-speed, making plays all over the field. Brinnon gets a quick first step on plays which allows him to sag off a bit in coverage when needed, allowing for extra recovery time so he doesn’t get beat in routes. A highly instinctual player, his best days are ahead of him.
LS Ross Reiter
- It’s tough to evaluate long-snappers, as they often only get noticed when things go wrong. However, Reiter appears on tape to be as smooth as they come, with a fluid snap and delivering the ball perfectly. The most impressive thing is how quickly he gets down the field after snapping, shedding blockers and committing himself to try to make a tackle.
Headliner(s): Hall, Phillips, Sherard
Talented enough to play right away: Hall, Phillips, Jackson, Francis
Sleeper Recruit: Brinnon
Best unit: Defensive End gives the Rams players who can both play right away and build for the future They are deep in all the right ways.
The Rams have recruited well in past years, but loaded up on talent in the 2018 class. With a huge star in Hall and countless people around him who are going to be counted on for big roles, it’s just a matter of if and now when they will see the field. The coaching staff did a great job getting talent to come in and they all compliment each other well. They are built well on both sides of the line as well as WR, TE, and the secondary. The only critique would be not adding depth at either QB or RB. This group of recruits will be expected to translate their talent and skills into wins and they certainly seem capable of doing so at this point.
Tomorrow: San Diego State
Previous: Boise State