Well, it's that time of year again, folks. The time where I can start talking about the season ahead in concrete terms instead of hypotheticals and recruiting. I'm sure I'm more excited to write it than you are to read it. Last year, around this time, I released a similar article, and I was pretty accurate. Stephane Nembot and D.D. Goodson both had their best years here at CU, and Michael Adkins flashed at times and disappeared (or was injured) at others. Nembot and Adkins are still on the roster, and Goodson graduated from CU this May. The big one that I missed was Tyler McCulloch, but not a lot of people saw his big year coming. For this year's iteration, there's going to be less experience and more freshmen, as I've decided to combine this post with the "breakout freshmen" article from last year. Here we go!
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well, you won't, because I put Keeney on this list. Either he or Justin Jan seem in prime position to take McCulloch's role as a stretch TE in this offense. Keeney gets the nod because he has an extra year on Jan, though he has been injured for a while. One of the better athletes on the team, Keeney has a huge frame at 6'6 and is faster than the Buff fans are used to seeing at the TE position. His senior tape shows someone who can be a monster in the red zone and down the middle, with some nice speed for his size and a really good ability to high point the ball. He most definitely needed to get stronger last year, as Coach Mac said on multiple occasions, and the shoulder surgery he had did not help him in the weight room. However, he should be full speed going into fall camp, and another year of maturity surely doesn't hurt. Look for Keeney to have around 25-40 catches (right around where Gucci Ty was last year), with more than 10 per catch and 4-6 touchdowns. Those may be high expectations for someone who has yet to see the field in college, but Keeney is a special athlete who fills a role perfectly. That usually leads to some pretty good production.
CU writers are going to need to find a nickname for Carr soon, because he's certainly going to earn one by the end of his career. He essentially fell into the Buffs' lap last recruiting cycle because Arkansas was dumb enough to drop him off their radar and Troy Walters was smart enough to keep up contact. Boy, are CU fans glad he landed in Boulder. If you want to feel good about the next four years, watch this:
Carr is straight electricity on the field. He's fast, but he's not just 40-yard-dash fast. He's fast in and out of his cuts, through tackles, and coming off the line of scrimmage. There's a reason he was so highly rated coming out of high school. Given his film and his competition level in high school (Texas 6A), many fans are expecting him to contribute early, including myself. I would expect Patrick to be the 3rd or 4th back in the rotation this year, with the potential for 400 yards and a few long touchdowns. By all accounts, he's physically ready, and he seems to take care of it in the classroom as well. This also affords Coach Mac the luxury of redshirting Donald Gordon, the other high school running back the Buffs signed. He was a close call academically-speaking, so giving him a year to settle in to college my be the best move. However, as is usually the case with Carr, he is ready to hit the ground running.
This selection comes straight from the D.D. Goodson mold. Both are lightning bugs that move around the field on offense, and both would have been national recruits if they were blessed with a few more inches. Donovan has a few inches on Goodson, and he may not be as fast, but he just as shifty, if not more so. Lee appeared a few times on the field for the Buffs last year, but given how scarce it was, the defense basically knew he was getting the ball and keyed on him. His few reverses last year would have worked much better if he was on the field more often. This year looks like his chance. Much like Keeney, he's helping to fill a role vacated by a departing senior, and his play time looks to jump this year. You may say, "Jack, that's lame, Keeney and Lee are the safest candidates to have a bigger se ason next year", to which I would say "... stop calling this number." They're the safest bets, but with this young team, there's really very few minutes and catches up to debate. Devin Ross is another candidate for receiver, but Lee is a better position to succeed in this offense. Anyways, back to the player. CU as a team has had very few plus athletes in recent years, and Lee is another step to upgrading the team athleticism. He's a smooth runner with great body control and some nice burst. His tape shows some domination in a pretty good California league, and one would expect that his transition from Chaminade to PAC-12 play is pretty smooth. He is probably going to get around 20 or 30 catches, around 400 yards, and I don't expect very many touchdowns, but he should definitely keep the defense honest.
Those are my three picks for some fresh faces on offense, but let me know who you guys think is going to break out this year and who is going to have the biggest year out of these three.