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Colorado Buffaloes Signing Day: Defense recruits to watch

The staff looks at which stoppers are their favorites.

NCAA Football: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

This team is losing eight starters on defense, as well as replacing three coaches. Safe to say that there is a lot of change on that side of the ball. Enter a new class of ballers for CU. There are some JuCo signings, some local products, and some very large men. Here are some that each staff member has singled out as special.

Jack Barsch

Dante Wigley

This player comes right out of the Coach MacIntyre defensive back playbook. Wigley, who originally signed with Georgia Tech out of high school, is physical and long, and he will play right away in Boulder. He excels in run support, crushing blocks and tackling well in the open field. He also plays great in press man coverage, something that MacIntyre loves to do with his defensive backs. Simply put, Wigley fits perfectly in Boulder and he should shore up this secondary.

Chris Mulumba

This is one of the must fun players signed in this class. Already on campus like Wigley, Mulumba is an interesting case. He is older than your normal college sophomore, at 24. He is more violent than your normal college sophomore, as a black belt in judo. And he is bigger than your normal college sophomore, as a 6’4, 280 pound man. Mulumba is a beast, simply put. Relatively new to the game, Chris will have time to grow into the game, and when CU unleashes him on the field, he will wreak havoc.

Jacob Callier

Ah, finally we get to a prep superstar from California. In a powerhouse league no less. I can talk to you about Callier’s relentless pass-rushing ability or his motor, but I’ll just put this tweet here that should tell you all you need to know about his ability. Mind you, the Trinity League is arguably the toughest high school league in the country.


Jon Woods

Chris Miller

This one came down to the wire but the Buffaloes were able to hold off Baylor, Oregon and Ole Miss to hang on to the Denton, Texas defensive back. Miller’s offer list should tell you all you need to know, with Houston, Iowa, Missouri and Notre Dame, among others, also throwing their hats in the mix. Miller played both ways at Denton (wide receiver on offense) and was always assigned to the opposing teams star receiver at cornerback. Miller will be asked to help carry on the legacy of the #MoneyGang.

Dante Sparaco

Sparaco is a Colorado kid who spent his senior season at the IMG Academy in Florida going up against some of the best high school competition in the country everyday. I love that the defensive end took the step to play against the best and accelerate his development heading in to Boulder.

Jalen Sami

Sami was a late pickup for the Buffaloes, coming in just before signing day from Vista Ridge in Colorado Springs. The big defensive tackle was extremely under the radar at the newer high school but made up for it during his senior season. The Buffaloes staff was on him early and held off a push from Ole Miss.

Anthony Kazmierczak

Jonathan Van Diest

Let’s be honest, the State of Colorado isn’t exactly what you’d call a recruiting ‘hot bed.’ Don’t tell that to former Cherry Creek linebacker Jon Van Diest. Before breaking his arm late in his senior season, the 6-1, 234-lb Van Diest managed 74 total tackles and 6 ½ sacks for Cherry Creek. He should fit in nicely in the Buffs front 7 and maybe help fill the loss of sack leader Jimmie Gilbert.

Jalen Sami

How 6-5, 330-lb Jalen Sami wasn’t recruited more heavily might be one of the great mysteries of this recruiting period. The defensive tackle from Vista Ridge High School (CO) only received offers from Ole Miss, Northern Colorado, CSU-Pueblo and the Buffs.

Sami, who committed to Colorado on Monday, is a beast who finished with 55 ½ tackles and 4 ½ sacks in his senior season (stats per When it’s all said and done, Sami might be the biggest steal of this 2017 Recruiting Class.

Chris Miller

With Chidobe Awuzie, Tedric Thompson and Ahkello Withserspoon departed, the Buffs secondary could take a major hit in 2017. Chris Miller, a 5-11 173-lb cornerback out of Denton, Texas should help fill that void. Per an ESPN scouting report on Miller: “Brings great range and closing speed to the secondary. Provides favorable one-on-one matchups with his leaping ability, athleticism, and ball skills.” Despite a late January visit to Ole Miss, Miller chose to remain with the Buffs.

Matt Reynolds

Dante Sparaco

The Colorado native was the first recruit to actually commit to Colorado, but he is still a player that CU fans should feel ecstatic about. He was able to play his senior season at IMG Academy (one of the top high schools in the nation), and he even started there. He projects to most likely be a 3-4 defensive end and he definitely has the frame to do so. Sparaco brings great pass rush ability to this defense and is an all-around solid player. Sparaco has a chance to play on defense from day one and he projects as a fantastic player in the future.

Chris Miller

There’s a reason that schools like Notre Dame, Texas, and Ole Miss were chasing Miller late in the recruiting process and it’s because he is an unreal athlete. Look no further than his Twitter page where he throws down 360-degree dunk with ease at only 5’11’’. He was a supremely talented wide receiver and corner in high school, but he will play defense for Colorado. With his elite speed, the sky is the limit for him; and he truly has a chance to be a special cover corner for the Buffs in the years to come.

Jon Van Diest

I have a feeling the nickname Van Beast will catch on very quickly for Colorado fans. His playstyle lives up to the name too, as he is an absolute mauler on the football field. He is pretty quick player, has a great motor, a phenomenal nose for the football, and is a very sure tackler. An arm injury was the only thing that prevented him from playing in the All-American game. There is no denying that this kid is thrilled to be a Buff. He should spend time mostly at inside linebacker, but will likely get some time outside as well. Van Diest will be a fun player to watch, and I predict that he will be a fan favorite here in Boulder as well.