This spot on the countdown is cheating because we’re counting Carson Wells and Jacob Callier as the same player. The two sophomores are the main edge rushers in the Colorado Buffaloes defense, and though one will start over the other, it’s impossible to separate the two.
Generally speaking, the Buffs will use a base 3-4-4 defense and frequently move into 3-3-5. The linebackers in the 3-4 base will be Nate Landman in the middle, Davion Taylor at the star position (formerly: buff backer), Jonathan van Diest next to Landman, and an edge rusher. In the 3-3-5 defense, van Diest would be replaced by a defensive back. In other words, Callier and Wells will see a lot of the field.
Callier and Wells are crucial in Mel Tucker’s defense because it requires a pass rush. Mustafa Johnson will cause havoc on the defensive line, but he needs help. The Buffs need an edge rusher to force the opposing QB to make a quick decision; if not, that zone can be picked apart.
Callier and Wells are both still young. Callier played as a true freshman in 2017, started as a sophomore in 2018, but was injured after four games, meaning he could redshirt. Now healthy, he’s looked impressive in spring and fall camps.
Wells is bigger (6’4, 250, compared to Callier’s 6’2, 225), has more experience as a starter, and has been more productive in his early career. Wells had 4.5 sacks as a part-time starter as a freshman, and he was especially impressive at the end of the year.
Wells is more likely to break out into a legit playmaker, but Callier himself is a good player with potential.