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2021 Recruiting Breakdown: Colorado State

A class with top-heavy solid talent

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the sixth post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today looks at the #6 team in our rankings, Colorado State.

Colorado State is a team in transition, and the best way to speed that up is through recruiting. The core group of the Bobo era is making its way out, and his players are slowing coming in. Coach Addazio appears committed to recruiting both the state of Colorado and around the country for talent that fits his system. This year, the Rams were able to bring in several talented players. To learn more about them, read below.

The Skinny:

  • 19 players signed
  • 19 high school players
  • 10 offensive, 9 defensive
  • 17 3-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating over 85: 0
  • Players with a composite rating between 82-84: 8
  • Breakdown by state: 7 Colorado, 3 Texas, 2 Arizona, 2 California, 2 Florida, 2 Nevada, 1 Massachusetts, 1 New Mexico, 1 New York
  • 89th in the 247 Composite Rankings

The Players:

QB Luke McAllister

Luke was the first commit in the 2021 class for the Rams, as well as in all of the Mountain West. He can best be described as a field general, one who is calm in the pocket and orchestrates an offense with ease. McAllister possesses great footwork in the pocket and gets his lower body into his throws, adding extra power to his passes. He goes through his progressions and displays accuracy when hitting the open receiver. Luke is a leader and will be the Colorado State starting QB before too long.

QB Chance Harris

Chance is another quarterback taken in this class. He is elusive and comfortable throwing on the run after rolling out of the pocket. Harris makes quick decisions and throws, hitting the first open receiver in attempts to keep the defense on its heels and move the chains. He isn’t afraid to tuck it and run and takes good angles to outrun defenders. Chance represents an ability to be a change of pace option in the Ram offense.

QB Evan Olaes

Evan makes three high school QBs in Colorado State’s efforts to build depth at the position. He is a true dual-threat, possessing a rocket arm from the left side and is a speedy runner. Olaes is skilled at throwing on the run and doing so with pinpoint accuracy. He scans the field well going through his progressions and appears to be a quick decision-maker. Evan is quite the play-maker and it is safe to say that ability to can be a factor at the college level as well.

RB Alex Berrouet

Alex comes to Colorado State as their running back recruit. He is a powerful back who bounces off tackles with no issue. Berrouet may not have breakaway speed, but he hits the hole hard and reaches his top speed almost immediately. He can catch out of the backfield, adding a needed dynamic to today’s college offense. Alex is entering an offensive scheme that likes to run and he seems to fit that scheme well.

WR Damir Abdullah

Damir enters the fold as a wide receiver for the Rams. He is great along the sidelines, making difficult catches and emphasizing his footwork to remain in bounds. Abdullah has a noticeable ability to make defenders miss after a catch and adds on extra yards after the catch. He is a valued red-zone threat as well, with his size and hands. Damir should be a valued weapon if he keeps developing.

WR Gerick Robinson

Gerick is a talented athlete coming in as a wide receiver. He is adept at making defenders miss, using his quick change of direction and ability to stop on a dime, both of which compliment his speed. Robinson appears to be at his best being utilized in screens and short passes, where he can get the ball in space and take off. He can be dynamic as a returner as well, which is where he may be able to make his mark early. Gerick figures to become an important piece in the Rams offense sooner rather than later.

TE Drake Martinez

Drake is a well-rounded tight end entering the fold. He has pretty nice size, making him a prime target over the middle of the field. Martinez has a wide catch radius and sneaky speed, allowing him to turn short gains into explosive plays. He is a capable blocker who is able to take on defenders to allow runners to get into the second level. Drake will be a great tight end for the Rams after learning from Trey McBride next season.

TE Tanner Arkin

Tanner is another talented tight-end for CSU. His ability to make difficult catches in traffic stands out right away in his film. Arkin runs precise routes and looks for the ball immediately after becoming open, which allows him to get maximum yardage on each reception. He has sound blocking technique, which makes him an impact player on offense no matter what the play is. Tanner should be utilized in the Ram’s offense during most of his career.

OL George Miki-Han

George comes to the Rams as a quality offensive lineman. He is an athletic, mobile lineman who is always looking for his next block. Miki-Han is full of power at the point of contact and he moves his feet well in order to stick to his blocks. He is an undersized but talented center from a powerhouse high school, and those players have excelled in the Mountain West. George has the potential to do the same based on where he is currently.

OL Justin Michael

Justin is a force on the o-line, plain and simple. He explodes off the snap and immediately makes contact with someone, demonstrating a sound understanding of his assignment. Michael delivers one crushing hit after another, shooting upward in order to get his lower body involved in the block. He is quick and athletic enough to often be the lead blocker, running out in front to pick up stray linebackers or safeties. Justin played mostly tackle in high school but might be best suited for a guard in college.

DT Tyler Quinn

Tyler is a physical defensive tackle that the Rams were able to secure. He has tremendous size on the line and is able to eat up blockers and disrupt plays. Quinn is athletic, getting into the backfield quickly and shedding blockers with side-steps or simply overpowering them. He is a sound tackler, wrapping up and getting into the proper position to make a play. Tyler has the size and talent to get on the field early if he can crack the depth chart.

DT Grady Kelly

Grady is a pure nose tackle in every sense of the word. He is a dominant interior pass-rusher, moving quickly off the line and often being able to chase down unsuspecting quarterbacks. Kelly usually requires double teams when offenses decided to run, but he powers past them with his strength and tenacity after the snap. He doesn’t give up on plays and offers a variety of moves to out maneuver blockers. Grady should become a force by the time he becomes an upperclassman.

DE Mukendi Wa-Kalonji

Mukendi is a local defensive end recruit in this class. He is aggressive and physical, doing whatever he can to blow up or alter a play after getting off his block as quickly as possible. Wa-Kalonji can cover a lot of ground and makes plays both at the line of scrimmage and in the open field. He doesn’t give up and plays and moves from snap until the whistle. Mukendi has a lean, athletic build and he could blossom into a great pass-rusher in due time.

DE Clay Nanke

Clay comes to Colorado State as a defensive end. He is a high-motor player who is relentless in his pursuit of opposing quarterbacks. Nanke fights through double teams, doesn’t overpue on plays, and does whatever he can to get a hand on ball-carriers in order to make a play or slow them down until help can arrive. He is a sound tackler who does he best work getting in the backfield. Clay has the potential to develop into a productive pass-rusher with the Rams.

LB Malakai Grant

Malakai appears to be a great linebacker coming to Colorado State. He is a violent hitter, getting past the line to disrupt the run game before it gets going. Grant has a high football IQ, identifying plays and flocking to the ball. He has the potential to be a true run-stopper for a defense, especially with his ability to tackle in the open field. Malakai is someone who could find early playing time, but whenever he gets on the field, it will likely be at WLB.

DB Lathan Adams

Lathan is quite a talent coming into the defensive back room. He is short in stature but makes up for it with his quickness and athleticism. Adams matches receivers stride for stride and is smooth in and out of his backpedal. He has great leaping ability and tracks the ball well in the air. Lathan should become quite a player for the Rams over the course of his career.

DB Jack Howell

Jack played quarterback and defensive back but will stick with defense in college. His ability to read an offense is evident though, as he sees plays unfold in real-time or pre-snap and can adjust his positioning in light of that. Howell is a hard-hitter who flies to the ball by the way of solid speed and proper angles. He also has a knack for picking off or deflecting passes thanks to his reads. Jack is a good bet to outplay his ranking and be a solid contributor before all is said and done.

DB Langston Williams

Langston is an athlete who played wide receiver, cornerback, and returner in high school, but was recruited to play defense. He has plus speed, which allows him to cover lots of ground and recover fast enough to still make a play on the ball. Williams has good instincts and can jump routes to pick off passes; from there he simply outruns everyone else for a huge play. He is adept at reading quarterbacks, which allows him to identify the play and get in position to disrupt it. Langston should be a solid corner in college.

DB Branden Coleman

Branden is a talented player coming in to play cornerback. He is a ball-hawk, able to cover a lot of ground on the sideline and fly in to make a play on the ball. Coleman gives noticeable cushion on routes so he doesn’t get beat deep and he can utilize his closing speed to come back and disrupt a pass on a shorter throw. At the goal-line, he appears to tighten up coverage and becomes physical at the line of scrimmage. Branden is an intriguing athlete who has the potential to make an impact as a starting cornerback.

Team Writer Thoughts:

Coming off a Covid shortened first season as CSU’s head football coach, Steve Addazio has addressed some glaring needs. Particularly at Quarterback. With 3 recruits coming in, the Rams are looking to shore up the most important position on the field. From the looks of it, the hometown kid Luke McAllister will get every opportunity to prove he’s the man in Fort Collins. At 6-5 and 200 pounds, he has the size you look for at that position. After losing offensive coordinator Joey Lynch to Vanderbilt, former Wisconsin QB coach Joey Budmayr takes over duties as the play-caller, bringing over the same balanced attack Addazzio likes in his offensive schemes. Naming the 2021 starting QB will be the most important step in establishing the direction this program is headed.

While 2021’s class on the surface brings less talent to the roster than previous Mike Bobo classes, Addazio is hoping to build more of a winning culture at CSU than Bobo was able to produce. From the looks of it, Coach Addazio is doing this by recruiting more physically imposing prospects at the line of scrimmage. The defensive backfield has also been one of his top priorities, and a position group CSU struggled to find talent with during Mike Bobo’s era. There is some quality talent coming from this class on that side of the ball, which will allow defensive coordinator Chuck Heater to improve a defense that was already showing signs of growth in the shortened 2020 campaign. With talent leftover from the Bobo days, and the more hard nosed approach Steve Addazio looks to be establishing, the entire CSU Ram community is hoping 2021 can be a stepping stone in the right direction for this program.

Quick Hits:

Headliner(s):

Mike: Adams, Quinn, Miki-Han

Lute: Adams, Quinn, McAllister

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Adams, Quinn, Miki-Han, McAllister, Martinez

Lute: Adams, Quinn, Miki-Han, McAllister, Abdullah

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Williams, Howell

Lute: Abdullah, Williams

Best unit:

Mike: Tight End, Defensive Back

Lute: Offensive Line, Defensive Back

Summary:

At the end of the day, Colorado State added talent into their program, which is the goal of any recruiting class. Leading the class is a group of players who will be able to form the new core for the Ram program, and they may even be able to reach all-conference status. The challenge that lies ahead is how the coaching staff can develop the rest of this class and how quickly the players can rise to the challenge. While this class may not yet be up to the old coaching regime’s standards, there is still a chance the recruiting classes can produce better on the field results.

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