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Buffs Football Offseason 2011 Positional Breakdowns: Defensive Backs

I know the Men's BBall team just had a huge victory over a ranked team, but WooHoo!!! CU Football!!! ...What? What do you mean it's the offseason? So I can't post anything about the Football team? Oh. I can? SWEET!

Alright folks, this here is installment number two of my Offseason Positional Breakdowns. Today we look at the defensive backs. Here is a link to the last series of these I did just prior to the 2010 season.

After the jump you'll find a breakdown and some rudimentary (it's my middle name, you know) analysis.

Defensive Backs:

  • Jonathan Hawkins, Sr - Pretty much only a corner. He's been around for a while now (a gray-shirt from the '06 class) but had been in the background until injuries hit the secondary last year. He finally got his chance, but he was thrust into that role pretty quickly after the three guys ahead of him went down, and he didn't always impress. He definitely improved towards the end of the season, which is a good thing coming into spring ball, but he also was losing minutes to some of the younger guys back there. He's also tied as the shortest CB on the roster with a couple of guys even though they're 5'11", so that may work against him.

  • Arthur Jaffee, Sr - Another local kid! And he's extra local, being from Fairview. He started his CU career at RB but moved to DB two years ago. He's practiced both at safety and corner, so we'll have to see where Greg Brown puts him. He's fast and physical so he can provide depth at either one. He also showed some ability last year on kick returns. He may not get on the field on defense, but he's a competitor who will push the other guys back there.

  • Anthony Perkins, Sr - He has been the leader in the secondary for the last couple of years and we definitely missed him after he tore his ACL. Hopefully he is healthy by the time the season starts, but it will be interesting to see who they use to keep his practice minutes down during spring and summer ball. He will definitely be missed when his time here is done. He isn't the biggest or fastest guy, but he's been in a bunch of games and is a very solid tackler who makes sure his fellow DBs are lined up properly. I hope he is able to recover quickly from his knee injury.
  • Travis Sandersfeld, Sr - Another Colorado kid (and nephew of a TRR reader!) and a tough competitor who lost most of last year to injury like the rest of our DBs. He has good size, at 6' 205 lbs, and pretty good speed. He hits hard but is also solid in coverage. A former HS QB, he is an instinctive guy who doesn't take a ton of false steps. He was competing with Parker Orms for the starting nickel back spot last Summer. Orms won but then went down almost immediately in the game against CSU, and then Sandersfeld went and broke his ankle at the end of the game. We don't know how Brown will use the DBs or what our nickel packages will look, so we don't really know how much of Sandersfeld we will see, but we know Mark will be paying extra-close attention.
  • Ray Polk, Jr - He is big, fast and strong and comes from a football family. What else could you want? Consistency. He has played well at times, but he has also taken his fair share of false steps, missed a number of tackles and left a few pass-catchers open. Hopefully he can clean up those parts of his game with the return of Greg Brown. Perkins return will help him there, as those two are a pretty good team. But without Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown on the outside anymore, those two guys are definitely going to have to pick up their game.
  • Makiri Pugh, Jr - No idea. I don't really remember much about his play during the spring or summer, but he transferred from Georgia and will be eligible to play this season. With Greg Brown returning after only a season away, it won't be quite an open tryout at corner, but they are definitely going to be giving lots of guys a shot there. Pugh has solid size for a CB at 5'11" 190 lbs, but there are younger guys who are bigger. We'll have to watch him as spring ball gets underway.
  • Jered Bell, So - This kid is pretty good. I wouldn't be surprised if he's one of the starters come September. He is big, at 6' 190 lbs, physical and can run. He got a bunch of playing time towards the end of the season and he definitely had his moments. He's got the confidence to be a shutdown type CB, and I think he will be well on his way in 2011.
  • Deji Olatoye, So - He's got good size and has bounced between safety and corner in his time here. Based on his frame I would say his best position is CB, but the fact that he was moved to safety makes me think he's a little too high-cut to play outside. Again, that's pure speculation. Jimmy Smith was incredibly unique in that most guys his height or close to it have trouble turning their hips quickly enough to stay with wide receivers downfield. Guys that tall can get too leggy, but Smith didn't have that problem. Other tall CBs tend to, and that may be Olatoye's problem. I don't know, but we'll find out soon enough.
  • Parker Orms, So - I was so excited to see him play last season, but it only lasted a few plays. He has had since September to recover from blowing out his knee, so hopefully he'll be able to get out there during the spring and summer. He has good speed, feet and instincts. He isn't huge, but he certainly isn't the smallest DB we've played recently. He's listed at 5'11" 180 lbs, which means he hasn't been able to put on any weight because of his recovery. He started the season as the #1 nickel back, and I think he could play at either safety or corner. We'll see what they do with him come spring time.
  • Terrel Smith, So - He came on strong at the end of the season for Perkins last year. He made quite a few tackles, which is good, but he was also out of position and left guys open. Now, for a true freshman, that's OK. He was only in there because of a slew of injuries and despite all of that, he definitely showed quite a bit of promise. He's a hard hitter even though he's only 5'8" 180 lbs, and looks like he's primarily a safety. But with Perkins still recovering, he has a chance to push the incumbents for playing time and to set himself up for a big time role when Perkins graduates.
  • Paul Vigo, So - Vigo has been around for a while, having grayshirted and then redshirted. He was also the first ‘young-un' off the bench last year after Orms and Sandersfeld went down. He has practiced at both safety and corner and was our nickelback before he was also injured. He's got a good chance at seeing the field this season because he's got good size, at 6'1" 185 lbs, and speed. Plus, with the experience he got last year and the amount of time he's been here in Boulder, he should be able to step up quickly.
  • Vince Ewing, So - I haven't seen much of him. He blew out his knee before I saw any of the summer practices last year and was out all season. I don't know much about him. Hopefully he's been recovering well from the injury.
  • Josh Moten, RFr - He looks like he could be pretty good. He is a very smooth athlete who is smart and has good size, at 6' 195 lbs. He may get a look at QB in the spring, but his best position will be CB and he has a chance to contribute right away after grayshirting and then redshirting last season. I like him to get some solid minutes this year, so we'll see how the reps break down among DBs in the spring and summer.
  • Erick Ghent, RFr - Yeah, I have no idea who this guy is. He is listed at 5'10" 180 lbs, so I don't know if he'll be playing safety or cornerback. He's from Greeley West, and that's the extent of my knowledge about him.
  • Jordan Marquez, RFr - He joined the team as an invited walkon before the summer last year. Again, I don't know much about him, but he went to Arvada West and is listed at 6' 175 lbs, so he's got a little bit of size, depending on where he lines up.
  • Jermane Clark, Fr - He's listed as an athlete, but I think he will get his first look at safety. He's big, at 6'2" 205 already, so that may help his chances of seeing the field. He may be the kind of guy they want to redshirt, bulk up, and then move to linebacker to improve team speed, but that's just a guess. Either way, he's a fluid athlete and has experience on both sides of the ball, so we will probably be seeing him on special teams at the very least in 2012, if not this year. He is cousins with Rashad Hall, one of our two RB recruits in 2011.
  • Will Harlos, Fr - Another candidate for the bulk-up-and-change-positions strategy. He played defensive end in HS, but has the speed to play safety. Considering the number of young DBs we already have on the roster, plus the amount we signed in this class, I wonder if the coaches are expecting him to get big enough to play LB or even along the d-line. More speculation, but I could see him contributing early at safety. He's tall, at 6'4" and 200 lbs, so he may be too leggy to really be effective in coverage, but we'll just have to see. If he doesn't have a problem with that, then I definitely want him back there.
  • Sherrard Harrington, Fr - Coach Embree predicts he will be a team captain eventually. He is a very high character kid whose story is pretty remarkable. His father passed away, and he has been doing modeling and acting to make enough money to move his mother to a nicer neighborhood and help with her rent, plus he graduated early and has been working his butt off at the gym. He is 6'1 175 lbs already, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's put on a few more pounds by the time he gets here this summer. I'm really excited to see what he can do. Also, he is ridiculously fast. He isn't super fluid, yet, but he is really crazy fast.
  • Greg Henderson, Fr - The forgotten CB in this class, though he's definitely no slouch. He's not quite as tall as the others, at 5'11" 185 lbs but he can definitely play. He's got good hands, good feet and may get on the field right away as a kick returner. I could see them redshirting him just because of the abundance of guys they have at DB, but his abilities as a return man could push them to play him right away. He has good instincts and a nose for the ball, so he may be hard to keep off the field.
  • Kyle Washington, Fr - This guy looks like he could come in and start from day one, at least physically. He is a tank at 6'1" 200 lbs, and he looks pretty darn fast on tape. We'll see if his size puts him ahead of some of his fellow freshmen. He seems like the kind of kid who should have had way more offers. He is fast and could play either corner or safety, so we have to see where they start him in the spring. I think he could see some playing time early.

We can probably pencil Perkins and Polk in at safety, but both CB spots will be interesting battles. We don't have a ton of snaps between the guys competing for spots there. Hawkins logged 200 last year, but after that the next highest guy is Vigo with 62, and then Bell and Olatoye with 54 and 48 respectively. Because of this and the return of Greg Brown, I expect the competition to be pretty open. The experience will certainly help those guys that have it, but they don't have a ton more than the other guys there. It will be interesting to see who gets the most snaps throughout the spring and summer. Definitely something to keep your eyes on.



Previous Breakdowns:

- Running Backs