Everybody, it's almost here, and the excitement is almost overwhelming. From our end, at least. Signing day is days away, and the Buffs have been more exciting to follow this year than many years past. CU is in on some major players, and their commitments make an already exciting class. With that in mind, here are a few things to know in advance.
It's A Small Class After All
The Buffs have 9 graduating seniors this year, and with the only announced attrition being Markeis Reed and Grant Watanabe, that only leaves eleven spots. Given that Sam Bennion is coming back from his mission, Davis Webb is transferring in, and Josh Tupou is coming back (all probably's, but still), that leaves eight spots for JUCO's and high school players. Right now, there are 15 committed. Be it grayshirts or "trimming of the fat" so to speak, they need to find room for these players. 15 is probably about the max that the Buffs can sign, so it will be a small class. This means a few things. The rankings won't be as gaudy as they would be, given the low numbers, but this class will have playmakers all around. The lower class numbers also means that the players that are committed will have earned their spot, as interest usually outweighs space in these years. They have a better chance of seeing the field early than the other Coach Mac classes, and I would expect that the redshirting rate is down this year. Not due to immediate need, but because the class can and will help immediately.
Immediate Impact on Offense
It's a common sentiment shared by Buff fans that if the 2014 offense had the 2015 defense, the Buffs would be bowling. The offense took a big step back last year, and no one could quite figure out why. Some point to Sefo's supposed regression, some (all) point to the red-zone play calling, and all wonder what could've been. It looks like the staff recognized the problem, and took instant action to repair it. The hire of Darrin Chiaverini as Co-OC has injected instant recruiting clout, and should transfer to a more wide open offense with easier reads for the QB. The arrival of Davis Webb should, at the very least, lead to a better quarterback competition, and at its best could give the Buffs a top 4 Pac-12 gunslinger. The emphasis on getting JUCO pass-catchers this cycle seems to indicate that Coach Chev wants to bring instant talent and size to the position, and the strategy seems to be working. Look for a brand new offense next year with new faces.
Leavitt Puts His Stamp on the Class
On the defensive side of the ball, the class of 2016 flies around and has good size. Just like Jim Leavitt wants. It's hard to look at the projected defensive players and not see his influence. In the defensive backfield, players like Trey Udoffia and Caron Baham have elite speed and above average size, showing his preference for aggressive DB's. The linebackers (Drew Lewis, Akil Jones, and Pookie Maka) all have big frames, great closing speed, and play downhill rather than side to side. There are not defensive linemen committed this class, but the one target remaining (Keanu Saleapaga) is a huge body who's all potential. Leavitt is putting his stamp on CU, and I could not be more excited. The players projected to be coming in are another level athletically.
Ralphie Report will have plenty more on Signing Day about this class and we will keeping up in the morning. This is the most exciting it's been in quite some time. We hope to see you all in the comment section, and if you have questions, don't forget to submit to the mailbag at email@example.com.