The Colorado Buffaloes experienced their first early signing day period this week and it yielded what is a top 40 recruiting class for 2018. Nineteen recruits from six states make up the list with surprises from two defensive tackles in the past 24 hours. After receiving the news yesterday that Israel Antwine from Millwood HS (Oklahoma City, OK) would be flipping from Oklahoma State to Colorado, the Buffaloes learned the next day that had earned the signature of Modesto J.C. product Mustafa Johnson.
The Buffs continued to address needs at key positions on defense, adding 11 players for defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot (seven HS, four JUCO). Davion Taylor, a top-rated linebacker, from Coahoma C.C. (Clarksdale, MS) leads the incoming class of recruits coming to Boulder. The 6’4”, 225-pound physical talent finished the year with a total of 87 tackles (eight for loss), three pass deflections and one interception. Taylor turned down several offers from SEC schools including Ole Miss, Missouri, and Arkansas to come to Colorado. Taylor is ready to face the high-flying offenses of the Pac-12.
“My expectation is to becomes the face of the defense at the hybrid (Buff backer) position and become one of the top linebackers not only in the Pac-12, but the nation,” Taylor said. “It’s a big step, I know, but I feel I’m ready to start a new journey and make my name at Colorado.”
With Isaiah Oliver exiting early for the NFL, CU took care of another immediate need with cornerback Delrick Abrams from Independence C.C. (Angie, LA). The 6’4”, 200-pound all-around defensive back gathered up 61 total tackles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups over the past two seasons at Independence. Similar to Taylor, Abrams received offers from numerous schools in ‘Power 5’ conferences that included UCLA, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and West Virginia. Both defensive prospects made ESPN’s JC 50 list this season and are expected to enroll at CU prior to the spring semester.
The newer coaches on the stavf took the reins to build the rest of the defensive class. Assistants Ross Els and ShaDon Brown along with Eliot signed Pima C.C. (North Augusta, SC) safety Aaron Maddox, Aquinas HS (San Bernardino, CA) defensive end Joshka Gustav, Corona Del Mar HS (Newport Beach, CA) linebacker Clyde Moore, and Buhach HS (Atwater, CA) dynamic two-way safety & receiver Lavon Wallace.
“I’m just ready to start the next chapter of my life and help my family out and make my mom proud,” Wallace said. “The advantages I think I have with knowing how to play receiver and DB is being able to read the defense well and picking players apart and being able to dominate whether it’s on offense or defense or special teams. And I’m just ready to play and be apart of the money gang.”
Colorado’s focus on offense kept a heavy emphasis on the air-raid style. Four wide receivers, all from different state, will join the current weapons on the roster to give quarterback Steven Montez more options. Four-star Dylan Thomas from Cathedral HS (Los Angeles, CA) is the second highest rated recruit for the Buffs. He posted 700 yards and eight touchdowns this year and helped Cathedral reach the CIF Southern Section Division II playoff quarterfinals with a 10-2 record. The Buffs received a high school commitment from Washington for just the fifth time in 20 years, with Henry M. Jackson HS (Mill Creek, WA) two-way receiver & defensive back Daniel Arias. He received first-team honors on offense this year with 43 receptions for 843 yards and eight touchdowns, along with second-team honors on defense.
Offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini continued his strong work in Texas by getting another receiver from Dallas. Jarek Broussard from Bishop Lynch HS (Dallas, TX), becomes the fourth receiver from the area to join the team along with four-star talents K.D. Nixon, Laviska Shenault and Jaylon Jackson.
“The most exciting thing about coming to Boulder is knowing I have an opportunity to make an immediate impact as well as the great relationships I have with coaches, players, and incoming players,” Broussard said. “I envision my role as a do-it-all type of player that will try and help the team anyway I can, whether it’s making plays on offense or special teams.”
Dimitri Stanley is one of three in-state players to stay home for the Buffs. The product of Cherry Creek HS (Englewood, CO) received a last minute offer from Washington, but didn’t alter his original commitment. He’s a legacy recruit for CU, with Dimitri’s father, Walter, playing as a wing back in the early 1980’s. As the top-rated athlete in the state, Stanley becomes continues CU’s streak of recruiting Colorado’s best for a fourth consecutive year. Stanley joins highly touted Valor Christian HS (Highlands Ranch, CO) quarterback Blake Stenstrom and Highlands Ranch HS (Highlands Ranch, CO) safety Ray Robinson.
Chiaverini continues to prove why he’s one of the nation’s best recruiters. A total of eight incoming players were, in part, due to Chiaverini’s efforts including Second Baptist HS (Houston, TX) running back Deion Smith, Desoto HS (Desoto, TX) offensive lineman Josh Jynes and powerful Los Angeles Harbor College (Wilmington, CA) tight end Darrion Jones.
“Coach Chev is real and he recognized talent,” Broussard said. “He didn’t hold off or beat around the bush. He came to my school, saw my film and pulled the trigger.”
Assistants Klayton Adams and Jim Jeffcoat were also working behind-the-scenes for Burbank HS (Burbank, CA) defensive end Tava Finau and Clear Lake HS (Houston, TX) offensive lineman Frank Fillip.
Colorado’s 2018 football recruiting class is currently 38th on Rivals.com 41st on ESPN’s rankings and 43rd on 24/7 Sports. Twenty players from ESPN’s top 300 and JC 50 that received offers from CU have yet to commit.