Here is the defensive class breakdown for the 2009 season as we stand today. Here is the offensive breakdown I posted last week. See analysis of the defensive squads after the jump...
2009 - 2010 Buff Defense Class Breakdown
|Taj Kaynor||Eric Lawson||C Cunningham||Will Pericak||Nate Bonsu|
|Tyler Sale*||Eugene Goree|
|M Herrod||Lagrone Shields||Nosa Eguae|
|Marcus Burton||BJ Beatty||Tyler Ahles||Lynn Katoa||None|
|Shaun Mohler||Micheal Sipili||Josh Hartigen||Jon Major|
|Jeff Smart||D Goldberg*||Brandon Gouin*||Doug Rippy|
|Bryan Stengel*||G Sergent*|
|C Brown||Jimmy Smith||Anthony Wright||Deji Olatoye|
|Ben Burney||Jalil Brown||J Hawkins|
|Bret Smith*||Patrick Mahnke||S Hicks||Parker Orms|
|A Perkins||Vince Ewing|
|T Sandersfield*||Paul Vigo***|
|K||Aric Goodman||Jameson Davis|
|J Drescher||A Bisnow*|
|* walk on / ** potential medical redshirt / *** grey shirt 2008 class|
As you can see again, the sophomore class is, once again, extremely large compared to the other classes. Combining the offensive chart's 18 sophomore players, 35 of the total 100 players are in year number 2. If you add in incoming freshman, 63 of the total players are underclassmen. No excuses, right?
Just don't look at the defensive line spots. The Buffs seem to be in a good position on the offensive line, especially with the two new additions in the 2009 class. If they could add one more offensive lineman for depth, I feel good about that unit for the next 2 - 3 years. It is just the opposite for the defensive line. They all might be players but the fact that we haven't seen any substantial results from these guys scares me to death. Their are clearly depth issues as well. The fact that the front four were dead tired in the Nebraska game and the coaching staff refused to substitute any of these guys for a substantial period would conclude that this year could be a struggle upfront. Right now, the Buffs don't seem to be in on a ton of DL and DE which is extremely troubling. If the Buffs could get 2 - 3 JUCO players to fill this void, it would go a long way to solidifying the defense.
For as much as the defensive front might be a worry, the linebacker and corner positions must make all CU fans smile. LB coach Brian Cabral has a ton of talent to work with at the linebacker spot. The X factor of this whole unit will be Katoa and Major. If Katoa can right the ship and Major can fully recover from the ACL injury, this unit could be the best in the Big 12. If the defensive line situation does not improve, look for guys like B.J. Beatty, Marcus Burton and Michael Sipili to be a pseudo-defensive end/rush end all year. In the defensive backfield, the Buffs are young at safety but Anthony Perkins and Patrick Mahnke showed that they have some talent and stepped in pretty well as freshman last year. The Buffs will also get 2008 grey shirt S Paul Vigo in this year as well as S Steven Hicks and S Vince Ewing to add depth. You might also seem some slotted at corner back make the move back to safety (Jalil Brown would be a likey candidate to get more playmakers on the field). CU is also in on a few other safeties in the 2009 recruiting class that would provide much needed depth on both defense and special teams.
Now to the corners. This could rival the linebacker spot for the best unit on the team. Cha'pelle Brown and Ben Burney (2007 starter who was injured last year) return as well as juniors Jalil Brown and Jimmy Smith. Smith really stepped up last year and played a ton down the stretch. He looks to be piecing together the consistency that goes with playing corner as he has all of the physical attributes that you crave in a corner. The Buffs will play some good receivers next year and I expect Smith to be on all of them. If we could only generate a pass rush!
I am not going to talk about punters and kickers because we all know we need new one(s).
In summation, we can see the depth starting the build in certain spots but their are still some major concerns at a few positions: defensive line, wide receiver (could be fixed if Josh Smith progresses, Andre Simmons qualifies and Diante Jackson becomes a Buff) and can the Buffs win with their current situation at quarterback?