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 2023 season, most observers figured Colorado State was an easy bet to improve from the showing the previous year. And they were right. The Rams lose their first game convincly, but the offense looked much better after a quarterback change. They rebounded to go 2-2 and it seems like the season was taking a big step forward with a come from behind win in dramatic fashion against Boise State. That proved to not be the case, because the Rams dropped three straight games during the toughest part of their schedule. They needed to win over their final three games to make a bowl game and came up just short, beating SDSU and Nevada before losing to Hawaii on a last-second field goal. It was a strong season, but not making a bowl felt like a bit of a letdown.
Off the field, 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 for another year, containing quality as well as quantity. It was one of the bigger initial classes in the Mountain West with 19 signees, all high school players. The majority of the recruits (12) hail from California, with Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, and Oregon rounding things out. To no surprise, over half of the class is coming in to play offense, with 11 recruits there. That means 8 are on the defensive side of the ball.
The offensive side of the ball will always be the emphasis under Coach Norvell, and they brought in some very good players. Quarterback Darius Curry was a big winner in high school and hopes to continue that at the college level. Jalen Dupree comes in as a running back and is looking to make a big splash for the pass-heavy team. Three wide receivers join the fray, with Jordan Ross and Landon being two of the top recruits in the class. They are joined by Kory Hall and tight end Zach Smith, who are no slouches either. They continue to attempt to rebuild the offense line, with five signees in this class. Size is the name of the game here, as Branden Hales, Jack Moran, Berlin Lillard, and John Holthaus are all listed at 6’5” or taller. Interior lineman Phillip Ocon rounds out that unit.
Turning to the defense, and the Rams continue to bring in pass-rushers with length in Keegan Shank and Ed’Mari Binion. Trajon Townsend will compliment them with size and ability in the middle of the defensive line. Jaden Landrum comes in as a linebacker, but the bigger focus of this side of the ball seemed to be defensive backs. Colorado State bought in four in this class, Dagan Myers and AJ Noland appear to be talented players who will slot in at the safety positions, while Chance Harrison and Chauncey Davis bring nice size to the corner spots.
Number who signed in December: 19
Number who will enroll early: 4
247 Composite Rankings (subject to change):
- Overall: 77th
- Recruiting: 68th
- Transfer: N/A
The Road Ahead:
Top Targets Remaining: OL, DB, DL, WR
Colorado State clearly did the heavy lifting with this class in December, signing 19 players. They will probably spend the time between now and February scouring the transfer portal for players who can make an impact the team for the 2024 season.
Last year, Coach Norvell and his staff had to rebuild the team and make up for the losses they had in the transfer portal. This year, it appears they can do more fine-tuning to improve the team with carefully selected players at key positions. The recruiting class is pretty well-rounded, but Coach Norvell stated they are looking at add another 6-8 players in the transfer portal. He even stated a few players are working on completing their paperwork to enroll in the school It seems like the biggest priorities are on both sides of the line as well as defensive back. Also, being a pass-heavy team, they are always on the lookout for another dynamic wide receiver.
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