After a few consecutive rough seasons in Boulder, the Colorado football team is looking for some of their top recruits to come in and make an instant impact.
It’s no secret that the Buffaloes need immediate help at almost every position on the field, but there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to their 2014 recruiting class. The Buffaloes are facing the reality of losing two superstar-caliber players to the NFL draft in wide receiver Paul Richardson and defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe. The departure of these two players leaves massive voids that must be filled if the Buffaloes are to compete at a high level during the upcoming season.
Losing a playmaker like Richardson, who was taken 45th overall by the Seattle Seahawks, would be a severe blow for any program. It is an especially devastating loss for the Buffaloes, as they’ll be forced to rely on a group of young, inexperienced receivers.
That’s where four star recruit Shay Fields comes into play. Out of California, at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, he’s very comparable to Richardson’s body type. He showcases tremendous athletic ability and destroys opposing defenses with his incredible speed. He has also shown the capability to play both in the slot and on the outside, as a deep ball receiver. Fields finished his senior season with more than 1,600 yards and added even added 16 touchdowns, just for good measure. His superb route running and innate ability to make plays after the catch make him a very valuable commodity to a Buffaloes team that is relatively weak at the position.
When defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe left for the NFL draft, the Buffaloes knew that they would have to address the defensive line in the offseason. They have been able to do just that by recruiting defensive end Michael Mathewes.
At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, he will be come in as one of the biggest defensive lineman on the team…as a freshman. Also out of California, Mathewes lined up primarily at defensive end for Mission Viejo and carried them to an impressive 11-1 record in his senior season. He finished his final high school season with a team-leading 12 sacks.
He is a potent combination of speed and size and will match up against some of the best and biggest left tackles in the country. If he can continue to improve his game and build his body, he may turn into a staple on the Buffaloes’ defensive line.
Another key issue that needed to be addressed during this offseason was the secondary. Riddled with injuries a season ago, and ranking in the bottom five of the FBS in total defense, this was maybe the area of most concern for the Buffaloes’ defense. Led by seniors Jered Bell and Greg Henderson, a group of young defensive backs will have to vastly improve if they want to play alongside powerhouse programs like Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona State.
One of the most important aspects that the secondary must improve is their physicality. Coach Mike MacIntyre went out and got just what this team needed: a big hitter. Local product Evan White is known for his physical play in the Colorado area and will only continue to improve his game. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, he is a hard-hitting safety that is also capable of making big time defensive plays. He finished his career at Cherokee Trail high school with a two-interception game and looks to continue improving his game in Boulder.
Each of these recruits has shown outstanding upside and playmaking ability in their respective positions. The only question left to ask now: can they translate their game to the next level? Surely, the Buffaloes seem to believe that they are all capable of making this transition.
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