Anyone expect him to lead the Buffs in sacks last year? I sure as heck didn't. But he's back again this year!
Today we look at the defensive ends. We signed two guys here this recruiting cycle, which I thought was odd, until I realized that all of the DEs are older than I thought they were. For some reason I still think that Kasa and West are young guys instead of upperclassmen. Huh. That's weird. Anyway, here's the link to the last round of these that I did going into the 2010 season.
Follow the jump to find out everything you could ever possibly want to know about the CU defensive ends...kind of.
- Josh Hartigan, Sr - He bounced around for a bit here at CU before settling in at defensive end and bursting onto the scene to lead the team in sacks. He's undersized at 6'1 215 lbs, but has long arms and is very quick. Despite his diminutive stature, he actually was able to hold his own in the run-game much of the time, but he definitely lost a few battles. Of course, he gave up nearly 100 lbs to some of the tackles he was facing. Anyway, he looks to be featured at this spot once again, though you've got to think that he won't get nearly as many snaps this season. The guys behind him were coming on strong, and with someone like Kanavis McGhee-on staff specifically to work with the pass rushers-the big young guys should improve dramatically. Of course, Hartigan will fight is butt off for his spot, but there are some potential stars behind him.
- Tony Poremba, Sr - A walkon who has seen the field for a couple of snaps each of the last few seasons. From what I've seen, he's a high energy guy who gives it all he's got, but he doesn't have very long arms, which makes it hard for a guy his size (6'1" 230 lbs) to generate much of a rush. He may end up taking a back seat to some of the bigger and younger guys on the depth chart.
- Nick Kasa, Jr - Is he really already a junior? Damn the way his freshman year was handled!! Anyway, his potential is still off the charts. I can still remember plays that first season where he would just completely stand up the offensive tackle who was trying to generate some push in the run game. He was given a bunch of snaps at nose tackle last year, which may continue because his strength and length give interior lineman trouble, but I hope we see him outside as well. I think with a mentor like McGhee (and Tui!), Kasa and all of these guys will be significantly better at recognition and using their hands. I'm excited to see what he can give us these next to seasons. At 6'6" 275, his length and speed (he ran a 4.67 40 last spring) are assets that needs to be utilized.
- Forrest West, Jr - He's a junior too!?!? That's crazy! He started to rack up some sacks last year, getting 5½, second behind Hartigan. He is also fast (4.60 in the 40 last spring), but has proven to be pretty strong in the run game as well. Part of this is his ability to get good leverage on taller offensive tackles because he's 6'1" 260 lbs. He may lead the team in sacks this year, though he'll have a tough time keeping this next kid off of the field.
- Chidera Uzo-Diribe, So - He came on strong last year, registering 3½ sacks, after having only played football for three seasons. He has great speed, and is up to 6'3" 240 lbs, with long arms and great hands. He's a former basketball player who is explosive and I can't wait til McGhee gets his hands on this guy. He could be really, really good. The older guys are going to have a hard time keeping him off of the field.
- Stephan Nembot, Fr - This guy could be something special. He's enormous, at 6'8" 280 lbs and has pretty amazing speed for his size. He's from Cameroon and came to the US before 10th grade to play basketball, but fell in love with football. He has all the potential in the world. You know how they talk about some kids only being as good as they want to be? Well this kid will be as good as he is coached to be. If Tui and McGhee can really work with him, he could be incredibly good. He looks like he might even continue to get bigger. I'm certain they'll redshirt him this year, so I'm excited to see what happens with him beginning in 2012.
- Juda Parker, Fr - One of a trio of Hawaiians we signed this recruiting cycle, and he looks like he could be a contributor pretty early. He's a big fan of the weight room. Coach Blacken our S&C coach was apparently one of the big reasons Parker chose CU. He's got some pretty good hands already, and displayed some versatility in HS dropping back into coverage and playing as a standup pass-rusher. He's got good speed and solid size, at 6'2" 245. They may choose to redshirt both of the new guys, but Parker just might play his way onto the field this season.
I expect to see more of the same faces at defensive end. After Marquez Herrod disappeared (I still want to know that story), we didn't lose anybody who gave us snaps last season. I'm still interested to see who they play on which side, and whether McGhee's presence on the coaching staff will make as big an impact as I think it will (if you haven't guessed yet, I expect him to improve our pass rush by leaps and bounds).