Grading Colorado’s 2018 recruiting class after National Signing Day

Feb 09, 2018
  • By Eric Yates
  • Diehards

The Colorado Buffaloes signed 21 players to its 2018 recruiting class, which ranks No. 51 in the country and No. 10 in the Pac-12. For a team that regressed to 5-7 after its breakout 10-win 2016 season, which included a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game, more was expected.

Still, there are players with the chance to contribute right away in this class, headlined by a 4-star JUCO linebacker. Outside of that, the rest of the signees were all 3-star prospects.

It’s another step back for the Buffaloes, whose 2017 class ranked 35th nationally and eighth in the Pac-12.

Rankings and ratings aside, how does Colorado’s class look? Here are Pac-12 DieHards’ grades for the Buffaloes’ class on offense and defense.

Offense: C

The Buffaloes lost three productive wide receivers to graduation, so they did a nice job adding more depth to the position in Dylan Thomas (No. 666 overall) and Daniel Arias (No. 720 overall). Dimitri Stanley (No. 431 overall) and RB Jarek Broussard are also players that can catch the ball and create in space.

Quarterback Blake Stenstrom (No. 805), who took over for Dylan McCaffrey at Valor Christian in Littleton, Colo., will add depth to the quarterback room that includes returning junior Steven Montez and Tyler Lytle, a talented player who redshirted last season.

The Buffs signed only two offensive linemen to this class, and despite losing three starters, the team feels good where they are, after having signed four nationally ranked linemen in 2017. The 2018 signees, OT Frank Filip and OC Josh Jynes, are merely depth.

Perhaps the star of the class on offense is TE Derrion Jones from Los Angeles Harbor College. He’s the nation’s No. 5 ranked JUCO tight end, and he could bring immediate dividends to a team that had only 8 catches for 109 yards from its tight end position last season. Jones is big with a mean streak when he blocks. He has good hands and while he won’t make you miss, his top-end speed is impressive for a man his size (6-foot-6, 245 pounds). Once he gets running downhill, he’s tough to stop. He’ll be another added weapon for the Buffs in 2018.

Defense: B-

To Colorado’s credit,  four of its top six recruits were on the defensive side of the ball, which is good since that unit struggled late in the season, especially in stopping the run. The Buffaloes must replace five starters on defense, including its captains DE Derek McCartney S Afolabi Lagada and CB Isaiah Oliver, a likely first-round pick in the draft.

The key newcomer next year will be OLB Davion Taylor, the nation’s No. 1 ranked JUCO linebacker. Taylor brings incredible speed to the position, and he will likely be one of the best players for the Buffaloes next year if he can learn the schemes quickly. He flies all over the field and hits like a Mack truck.

The Buffaloes signed four players to its secondary, including CB Delrick Abrams, the nation’s No. 13 JUCO cornerback, and three safeties who will add depth to the position in Aaron Maddox, Ray Robinson and Lavon Wallace. Most importantly, the team signed two big defensive tackles: Mustafa Johnson (No. 25 overall JUCO DT) and Israel Antwine (No. 855 overall player) to help add depth to the defensive line, as the Buffaloes need to shore up that unit to have a chance at getting back to a bowl game in 2018.

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