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Who Can Replace Juwann Winfree?

The junior receiver tore his ACL and now the Buffs have to look at who steps up.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

CU is in a strange position. Juwann Winfree has never played a snap for the Buffs, but when the news broke that he tore his ACL earlier this week, it was still a big blow to the team. His production, however theoretical it was, needs to be replaced. Winfree was slated to start in this offense, and given how fast CU wants to go, he was a good bet for a lot of stats this year. Now, Winfree will attack rehab like he attacked preparing for this season and come back stronger than ever next year. As we look at 2016, we have to look at who will step into that starting role.

Bryce Bobo

Bobo has been in a sort of purgatory for the last two years. He showed well as a redshirt freshman, producing flashes against Cal and UCLA while proving to be the most physically imposing presence on the outside. In his redshirt sophomore year, once again flashes showed, but nothing consistently came about. Some fans will say that his lack of consistent production may be due to lack of consistent snaps, and some others will argue that he needs to earn consistent time with consistent play. Either way, he's going to get more snaps by default now, and I think he'll make the most of these snaps. Winfree is a huge presence at 6'3 and over 200 pounds, and while Bobo can't exactly hit both of those measurables, he's more than big enough and brings the attitude needed. As an added bonus, Bobo is probably the best blocking receiver on the roster and would be a great option for a wide receiver screen. Say we scrape Devin Ross across the line of scrimmage towards the outside with Bobo blocking his man to the ground. Now Ross is 1-on-1 with his man and 5 yards of space. Those are the types of plays that this offense is made for and that Bobo can help spring.

As for his actual receiving skills, the clip above shows exactly what he's good at. Bobo excels as a possession receiver, working within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage. He finds a pocket, sits down, and then makes room for himself. After maxing the yards, he makes sure the defender feels him on his way down. Bobo rarely goes down with only one tackler. By all reports, he's having his best camp in four years, so it sounds like he is ready to rise to the occasion.

Kabion Ento

Ento is a fellow junior college transfer, but he and Winfree are completely different players. Winfree looks like a JuCo player: physically impressive and very polished. Ento almost looks like a skilled high school player. His physique needs a few more years in a college weight room, and he plays with athleticism and instinct over technique in his highlights. However, he has been doing well in practice and enrolling in spring has been invaluable towards Ento's progress. Kabion is definitely no slouch. He was slated to play before this injury occurred, though in a smaller role, but now he looks to step into a quasi-starting role.

Ento was initially brought in to make his biggest impact in the red zone. As a 6'3, lanky target, he already presents a challenge for DB's, and that's before he uses his state championship high jumping ability. Ento should be able to grab the ball at its highest point, even if the ball is thrown five feet over his head. However, it seems as if he's not a one trick pony. I was trying to find which highlight to show for this gif, but this one absolutely jumped out to me. He runs a great break and comes back for the screen, allowing him to get separation. The route was sold well, but he was helped with some off coverage. It seems as if the defensive back was really respecting his ability to go deep, which bodes well when he's near the end zone like in this play. After the jump off the line, he catches the screen. His long strides eat up yards, but the best part of the video is that he reaches another gear on his 3rd step. That is legitimate Pac-12 speed, and something that the Buffs could use this year. Ento is a monster athlete, and he showed well in a very tough Mississippi JuCo league (go watch Last Chance U on Netflix). Both he and Bobo will play often opposite Shay Fields and Devin Ross, and both should be serviceable.

The loss of Winfree hurts, but for the first time in ages, CU can lose a player and have options to replace him.