Welcome to the third piece of our twelve-part series that hopefully makes the dead period go by a bit quicker. These articles aim 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 this year in alphabetical order. Today will look at Colorado State.
Going into the 2022 season, Colorado State was a dark horse bowl selection and even received a first-place vote in the Mountain Division during preseason media days. However, what ended up happening was pretty much the opposite outcome. The Rams struggled to open the season, which wasn’t too surprising considering two of their first three games were Michigan and Washington State. What was surprising were the losses to Middle Tennessee State and Sacramento State. They finally got their first win in the fifth game of the season, and although they looked better late in the year, they only managed two more victories. The offense was expected to carry the team, but they never scored more than 19 points all season. It was one to forget for Colorado State, but they are turning the page this offseason.
Coach Norvell continued his recruiting strategy of hosting most of their official visits during June and attempting to secure players as early as possible in the class. Learn more about their class by reading below.
The Road So Far:
By all accounts, the Rams put together one of the best classes in the conference, containing quality as well as quantity. It was a big class, with 34 signees, thanks to the new rules to offset outgoing transfers. They compiled the class from all over the country, spanning 17 different states. CSU did the bulk of its work in California, Texas, and Colorado but went into non-traditional states such as Illinois, Virginia, Louisiana, and Indiana as well. 20 of the signees are slated for offense, while 14 players are on defense.
The offensive side of the ball will always be the emphasis under Coach Norvell, and they brought in some very good players. Quarterback Jackson Brousseau has the height and arm they look for in passers, and he’s joined by a potentially dynamic running back in Damian Henderson. Wide receiver was a big emphasis in this class and they signed eight of them. Lavon Brown and Justin Marshall look like future explosive pass-catchers, but don’t count out Niko Lopez, Stephon Daily, Jamari Person, Jaylen Gardner, Caleb Goodie, and Silas Evans III are contributors down the line. Norvell was raving about the tight ends and they signed three of them, high school player Mason Muaau, Vince Brown from junior college, and the transfer Dallin Holker. The offensive line was another big area of emphasis, with seven new players entering the fold. Christian Martin, Tanner Morley, Aitor Jr Urionabarrenechea, and Chris Maxey all look to have bright futures while the hope is some combination of Saveyon Henderson (JUCO), Oliver Jervis (Transfer), and Drew Moss (Transfer) can step into starting roles next year.
- Turning to the defense, and there seemed to be a focus on pass-rushers. The headliner on this side of the ball is Kennedy McDowell, who could play right away, and he will be joined on the edge by Javion Smith-Combs and Kenyon Agurs, while Andrew Laurich will handle the middle of the defensive line. The linebacker unit looks like it will be in good hands for the future with the trio of Buom Jock, Drew Rodriguez, and Whitefield Powell. The Rams seem to be trying to revamp the secondary with seven new defensive backs. The high school players are TJ Crandall, Dylan Phillips, Dante Scott, and Jett Vincent. They will develop behind Ron Hardge III, Tyrell Grayson Jr, and Dominic Morris who are being brought in to play right away.
Number who signed in December: 34
Number who will enroll early: 13
247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):
- Overall: 68th
- Recruiting: 66th
- Transfer: 88th
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: OL, WR
Colorado State clearly did the heavy lifting with this class in December, signing 34 players. According to Coach Norvell, they will have room for at least five players, potentially more if more players leave. This will allow them to get back up to the maximum allotment of 85 players. In his Signing Day press conference, he indicated they had been playing with 59 scholarship players through the latter half of their season.
Norvell mentioned the focus going forward will be primarily on offensive linemen in the transfer portal Offensive line was part of the issue on offense, and they are taking steps to rectify that. Finding another two or three players at that position in the portal can help create more competition and depth for next year.
Likewise, Norvell also said they will always look for a potential impact player at wide receiver. While it isn’t a given they add a player that fits that profile, it would not be a surprise either. The Air Raid offense features many tall, fast receivers to make big plays, and the coaches have consistently said that even practice at the level they want to be at, 12-15 receivers are needed.
Expect them to add players between now and February and that will probably be solely through the transfer portal. Doing this will complete the recruiting class and complete the Colorado State roster, both of which will be important accomplishments.
Coming Tuesday: Fresno State