Welcome to the second post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #2 team in our rankings, Colorado State.
Colorado State has recruited very well under head coach Mike Bobo and that didn’t change this year, although they did do most of their heavy lifting in December and January. Though they may be closer to number three than they are to number two, the talent at the top of their class is unquestioned. There are around seven players who likely future all-MWC players, at least on paper. Although they didn’t out-recruit any Power 5 schools, they were better than most of the Group of 5 schools, which is still significant. Read about their class below.
- 20 players signed
- 11 offensive, 9 defensive
- 1 players was listed as 4-stars by at least one recruiting site,
- 14 others listed at 3-stars by one of the major recruiting sites.
- Breakdown by state: 3 California, 3 Colorado, 3 Florida, 2 Ohio, 2 Texas, 1 Alabama, 1 Georgia, 1 Louisiana, 1 Michigan, 1 Nebraska, 1 New Jersey, 1 North Carolina
- 81st in the 247 Composite Rankings
RB Christian Hunter
- Christian Hunter was the leading rusher in the nation and wound up with over 4,500 yards for his high school career. Will he inject some talent into the Rams? Undoubtedly. He has great vision in following his blocks and finding holes, and he can explode through traffic and quickly get to his top end speed, which is too much for defenders to handle. Hunter make sharp cuts to change direction and is difficult to tackle due to his athleticism. He can run out of I-formations or a single-back set and can catch out of the backfield as well. Christian is almost assured to be included in next year’s stable of running backs getting carries for Colorado State.
RB Tyreese Jackson
The Rams wanted to add talent to the running back room in this class and they accomplished that with Tyreese Jackson. A “get it and go” back, he appears most comfortable running between the tackles and getting into the second level with his speed. Jackson keeps his feet constantly moving and between that and his array of moves when one on one, he is difficult to tackle. He blends power with speed and catches out of the backfield as well, which will make him quite the weapon at the college level. Tyreese may have to fight to distinguish himself to carve out a role this upcoming year, but there is no doubt he will be a productive running back over the next few years.
WR Jaylen Hearst
- Jaylen Hearst is a huge part of the Rams wide receiver corps in this class. He is dynamic and versstile, able to stretch the field and make big plays. Hearst high points the ball well on catches and continuously gets behind defenders using his speed. He also shows off his polished route tree on intermediate routes and can make an impact catching the ball in space. It is easy to see how Jaylen can find the field next season.
WR Nate Craig-Myers
- Nate Craig-Myers is a huge addition for the Rams. The former 4-star and former SEC player can step in and make an immediate impact in their passing game. He is dynamic in the open field, elusive to would-be tacklers as well as possessing break-away speed. Looking at his film, he makes difficult catches in traffic and in the end-zone, showing he is definitely a “go-to WR” when a big play is needed. Nate will be the next in an ever-increasing line of great Colorado State wide receivers.
WR Dante Wright
- Dante Wright is yet another athletic wide receiver coming in with this class. His film shows off his how he can be used as a receiver and take handoffs in the offense. In addition to this, Wright is a capable returner, where he can use his vision and speed to its fullest potential. He can certainly find a role next season in small packages for screens and jet-sweeps. Wright’s skills and game compliment the other WRs in this class very well.
WR Ty McCullough
- Ty McCullough may be the best wide receiver in the Rams class and would be a total stand out in most other seasons. He can line up on the outside or in the slot, but his agility and ability to change directions quickly may be best utilized as a slot WR going forward. McCullough is more than just a quick-strike WR, as he also has nice size and displays a full array of routed in his film. He seems to have the ability to adjust his routes as he reads the defense, which will suit him well at the next level. Ty will find a role on the field next season and eventually become a premiere receiver for the Rams.
TE Kyle Helbig
- Kyle Helbig will be a future game-changer in the Colorado State offense. He can stretch the field will ease and lines up in multiple positions both on and off the line, as well as in the backfield. Helbig is not only versatile but he has huge size and combines that with surprising speed that makes it almost impossible for a defender to matchup fairly against him. The fact that he was used many different ways in high school points to a high football IQ and it’s likely that Kyle plays right away next year in some kind of role.
OL Alex Azusenis
- Alex Azusenis played both ways in high school, but is slotted to be an offensive lineman for the Rams going forward. Regardless of which side the ball he is on, it’s easy to see he plays tenacious and physical. Azusenis creates big holes in the run game and on film seems pretty difficult to move in the passing game. Big and strong, defensive linemen are no match for him at the high school level. Alex can play multiple spots on the line but may be well suited for a role as a guard where he be a big factor in the run game.
OL Nouredin Nouili
- Nouredin Nouili has a nice athletic build for an offensive lineman. He lined up at right tackle in high school and projects well for that position at the college level as well. Nouili will be able to put on more weight without compromising his footwork and quickness and adding to the strength he already possesses. He starts out in a very low stance before the snap, and unleashes a lot of power with his initial physical contact on blocks. Nouredin moves well laterally in protection and is on the attack in run blocking.
JUCO OL Desmond Noel
- Desmond Noel is a bounce-back player and a good find by the coaching staff. He has D1 experience and knowledge of the college game, which shows in his film. Noel opens up huge holes for the run-game by taking great angles on blocking his defenders (notice how he often gets on the side of them) and then backing it up with immense strength. The Colorado State offense is in need of a major overhaul and Desmond could surely fill a role with his play on the offensive line.
JUCO OL TJ Storment
- TJ Storement is the second influx of junior college talent along the offensive line. He brings a huge presence to the line, specifically the tackle position, with his height and weight. Storement identifies his blocker pre-snap and picks them up immediately to deliver a punishing hit. He is equally equipped in the run and pass game, displaying good footwork and a nimble motion as he moves backwards in pass protection. TJ, like Desmond, figures to step in to a role on the field right away next fall.
DE Cian Quiroga
- Cian Quiroga has the look of a prototypical college pass-rusher as he has great size to go along with speed. He’s quick off the snap and if blockers get in front of him, it appears he just overpowers them on his way to the quarterback. Quiroga can line up on the inside or outside of the line and is good enough to play either due to his skillset. He has a great knack for the going after the ball, evidenced by the fumbles he forces on his film. Cian may have to continue to get bigger and faster to keep his advantage at the college level, but there’s little doubt he will be a successful player.
DE Aidan Cullen
- Aidan Cullen was a tackle machine in high school, especially for a defensive end, and figures to be at the next level as well. The first thing to notice is he is what’s known as a “high-motor” player he doesn’t give up on a play or take plays off. Cullen has a varied approach to pass-rushing; he’s strong enough to bull-rush with single-coverage and fast enough to use a speed-rush as well. He also displayed the ability to fight off multiple blockers to get behind the line of scrimmage or help in the run game. Aidan may have flown a bit under the radar with his recruiting, but he won’t at Colorado State.
LB Tavian Brown
- Tavion Brown has the look of a potential impact player down the line. A few things jump off the highlight film about him. First of all, he plays fast! Secondly, he does well in coverage and is a bit of a ballhawk. Brown could probably fit in as a SAM linebacker; he’s fast enough to cover tight ends and some wide receivers, he can step up and get to the quarterback as well as stuff up the run. Also, Tavion wraps up well as a tackler, going for the middle of the body more times than not.
LB Mohamed Kamara
- Mohamed Kamara came a few days after signing day, but is a talented player nonetheless. He diagnoses plays well before the line of scrimmages and consistently puts himself in position to make a play. Kamara plays with in a low, athletic stance, which helps him to keep running plays in front of him. He can drop back into coverage pretty well also, using his instincts to add him in that regard. Mohamed could play MLB or WLB at the college level but either way, should be capable future starter.
CB Xavier Goldsmith
- Xavier Goldsmith was the first 2018 verbal commit in the MWC and he never wavered. He can match wide receivers stride for stride is coverage and often gets an inside step on them to shield off a play on the ball. Goldsmith does a really nice job positioning his body to be able to make a play when the ball gets in his area. He appears to have good instincts and an understanding of defensive schemes. Xavier has all the talent but he’s in a stacked position so it may be difficult for him to carve out a role next season.
CB Keevan Bailey
- Keevan Bailey — son of newly-elected NFL Hall-of Famer Champ Bailey — is a highly rated corner who should see the field at some point next season. He possesses the ability to out jump many wide receivers when going after the ball, which neutralizes any height advantages WRs may have over him. Bailey has big-play potential and is a threat to find the endzone after every interception. He isn’t afraid to mix it up in stopping the run either. Keevan was a big get for the Rams and will show it over the next few seasons.
CB Andre Neal
- Andre Neal is yet another cornerback in this class for the Rams. He’s quick enough and athletic enough to play main coverage much of the time. He shadows routes with ease and has comes back to high man quickly on underneath routes when playing soft coverage. Neal does a great job locating the ball in the air while on the run and that ability allows him to accumulate a high number of pass breakups.
CB Brandon Crossley
- Brandon Crossley is another true athlete. His film shows how he is able to take control of a game as a wide receiver on offense, a cornerback on defense, and a returner on special teams. With the Rams, he will play on defense, where his hands and understanding of routes will get him an advantage going in. Crossley also possesses great speed and the ability to change directions and make cuts fluidly. Plus, he can factor into the return game, making him an immediate boost to a team desperately in need of more impact players.
S Caleb Blake
- Caleb Blake looks like an old-school classic “box safety”, meaning he is at his best playing closer to the line of scrimmage and stepping up to stop the run. Blake is a sure tackler and isn’t afraid to get physical. However, that doesn’t mean those are his only skills. He shows good game speed and seems to have a nose for the ball and makes plays. Also, Caleb played on offense and was a returner in high school, so the athleticism is there.
Team Writer Thoughts:
Tyler: Colorado State desperately needed a solid recruiting class in order to keep the program under Coach Bobo afloat. I believe that this is the class that Bobo was looking for. He stated that he was looking for two running backs in this class, and expects them to see snaps as freshmen, a trend he has show since his time at the UGA. If Christian Hunter can pick up where he left off in high school (as the top rusher in the country), expect him to see significant playing time. But definitely don’t sleep on Tyreese Jackson either, as Bobo has described his running style as similar to Derek Henry.
In addition to needed depth at running back, Bobo was looking to add depth to the linbacker position. Bobo commented in his signing day interview that he was looking for two linebackers. Tavian Brown and surprise signee Mohammad Kamara will provide some grit to the position. Bobo described Brown as a “blue-collar country kid,” who is a hard hitter (he drives a Dodge Ram, fitting). Kamara is a talented backer who held offers from Temple and Boston College.
If the incoming players in these two positions find success early, Colorado State should have a solid season. Over the last eight years, CSU has relied heavily on the linebackers as the core of their defense (even after switching to a 4-3 defense). Offensively, Bobo loves to be able to run the ball when the other team knows that they’re going to run it. If these young backs come in and make an impact early, the Rams will have a chance to wear teams down in games with a deep backfield.
Mike: Crossley, McCullough, Bailey, Hearst
Tyler: Bailey, Kamara, Crossley, McCullough
Talented enough to play right away:
Mike: Crossley, McCullough, Bailey, Hearst, Helbig, Brown, Jackson
Tyler: Jackson, Hunter, Storment, Noel, Bailey, McCullough, Crossley
Mike: Wide Receivers, Cornerbacks
Tyler: Running Backs, Cornerbacks
This is a great class on paper and fans should be thrilled they were able to secure such talent after an awful year on the field. The influx of talent, especially on the offensive end, should make next season’s record more in line with a normal season under Bobo. Being able to recruit well as a Group of 5 school is an invaluable trait and the Rams have proven they can do that better than most. Now, the talent on paper must be developed and show up on the field, likely as soon as next season.
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