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Colorado Buffaloes All-Decade Football Roster

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Who were the best Buffs in the past ten years?

Colorado State v Colorado Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As part of CU History Week, we have to take a look back at some less fortunate history. We know and love the glory days of the 1990s and early 2000s, but the younger fans grew up rooting for less glamorous teams. It’s time to compile an all-decade team, from 2009 to 2018, that picks the best players from woeful teams. I’m sorry if this evokes some bad memories; just be happy if you never had opinions about Parker Orms.

It’s important to note that I’m picking players based off their best-ever year. Addison Gillam, for example, was a Freshman All-American in 2015, but he struggled with health after that year. He’s not on the first team, but he is on the second team, which I have so thoughtfully included in this article.

First Team Offense

QB - Sefo Liufau, 2016

RB - Phillip Lindsay, 2017

Sefo and Lindsay just barely beat out Tyler Hansen and Rodney Stewart, not necessarily because they were better, but because they had so much heart and leadership that they carried the 2016 offense. (Hansen and Speedy deserved so much better than 3-10 in their senior year.) Lindsay also gets more points for carrying the 2017 offense, which struggled mightily to throw the ball so they just gave him 30 carries every game.

WR - Paul Richardson, 2013

WR - Laviska Shenault, Jr., 2018

WR - Nelson Spruce, 2014

If anything good has happened in these past ten years (not counting 2016), it’s that they have had some terrific receivers getting crazy stats. In 2013, Richardson had over 1300 yards and 10 TDs with Connor Wood and freshman Liufau throwing him passes. Spruce blew up in 2014 as he and Liufau carried the Buffs’ offense in a bunch of shootout losses. Shenault, meanwhile, might end up the most dominant WR in program history as he is legitimate Heisman contender.

AP - Rodney Stewart, 2009

I couldn’t leave Speedy off the first-team roster.

TE - Riar Geer, 2009

We’re gonna have to pretend that Geer isn’t the best tight end since the Barnett era.

OT - Nate Solder, 2010

OT - David Bakhtiari, 2012

OG - Ryan Miller, 2011

OG - Tim Lynott, 2016

C - Daniel Munyer, 2014

As bad as CU offensive lines have been, this is a pretty good group. Bakhtiari is the best offensive tackle in the NFL, although he was merely really good back in college. Solder was an All-American in 2010, as was Miller in 2011. Lynott and Munyer are mostly good depth pieces, although Gus Handler and Gerrad Kough were decent alternatives.

First-Team Defense

DL - Mustafa Johnson, 2018

DL - Chidera Uzo-Diribe, 2012

NT - Josh Tupou, 2016

Mustafa Johnson was a shoe-in the only truly disruptive defensive lineman of the past ten years. The rest of the options are mostly good-not-great players who can get the job done but not command the attention of the offense. Uzo-Diribe made it over Jordan Carrell and Will Pericak, mostly because I just like Uzo-Diribe and he was nice to my mom when we said hi to him at Rio Grande. Tupou gets in as the better nose tackle between him, Javier Edwards and Nate Bonsu.

OLB - Jimmie Gilbert, 2016

ILB - Nate Landman, 2018

ILB - Kenneth Olugbode, 2016

Buff - Davion Taylor, 2018

This is where the defense actually looks good. The d-line can’t really put much pressure on the offense, but Gilbert is a gifted pass rusher who had 11 sacks in 2016. Landman is a destroyer of worlds who may add his name alongside Jordon Dizon, Ted Johnson and Matt Russell as the best linebackers in modern CU history. Olugbode mostly holds down the fort; he made it over Rick Gamboa because he’s better in pass coverage. We have yet to see the best of Davion Taylor, but the 2018 version of him is still a dynamic player perfect for that hybrid role.

DB - Jimmy Smith, 2010

DB - Ahkello Witherspoon, 2016

DB - Greg Henderson, 2013

DB - Chidobe Awuzie, 2016

DB - Tedric Thompson, 2016

If the linebackers look great, then the secondary should look elite. If you have a press coverage with Jimmy and Witherspoon, no one is going to get a space of inch. Greg Henderson made it in over Isaiah Oliver because he’s better suited for the slot. Tedric Thompson is there to clean any mess, as he had 7 interceptions in 2016 and 13 in his career; he’s probably the best Buffaloes safety since Michael Lewis, which is simultaneously impressive and depressing. The safety position is so thin that I moved Chido there, where he’s free to make plays all over the field.

If you haven’t noticed, the defense is so 2016-heavy because that defense was truly elite, but also because those defenses from 2009 to 2015 were dumpster fires. Look at that 2011 roster and you can see why a team with Hansen, Speedy and Paul Richardson went 3-10.

K - James Stefanou, 2017

P - Darragh O’Neill, 2014

KR - Isaiah Oliver, 2016

The Buffs beat UCLA 20-13 because Oliver returned a punt for a score. Stefanou was a Lou Groza semifinalist in 2017. And sweet, sweet Darragh O’Neill, how I miss him every day.


Second-Team Offense

QB - Tyler Hansen, 2011

RB - Rodney Stewart, 2010

Hansen and Speedy really deserved better. One was a cool and collected leader who put everything on the line for his teammates. The other was one of the most fun players I have ever seen, someone I miss watching as a kid.

WR - Scotty McKnight, 2009

WR - Shay Fields, 2016

WR - Toney Clemons, 2011

AP - K.D. Nixon, 2018

This is actually a pretty good receiving corps with good balance. Shay stretches the field, Clemons is the big body in the red zone, Scotty carves up the middle of the field, and K.D. is the x-factor who could be used in creative ways.

TE - Chris Bounds, 2017

I love Chris Bounds, but if he’s the second best tight end of the past ten years, you need to find some better tight ends.

OT - Stephane Nembot, 2015

OT - Jeromy Irwin, 2017

OG - Gerrad Kough, 2017

OG - Jack Harris, 2013

C - Gus Handler, 2013

After a strong first-team offensive line, these guys are pretty mediocre. But it’s still solid, especially with the underrated Nembot at right tackle.

Second-Team Defense

DL - Jordan Carrell, 2016

DL - Will Pericak, 2012

NT - Nate Bonsu, 2012

There’s only really been one great defensive lineman in the past years and it’s Mustafa Johnson. These guys are mostly “get the job done so the linebackers can make plays”.

OLB - Derek McCartney, 2015

ILB - Rick Gamboa, 2017

ILB - Addison Gillam, 2015

Buff - Ryan Moeller, 2017

McCartney, when healthy, was a very good edge rusher who would have greatly helped that 2016 defense. Gillam was a godsend as a freshman, as his #44 gave fans visions of a young Jordon Dizon. Gamboa is the brain of this defense, as well as a terrific leader. Then Moeller is there to make some plays and hopefully not get burned by quick scat backs.

DB - Isaiah Oliver, 2017

DB - Jalil Brown, 2010

DB - Cha’pelle Brown, 2009

DB - Evan Worthington, 2017

DB - Jared Bell, 2013

Once again, the real strength is at defensive back, although that kind of depends on how you feel about Worthington and Bell. I think they’re both good playmakers, if a little inconsistent. But ideally they wouldn’t have to do too much with Oliver, Jalil and Cha’pelle allowing zero room for quarterbacks.

K - Will Oliver, 2014

P - Alex Kinney, 2016

KR - Rodney Stewart, 2010

I really just wanted to list Speedy for the third time.


First-In-Our-Hearts-Team Offense

QB - Bernard Jackson, 2006

I will make one exception to the whole all-decade thing.

RB - Christian Powell, 2012

“He looks like the next Lawrence Vickers!” - My uncle, when Powell, in his first ever game playing running back, ran for 147 yards and 3 TDs in a 30-28 loss to Sacramento State during a 1-11 season.

WR - Juwann Winfree, 2017

WR - Keenan Canty, 2011

WR - Tyler McCollough, 2012

AP - D.D. Goodson, 2014

Juwann was really good, but for some reason, the coaches never called any plays for him. When they did, like against USC in 2016, he looked like a star.

TE - Chris Hill, 2016

Chris Hill caught one pass and it was a touchdown, then a few weeks later he and Jaleel Awini got in a fight, got arrested and got kicked off the team.

OT - Sam Kronshage, 2015

OT - Josh Kaiser, 2018

OG - Kaiwi Crabb, 2013

OG - Jonathan Huckins, 2016

C - Alex Kelley, 2016

Sam Kronshage, your wallet is still in the lost & found at Norlin Library. This isn’t a joke. I’m a security guard at the library.

First-In-Our-Hearts-Team Defense

DL - Nick Kasa, 2010

DL - George Frazier, 2016

NT - Javier Edwards, 2017

George Frazier was the largest human being I had ever seen with my own eyes, until I saw Javier Edwards the following year.

OLB - B.J. Beatty, 2011

ILB - Jon Major, 2011

ILB - Jeff Smart, 2009

Buff - Anthony Perkins, 2009

Even though those teams weren’t very good and these players weren’t that great, I really do miss Major and Beatty running around the field with that long hair flying everywhere. (Shouts to Beatty and Alex Kelley for being elite-level Twitter followers.)

DB - Jason Espinoza, 2011

DB - Dante Wigley, 2018

DB - Anthony Julmisse, 2017

DB - Yuri Wright, 2014

DB - Parker Orms, 2013

Jason Espinoza really did have to play cornerback in 2011 and he really did intercept a pass from Andrew Luck.

K - Aric Goodman, 2009

P - Zach Grossnickle, 2010

KR - Arthur Jaffee, 2010

This doesn’t count, but Aric Goodman converted 5/14 field goals in 2008. However! He did win the game-winning field goal against West Virginia in a classic Thursday night blackout game.