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2023 Recruiting Breakdown: Colorado State

A class with top players and mid-level talent

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Colorado State Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the third post in our twelve-part recruiting breakdown series. Today will look at the #3 team in our rankings, Colorado State.

The Rams put together the type of class that Coach Jay Norvell and his staff have become known for over the years. They secured a large part of their class by June, added key transfers and junior college players in December, and signed one of the biggest classes in the Mountain West. Colorado State is becoming a destination for top talent, with several recruits representing some of the best recruits in the Mountain West in this class. Coach Norvell has a specific player he’s targets at each position and that is continued here. To learn more about the class, read below.

The Skinny:

  • 40 players signed (one may be a PWO)
  • 28 high school players, 4 JUCO players, 8 transfers
  • 24 offensive, 15 defensive, 1 special teams
  • 21 three-stars per 247 Composite rankings.
  • Players with a composite rating of 85 or higher: 4
  • Players with a composite rating of 82 or higher: 19
  • Breakdown by state (excluding transfers): 7 California, 5 Texas, 4 Colorado, 2 Illinois, 1 Arizona, 1 Utah, 1 Indiana, 1 Virginia, 1 Washington, 1 Hawaii, 1 Louisiana, 1 Oregon, 1 Tennessee, 1 Kansas, 1 Nevada, 1 Wisconsin
  • 247 Composite Rankings (subject to change)

- Overall: 76

- Recruiting: 70

- Transfer: 135

The Players:

QB Jackson Brousseau

Jackson is the quarterback in this class for the Rams. He fits the Norvell prototype of a tall QB with a big arm and easy throwing motion. Brousseau looks comfortable in the pocket going through his progressions and displays sound footwork as he drops back and moves before throwing. He makes quick decisions and appears to have a good understanding of how to attack the defense. Jackson looks like an ideal fit in the Air Raid and has a high ceiling if he keeps developing.

RB Damian Henderson

Damian is arguably the top offensive player in this class for Colorado State. He is extremely difficult to tackle due to his ability to stay balanced after getting hit and the angles he takes to elude defenders. Henderson is strong due to his size and possesses great vision, which allows him to find openings in the defense for big gains. He is also fast, reaching top speed quickly, and capable of turning every touch into an explosive play. Damian appears to be a special talent who has the potential to make an impact next season.

RB Justin Marshall

Justin is another running back in this class, and he brings in a ton of talent. He is a true weapon on offense, playing wide receiver as effectively as he does running back. Marshall is a dynamic runner who can make rapid cuts to find the open running lane. Once he gets through the first level of the defense, he can simply outrun defenders once he is in the open field. Justin should have no issue finding a way to contribute in this high-powered offense.

WR Niko Lopez

Niko enters the fold as a wide receiver. He is big and tall with great leaping ability, allowing him to bring down anything within his grasp. Lopez can line up inside or outside and excels on deep routes where he can get downfield with his long strides for big gains. He has effortless and simple changes of direction that can lead to sizeable separation on his routes, as defenders simply can’t keep up with him. Niko fits what the CSU coaches want in a wide receiver and should be on the field once he can master the offense.

WR Stephon Daily

Stephon is one of the many wide receivers the Rams recruited. While he is tall and lanky, he still moves fluidly on the field and can dodge tackles after the catch to gain extra yards. Daily gets downfield in a hurry and works the sideline effectively, making catches with little room to spare. He has a good understanding of his assignment, setting up receivers on double moves in addition to changing speeds. Stephon is high on potential and should be a productive player for the team in due time.

WR Jamari Person

Jamari is a wide receiver who hails from Tennessee. He is a shifty player who can line up on the outside or in the slot. Person has excellent releases at the line of scrimmage, immediately beating the defender and springing open. He is best utilized on short, quick passes where he can get the ball in space for big gains. Jamari should fit in nicely as a slot receiver in the Ram’s offense.

WR Jaylen Gardner

Jaylen will join the Ram roster as a wide receiver. He is in the Ram “wide receiver mold” with size and leaping ability on throws down the sideline or in the endzone. Gardner does a nice job of setting up cornerbacks while at the same time being able to track the ball in the air. He is a threat after the catch as well, making quick moves in traffic to fight for extra yards. Jaylen adds a lot of talent to the CSU WR room.

WR Lavon Brown

Lavon comes to Colorado State as one of the better wide receivers entering the Mountain West. He moves around the field effortlessly, covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Brown is most dangerous after the catch, where his quickness and agility allow him to dodge tackles and slip past the defense and into the endzone. He is versatile, getting the ball in a variety to showcase his playmaking abilities. Lavon profiles best as a slot receiver who should get a lot of touches to maximize his skills.

WR Silas Evans III

Silas is another wide receiver for the Rams. He is a big target who sets up cornerbacks well to get open. Evans is at his best making a catch and then immediately turning upfield, shaking off tackles and dragging defenses for extra yards. His length and route-running make him an ideal receive for intermediate routes on the sideline and over the middle of the field. Silas will likely need to keep developing but he should be pile up production over the course of his career.

WR Caleb Goodie

Caleb completes the wide receiver recruits in this class. Like many in this class, he is a big play receiver who can take the top off of a defense with his size and speed. Goodie is also skilled at making short catches and outrunning defenders down the sideline for big gains. His skill set makes him an ideal candidate for kick returns, as he displays good vision while running full speed. Caleb will benefit from redshirting next year but could find a role early on special teams.

WR Terryonte Taylor

Terryonte was a late addition to the Ram’s receiver room. He is shifty in traffic and fast in the open field, knowing how to move around and change gears to elude defenders. Taylor is supremely athletic, lining up at multiple positions on both sides of the ball and showcasing skills at all of them. He has great size and build to gain the advantage on defensive backs down the sideline. Terryonte fits in as well as anyone in the Air Raid offense.

TE Mason Muaau

Mason comes to Colorado State from the Hawaiian islands. He is a pass-catching tight end who has a good feel for running routes and tracking the ball in the air. Muaau displays great hands and can make catches in tight coverage, making him a reliable target anywhere on the field. His size and speed allow him to pick up extra yards after the catch, as he is tough for safeties or linebackers to tackle. Mason has big potential if he can adjust to the college game.

JUCO TE Vince Brown

Vince is a tight end coming from JUCO ball. He is a solid route-runner, capable of factoring into the short and long passing game. Brown is a mismatch for the defense, as he is too fast for linebackers and too tall for cornerbacks when he lines up outside. He isn’t one-dimensional either, as he uses his big frame to lay violent blocks in the run game. Vince should be ready to be a contributor for Colorado State next season.

Transfer TE Dallin Holker

Dallin is the third tight end in this class, entering as a transfer. He is a polished route-runner who knows how to take good angles and make quick cuts to get open. Holker is very versatile as a tight end, catching balls in the short and intermediate passing game, plus he has the capability to take handoffs or even throw a pass. He has good hands and wracks up yards after the catch with his ability to reach top speed quickly. Dallin’s presence goes a long way towards getting the tight end position where it needs to be for next season.

OL Christian Martin

Christian is an offensive tackle in this class. He does a great job squaring up on his blocks and using his strength to push defenders back without any issue. Martin stays low after the snap to utilize his lower body and push people around wherever he wants them to. He also is proficient in pass protection, moving his feet well to stay mobile to keep rushers away from the quarterback. Christian will need to add weight to compete at the college level, so a redshirt year is all but guaranteed.

OL Tanner Morley

Tanner is another player brought in to improve the offensive line. He is a force along the line, using his massive size to make powerful blocks on defenders. Morely is mobile enough to be used out in front of a play as a lead blocker in the second level and doesn’t have an issue keeping up with players in the open field. He appears to have no issue in pass protection, moving well laterally and keeping his eyes moving to adjust to how the defense is attacking the line of scrimmage. Tanner has college-ready size but will likely need time to adapt to the speed of the college level.

OL Aitor Jr Urionabarrenechea

Aitor joins the team as an offensive lineman. He has tremendous size and knows how to use it, pancaking defenders with ease with his strength. Urionabarrenechea has sound technique and quick footwork, especially when dropping back to protect the quarterback on passing plays. He is mobile enough to be used to pull or get out in front of screens or other blocks downfield. Aitor looks formidable on the line, which should bode well for the future of the position.

OL Chris Maxey

Chris is yet another o-line player in this class. He is a very athletic lineman, even playing basketball in the winter. Maxey excels in run-blocking, where he can put his entire body into hits to take defensive linemen completely out of the play. He gets off the snap right away and springs into action to get out of front of running backs. Chris played mostly tackle but may even have a brighter future as a guard who can pull and open up holes.

JUCO OL Cameron Jackson

Cameron comes in as a junior college offensive lineman. He has a great frame that packs a lot of power, delivering big blocks on defenders. Jackson has good footwork and gets into position quickly to be an effective blocker in pass protection. He moves well laterally and looks like he won’t have any issue sticking at tackle. Cameron might need a bit of time to get used to the FBS level, but he has all the necessary tools.

JUCO OL Ethen Erikson

Ethen is another JUCO offensive lineman. He showcases lots of strength, pushing defenders back in order to reset the line of scrimmage. Erikson studies defenders' movements as they come off the line and do a good job of waiting for them to reveal their plan before he commits to making a block on them. He is still adding weight but looks comfortable at a guard spot. Ethen seems well on his way to seeing the field in some capacity next season.

JUCO OL Jakob Belton

Jakob was another late addition to the class, but that isn’t a knock on his talent. He has massive size along the line and is still able to slide into position well once the play begins. Belton is simply too strong for many defenders, exerting his will with ease as he forces them wherever he wants to go. He specializes in run blocks because he can open up holes by pushing players completely out of the play. Jakob will add needed depth to the o-line position.

Transfer OL Saveyon Henderson

Saveyon is the first of the transfer offensive lineman. He brings a few years of college experience and is a technician at tackle. Henderson is nimble on his feet and stays low when dropping back into pass protection, allowing him to keep up with speedy edge rushers. He unleashes his power at the point of contact, knocking defenders off balance to gain the upper hand. Saveyon should help to add immediate depth on the offensive line.

Transfer OL Oliver Jervis

Oliver is another o-line transfer in this class. He is quite the athlete at the position, as he played defensive end and quarterback in high school. Jervis is fierce after the snap, attacking the play and whoever is in his way as he executes his assignment. He has a nice frame and has impressive speed for the position. Oliver has starting experience which could go a long way toward revamping the CSU offensive line.

Transfer OL Drew Moss

Drew rounds out the transfer lineman on offense, coming out of Lamar. He was a two-way player in high school, playing guard and all over the defensive line. Moss is aggressive and quick at the line of scrimmage, getting into position quickly to gain an advantage. He has a high motor and will play through the whistle in order to find a way to impact the play. Drew seems capable of claiming a role in some capacity next season.

DT Andrew Laurich

Andrew was a player the Rams were able to flip from another school to play defensive tackle. He explodes off the snap before offensive linemen can react, and is able to knock them off balance and get into the backfield. Laurich moves very well and is quick for an interior player, which allows him to keep up with quarterbacks and running backs. He is a fiery play who doesn’t stop moving until the whistle blows. Andrew can line up inside or outside but figures to be at the point of attack in the interior of the defense.

DE Kennedy McDowell

Kennedy is one of the best players in this Rams class and one of the best pass-rushers entering the Mountain West. He is a relentless player who is great at finding a way to disrupt players. McDowell is quick off the edge but has enough strength to get blockers off-balance allowing him to move past them. He has a knack for getting his hands on the quarterback to make a sack or get a hand on the ball. Once Kennedy gets on the field, he should be a very productive player.

DE Javion Smith-Combs

Javion is an edge rusher with intriguing size. He is a tenacious player who never gives up on making an impact. Smith-Combs is versatile enough to get to the quarterback using a speed rush or a bull rush. He appears to have a good understanding of how plays develop and reacts well in the moment to get into the proper position. Javion looks like quite the athlete who could develop into a premier pass-rusher.

DE Kenyon Agurs

Kenyon will play defensive end for the Rams after spending time on both sides of the ball in high school. He displays active hands and legs that are constantly in motion as he does whatever he can to make an impact. Agurs is too fast for offensive tackles to keep up with and he is strong enough to neutralize them when he makes contact. His length and speed allow him to chase down quarterbacks in the pocket to come away with a sack. Kenyon is another pass rusher high on potential in this class.

LB Buom Jock

Buom has been announced as a linebacker in this class after playing wide receiver and defensive back in high school. He has a long, sleek frame that gives him a size advantage over nearly every player on every play. Jock moves smoothly in the open field, keeping up with wide receivers with his speed and long strides. He tackles well in the open field and uses his size to overpower ball carriers. Buom has a unique combination of physical traits which could allow him to be a dynamic defensive player in college.

LB Drew Rodriguez

Drew will be a linebacker for the Rams. He is a do-it-all player on the field due to his athleticism and high football IQ. Rodriguez is skilled in coverage with his speed and ball skills, but he is an effective blizter as well. He can also help out with the run, playing in the box or near the flat to step in to make a tackle. Drew profiles best as a hybrid safety-linebacker or an outside linebacker who can keep up in the passing game while also stopping the run.

LB Whitefield Powell

Whitefield’s signing makes another linebacker for this class. He is a tough, physical player who understands and executes his assignments on defense. Powell is skilled at rushing the quarterback, taking good angles as he explodes off the line and using his leverage to get past blockers where he can overpower QBs. He is also stout in the running game, getting in the proper position to make a sure-handed tackle on runners. Whitefield looks like he can be a consistent contributor in college.

DB TJ Crandall

TJ is a two-way player who will line up on the defense for Colorado State. He has great hands and adjusts to the ball well on a pass from his time on offense. Crandall looks natural in coverage and consistently gets inside leverage on receivers to put himself between them and the ball. He does a nice job combining the technical aspects of being a cornerback with his natural athletic ability. TJ brings a lot of skill to the Rams defense and he should see the field early in his career.

DB Dylan Phelps

Dylan is another defensive back in this recruiting cycle. He is an extremely physical player, playing tight coverage and delivering punishing hits. Phelps displays great awareness on the field, having the ability to blow up screens and jump routes as they develop. He can fly around the field to get into position to make a play. Dylan has good size for a cornerback, which should serve him well once he gets on the field.

DB Dante Scott

Dante is coming to Colorado State to play as a member of the secondary. He has nice size in the secondary and follows the ball to get into position to make a play. Scott has noticeable closing speed, allowing him to play off his man so he doesn’t get beat. He is a factor on special teams as well, as he is a dynamic returner who is hard to bring down. Dante looks to have a bright future in college if everything stays on track.

DB Jett Vincent

Jett enters the class as another defensive back. He lines up in the back of the defense and has good instincts, allowing him to make a play on the ball. Vincent high points the ball well and has strong hands, allowing him to pull interceptions out of receivers' hands. He can room from sideline to sideline and tackles very well in space. Jett may need a redshirt year but he should have no issue adjusting to the college game.

Transfer DB Tyrell Grayson Jr

Tyrell is one of the transfers coming into the secondary. He reacts to plays well, which allows him to be in position to deflect a pass or make an interception. Grayson is a sound tackler, especially in the open field, bringing down receivers before they can break loose for an explosive play. He is adept at maintaining inside leverage on a receiver, sheidling himself between the wide out and the ball. Tyrell brings needed experience and should find a role right away next year.

Transfer DB Dominic Morris

Dominic is a transfer finding a new home with the Rams. He is a true ballhawk at the corner spot, having a good feel for where the ball is going to be and displays solid hands. Morris is skilled at staying close to the receiver and is always in the vinicty to knock down or intercept a pass. He plays bigger than his size due to his speed and athleticism. Dominic’s presence will go a long way towards building depth at the position.

Transfer DB Ron Hardge III

Ron transfers in from Oregon State. He has great size for a defensive back and always seems to be around the ball. Hardge excels at beating a receiver to the ball and high pointing it while it is in the air. He is physical, press receivers at the line or scrimmage and making sound tackles once the ball is caught. Ron figures to boost the talent level in the secondary for Colorado State.

LS Morgan Tribbett

Morgan was announced as a long-snapper in this class. He delivers an accurate ball with a tight spiral nearly every time. Tribbett gets downfield in a hurry following punts, often leading the charge, and has the ability to make an open-field tackle from his time as a linebacker. He can adjust the power and distance of his snaps for punts or field goals. Morgan will need to be consistent when executing his assignment, and if all goes well, he should have a nice career.

Team Writer Thoughts:

This class is heavy on skill-position talent. Norvell loaded up on wide receivers and was able to lure in a special running back talent in Henderson. I still have major concerns about their ability to get it done in the trenches. Norvell needed players who are able to make an immediate impact in the trenches and I’m not sure this class fills those needs. Overall, I think Norvell landed some players that have the ability to be special, but I don’t think they addressed many of the issues they had on the defensive side of the ball.

Quick Hits:


Mike: Henderson, McDowell, Marshall

Zach: Henderson, McDowell, Brown

Talented enough to play right away:

Mike: Henderson, McDowell, Marshall, Brown

Zach: Hendersson, McDowell, Marshall, Brown

Sleeper Recruit:

Mike: Person, Jock

Zach: Rodriguez, Daily

Best unit:

Mike: Running back, Wide Receiver

Zach: Running Back, Wide Receiver


After securing another recruiting class, Colorado State again added an influx of talent into its program. They focused more on high school talent in this class, and it paid off as they found some highly rated recruits. It is clear how these incoming recruits are capable of fitting into their system, not only on offense but on the defensive side of the ball as well as they continue to establish an identity. The Rams should be an improved team next season and this class will be able to contribute to that next year and beyond.

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