After the whirlwind that was Signing Day, we here at Ralphie Report would like to reflect on the class and highlight some of the key signees. Who could make an immediate impact, who could turn into a real gem, and who do we just like to watch play football? Well, find out below.
Now, the easy and correct answer is Davis Webb, there's not too much debate. So I'm going to let someone else say that. I'm going to say that Drew Lewis will have a monster impact on this team, in the 2016 season and beyond. While Webb has one year to work his wonders, Lewis can get on the field for the Buffs for three years, and he should be penciled in as a starter for all three. He has a great frame, at 6'2 and 230, a ferocity that only fits a linebacker, and great instincts. Last year, CU started three different freshmen at inside linebacker. Not this year, especially with the wrecking ball named Drew Lewis coming in.
I'm a huge fan of Derrion Rakestraw at WR. Multi-sport athlete, crazy long jumper, and 6'3 to boot. He has never focused on just playing football, meaning he has never really tried to pack on weight, and he snatches the ball out of the air. Just a two-star on Rivals, he's going to need a redshirt year (which is fine, given the other WR additions this class), but give him two years to put on weight, and he'll catch everything around him and get every jump ball. Sounds like a good deal to me.
This was a tough one, as there are plenty of options here. I'm going to have to go with Johnny Huntley. As a football player, Huntley is athletic, strong, and big-bodied, capable of out-running and out-gunning the defensive backs. I know I sound like a commercial, but just wait until you see him in a CU uniform. You'll fall in love, too. More than that, he is a great ambassador for the program, sticking up for the Buffs on Twitter and welcoming all the new members of the Buff family. He will represent the pride and tradition of the Colorado Buffaloes well, on the field and off.
★ ★ ★
I'm going to go with the obvious one here and say Davis Webb, at least for the 2016 season. Webb only has one year of eligibility, so over the course of a career it's likely one of the high school recruits will top what he provides. However, with Sefo Luifau out until at least fall camp, and most likely even longer, Webb has a fantastic chance to come in and win the starting job. Assuming he stays upright, it's likely that he will have the biggest effect on where this team goes in 2016.
Keep your eye on Terriek Roberts. The Denver South product is 6'6 and 255 and played on both sides of the ball for the Rebels. With a year or two to fill out that frame, Roberts will be a force whether he ends up on the offensive line or at defensive end.
This is a tough one, but I have to go with Anthony Julmisse. The Florida product is smaller than some of the other players brought in in this class, but is fantastic at making defenders miss and still has the ability to run through a tackle. He excelled on kickoff and punt returns in high school, and he should be able to make an impact on special teams right away for the Buffaloes. Julmisse will most likely end up on the offensive side of the ball for Colorado and may step in at slot receiver. Regardless of where he plays, he finds a way to impact the game.
★ ★ ★
Since Jack and Cam beat me to the punch, I'll go with the next most obvious option. Juwann Winfree is going to start opposite Shay Fields and he's going to force opposing secondaries to make a very hard decision. Key on Winfree and you're vulnerable to be beaten deep by the speedy Fields, help over the top on Shay and it's a good bet Juwann will have slipped the coverage and found his way to open grass underneath. The Buffs' late steal is polished and experienced, and has all the tools to become a big time collegiate receiver. If the Buffs are more successful offensively in 2016, it's likely that Winfree will have played a starring role.
I'm not sure how much of a sleeper he still is after all of the affection he received from the CU Internet on Signing Day but Trey Udoffia has a great shot at making a significant impact on the Colorado secondary during his time in Boulder. Originally scouted as an offensive talent, Udoffia switched over to defense and found himself to be adept at locking down receivers. The kid is an athlete and the bet here is that he'll retain those soft hands and sharp ball skills to help contribute in the return game as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see him play a large role in Leavitt's plans as early as next season, and he could very well see the field this fall.
Since we've already spoken about Julmisse (who is truthfully my favorite player in this class) I'll go with Pookie Maka, the defensive terror out of Utah. Aside from immediately joining the All-Name pantheon at CU, Pookie could make an impact early in his Colorado career. Watching his tape, I got the feeling that he could become the Buffaloes' version of Von Miller. He's quick off the snap, tenacious, and finds his way home with ferocity. Given time to develop under Jim Leavitt, whom he very clearly loves, Maka could emerge as the consistent pass-rushing force at the outside linebacker position that Colorado's defense has been sorely missing since joining the Pac-12. If Leavitt's track record is any indication, Pookie could become a star in a short amount of time.