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2020 Recruiting Breakdown: Colorado State

A class searching everywhere for talent while prioritizing local talent.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the eighth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #8 team in our rankings, Colorado State.

Colorado State has recruited very well under head coach Mike Bobo and with the coaching change, they had to do their heavy lifting in December and January. In that way, this class may seem like a drop-off compared to the past few, but in reality, this class can’t be judged for a few years. The first new class is always more about the players who fit the culture and character more than anything else. There is still a number of talented recruits in here as well. In December, the staff seemed to prioritize local players, which seems to be a must with the new staff. The commits in January reflected scouring for talent across many different states. Read more about this class below.

The Skinny:

  • 20 players signed
  • 10 offensive, 10 defensive
  • 16 others listed at 3-stars by one of the major recruiting sites.
  • Breakdown by state: Colorado 5, California 3, Florida 3, Pennsylvania 2, Texas 2, New Hampshire 2, Hawaii 1, New Jersey 1, Tennessee 1
  • 102nd in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

Grad Transfer QB Todd Centeio

Todd is coming in from Temple and can play right away. His high school film shows him to be a quick decision maker in the pocket. Centeio also has a big arm, which will play great with the Ram’s receiving weapons. He has the ability to tuck the ball and run, which adds another element to the offense. Todd had a good chance to play a lot next fall and can impact the game in a few ways.

RB Tanner Hollens

Tanner is coming in as a productive high school running back. He hits holes hard and after one cut, he is usually fast enough to get a big gain. Hollens is extremely difficult to bring down, mainly because he doesn’t stop moving his legs and can spin out of a tackle. He puts distance between himself and defenders within a few strides and if he hits the second level he’s likely ending up in the endzone. Tanner appears to be a big home-run threat for Colorado State.

RB Kyjuan Herndon

Kyjuan is another running back in this class. He is smaller but has a strong lower body that allows him to stay up and balanced when being hit. Herndon is pretty elusive and can be used in traditional runs as well as sweeps and screens. He has great straight-line speed is hard to catch up with in the open field. Kyjuan could probably see carries as soon as next season in some sort of rotation.

TE Dylan Walker

Dylan is coming to the right school as a productive high school tight end. He is a big target who is shifty and agile after the catch, meaning he can pile up extra yards. Walker is a skilled route runner and is capable of making big plays, similar to how the Rams currently use their tight ends. He is also well-rounded enough to be a key blocking in the running game, using his big frame and strength to cut off defenders in the second level. Dylan should have no trouble producing numbers like he did in high school once he adjusts to the college game.

OL Dirk Nelson

Dirk comes in as an offensive lineman. The first thing to notice on his film is his run-blocking prowess. Nelson is at his best either pulling on a run play to make a huge block, or else driving his defender back into the second level to help pull off a big run. He stays low and gains extra power from using his lower body in his hits. Dirk looks like he will remain in a guard position to maximize his skills.

OL Gage Gaynor

Gage is another member of this class coming in on the offensive line. He is physical at the point of contact, bursting out of his snap and initiating contact. Gaynor is equally skilled in pass protection and run-blocking, and displays good awareness of his role in each. He understands his assignment and combines that with a multitude of pancake blocks. Gage looks well suited on the interior of the line.

OL Tautai Marks

Tautai is one of the more highly ranked OL players entering the conference. He is impressive in pass-protection, sliding his feet well and matching the angles and movements of the defenders. Marks loads up well and gets his whole body into the hits he delivers to neutralize his opponents. He is light on his feet and has the strength to keep defenders at bay. Tautai looks fantastic as a guard and projects the ability to be a multi-year starter at one of those spots.

OL Owen Snively

Owen is also a o-line recruit who is ranked highly on paper. His film backs that up as he gets great push at the line of scrimmage, pushing defenders back at the line of scrimmage. Snively stays low coming out of his stance initially but explodes upwards when making contact on a block. He has a long frame that should be able to add more weight. Owen looks like a future tackle and should have a bright future at that spot.

OL Brian Crespo

Brian brings great size to the tackle position. He moves well shifting from side to side and his big blocks open up massive holes in the run game. Crespo instinctively moves his eyes around in pass-protection, looking for blitzes or other missed assignments so he can pick up the slack. He is mobile enough to pull on run plays and screens. Brian should line up at one of the tackle positions, helping to fortify the line.

Transfer OL Cam Reddy

Cam is another playing coming in with division-1 experience. He squares up very well on his blocks and gets a good deal of force behind him when he hits, using his lower body. Reddy has good footwork and moves well when pulling to the other side on a run play. His strength is as a run-blocker. Cam will add depth to to the Rams’ o-line once he becomes eligible.

DT Cam Bariteau

Cam comes in as a defensive lineman recruit. He is fierce at the line of scrimmage, attacking blockers as soon as the ball is snapped. Bariteau does a nice job of initiating contact and winning the battle at the line, forcing offensive lineman back and allowing him to get in the backfield. His tape demonstrates him running ball-carriers down from yards away. Cam has college-ready size and the game to go with it.

DT James Mitchell

James is arguably the best play in this Colorado State class. He is incredibly strong and shows good speed in the open field chasing quarterbacks. Mitchell fights through blocks with brute force and advanced technique, getting past multiple blockers. He is especially skilled at keeping his hands up in the air to deflect passes. James could contend for playtime time next fall and will be a key cog on the line for years to come.

DL Casey Irons

Casey is a long-time Ram commit. One thing that is noticeable on tape is that he fights through everything, no matter how many blockers are in his way he will find a way to break through. Irons excels in stopping the run, keeping a low center of gravity and making his body wide to be in position to make the stop. He doesn’t stop until the play is over and appears determined to do what he can to make an impact. Casey has a lot of upside and if he keeps developing, he should maximize on it in college.

LB Chase Wilson

Chase was primarily a running back in high school but is coming to Colorado State to play linebacker. He is quick and easily changes directions to avoid blockers. Wilson’s time on offense gives him great vision and he uses that to hunt down quarterbacks and runnings backs in the backfield. He takes great angles to the ball and his speed allows him to cover sideline to sideline. Chase projects well as a middle or weak-side linebacker at the next level.

LB Bam Amina

Bam has a great name for a linebacker and the game to back it up. He is an extremely physical presence in the middle of a defense, who is not afraid of contact in the slightest. Amina has great tackling form, taking down the center of the body to ensure players can’t shake him off. He can cover the short passing game with his speed and displays enough strength to not get pushed around by linemen when in the box blitzing or stopping the run. Bam will likely redshirt but will make an early impact as soon as the following year.

LB Sanjay Strickland

Sanjay is a big powerful linebacker. He moves around the line of scrimmage well, getting off blocks and into the backfield using his size and strong frame. Strickland flies to the quarterback on blitzing plays, speeding past linemen and pushing smaller running backs out of the way. He doesn’t over-pursue and exhibits sound tackling technique against the run. Sanjay already looks and plays like a college middle linebacker and it won’t be long before he can showcase his skills for the Rams.

LB Aaron Moore

Aaron is a high-motor rusher on the edge of the defensive line. He plays fast all the time and ball-carriers can’t shake off of him once he wraps them up. Moore can also drop back into coverage and sees the field well, which combines nicely with his speed to allow him to be all over the field. He displays a good understanding of his assignment but can also adjust on the fly depending on how the play develops. Aaron may need some additional seasoning but his talent is evident.

JUCO LB Brandon Hickerson-Rooks

Brandon is a junior college player coming in to this class. He comes in like a missile on blitzes and tackles over the middle of the field. Hickerson-Rooks can also hold his own in coverage thanks to his athleticism, which helps him recover and make up ground on the field. He may have to change his tackling technique a bit so he’s not accused on targeting. Brandon is coming in to fill an immediate need and he should do just that.

DB Henry Blackburn

Henry is one of the two defensive backs in this class. He is comfortable in the box or away from the line of scrimmage, but can use his athleticism more playing deep. Blackburn has big-time leaping ability to go along with his in-game speed and physicality. He also made a successful wide receiver, and his time at that position gives him increased knowledge to defend it. Henry will continue to develop his skills but has a bright future ahead of him.

DB Brandon Guzman

Brandon is the other DB coming to the Rams this year. His highlights start with his returns, and for good reason, as is a dynamic returner thanks to his speed and vision. Guzman’s speed separates him from other defensive backs because he can step into the passing lane with ease. He doesn’t bite on double moves and reads the quarterback well. Brandon has a lot of potential to make an impact for the Rams.

Team Writer Thoughts:

Quick Hits:

Headliner(s):

Mike: Mitchell, Snivley, Marks

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Mitchell, Snivley, Marks, Centeio

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Strickland

Best unit:

Mike: Defensive line

Summary:

All in all the Rams were able secure a class on par with many other Mountain West schools, and they did so in the middle of a coaching change with about two months to solidify a class. Their new emphasis on in-state talent will be interesting to watch going forward. Also their ability to find talent in eight other states shows they will search high and low for the best talent to fit their system. It will be interesting to see if Coach Addazio continues to recruit on the east coast using his Boston College recruiting areas going forward. It does remain to be seen if they can reach the recruiting standards Bobo was able to before.

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