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Colorado 2023 Preview: Quarterbacks

This is a one-man position in 2023

Colorado Football Spring Game Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Additions: Shedeur Sanders, Gavin Kuld, Ryan Staub, Kasen Weisman

Departures: JT Shrout, Brendan Lewis, Maddox Kopp, Drew Carter

As always, we want to start our season preview for the Colorado Buffaloes with the position that matters most. We saw that last year, where a combination of bad coaching and bad performances led to truly dreadful offensive production, largely due to a lack of a passing attack. Quarterbacks run this sport, duh, but college allows for a different types of QBs that don’t succeed in the pros. We’ve seen guys like Sefo Liufau succeed IN SPITE of natural throwing ability and guys like Steven Montez have all the tools and put it together too infrequently for fans to be fully satisfied. As with everything in Boulder, things have changed dramatically since Deion Sanders took over as the head coach in Boulder.

Shedeur Sanders may be CU’s best chance at a “plus” throwing quarterback since Montez. He should surpass anyone we’ve seen since senior year Joel Klatt if he reaches the level his coaches expect of him. Sanders is a polished player and has played plenty of college ball, albeit at Jackson State. Just last year, as a true sophomore, he threw for 3,732 yards and 40 touchdowns. He also rushed for 6 touchdowns and only threw 6 interceptions. That is an incredible season for any quarterback at any level. Not only that, he completed 70% of his passes and had a yards per attempt of 7.8. That is INSANE for a true sophomore and he deserves any accolades given to him.

It’s hard to shed the coach’s son label, but make no mistake, Shedeur Sanders is a legitimate quarterback at any level. Do I expect that stat line this year? Absolutely not, but give me 60% of that — 30 TDs, a few rushing scores, similar efficiency — and I’m very happy. Sanders can run, sure, but he is a polished pocket passer. His delivery is compact, the ball comes out quick and his accuracy is enviable. It will be nice to watch a CU quarterback throw in anticipation of where his receiver will be.

The Pac-12, in its final year, is a top-heavy quarterback league. Sanders is not expected to scrape the Caleb Williams, Bo Nix and Michael Penix tier. But he can firmly be in the 2nd tier of Pac-12 quarterbacks that help their teams win games. Would you take Jaylen De Laura over Sanders? Cam Ward (who may be a good comp this year)? Dante Moore? I don’t know, it’s hard to say.

Behind him is a scary lack of depth. Ryan Staub and Kasen Weisman are both true freshmen. Gavin Kuld transfers in from a junior college has a great frame and good athleticism, but is brand new to the program. There is not a lot there, and if Shedeur Sanders goes down, CU might not win a single game without him.

If he doesn’t go down, then I think he will win some games on his own this year. He has plenty of weapons around him and should produce more than a few touchdowns.