One thing I will always appreciate about Coach MacIntyre is how clearly everything is planned. We may not like the timing or the execution, but he knows exactly what he wants to do. This is apparent in staff makeup, gameday planning, and even the operations of the Champion’s Center. But the place where its most apparent is the roster. He knows what he wants.
The 2017 class had pure speed. Athleticism abounded, and that manifested in a lot of guys who could flat out fly. KD Nixon, Chris Miller, Chase Newman, Jon Van Diest, all speed demons for their position. It was a huge upgrade for a team that needed to get a little faster. There was a clear goal in mind.
Now, with the 2018 class, a different goal is set. Not saying that they aren’t fast, or big, or athletic. This incoming group of Buffs is all those things. But the main thing they are is physical. MacIntyre is addressing what he believes are deficiencies in the team. That’s just how recruiting is. When you only have 85 scholarship spots, you can only fill with necessities, not luxuries. So he saw a team that needed to get tougher and made a plan. I think it will pay out.
Let’s look at the structure first. CU is set to sign six junior college prospects out of 20, which is the largest ratio they’ve had in quite some times. Now, these players can all help immediately, which is partly why they are coming to Boulder, but they also bring a certain mentality. Physically, they are already developed, and mentally, they will come into the Pac-12 with chips on their shoulder. They are ready to prove themselves. Aaron Maddox was underrecruited out of high school. Delrick Abrams took a while to get noticed due to his rural high school playing days. That extra mental edge was sought out and achieved in this class.
Now, having a class full of JuCo players can be trouble, because that means the holes in the roster will be filled immediately, but they also depart earlier, meaning those holes in the roster need immediate reinforcements, and the cycle continues. Kansas State is a team made of JuCo players, which works for most years, but when the roster doesn’t gel it falls apart. Luckily, CU is balancing the class with some high school players.
The toughness doesn’t end with the junior college players. The high school athletes were also recruited with a certain goal in mind. The Buffs want to out-physical other teams at every position. Daniel Arias is a huge WR that pushes well off the ball. Ray Robinson lays the boom, as does Davion Taylor. Joshka Gustav and Tava Finau are huge athletes along the line that move the pile. Clyde Moore at middle linebacker is a physical force in the middle of the field. The list goes on. The players targeted are athletic, sure, and the skill position players have a great amount of speed, but the main theme with the players is the physicality. They hit more than are hit, and they run through people rather than run around them.
Coach MacIntyre has a clear plan with this group, just like last year and the year before. He knows what he needs to bring, and now that he’s past the point of filling the roster, he can fine-tune the roster to what he needs. The speed on the team keeps getting better, but this year was all about bringing the hurt, laying the wood, pushing the pile. It’s time to get physical