With the early signing period in the books and 2018 almost upon us it’s a good time to take an early peek at what the Colorado Buffaloes offense could look like in 2018. Who will replace tailback Phillip Lindsay? How will the Buffs overcome the loss of three (Bryce Bobo, Shay Fields and Devin Ross) talented wide receivers? And will any members of the Buffaloes highly touted 2017 recruiting class have an impact in the new year?
Below are my projected starters on offense for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2018.
Steven Montez, Junior
Montez finished his sophomore campaign throwing for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns. He’ll have some competition in the spring from junior Sam Noyer and redshirt freshman Tyler Lytle, but make no mistake, Montez will lead CU’s offense in 2018.
Alex Fontenot, RS-Freshman
Replacing Phillip Lindsay will not be easy. Senior Kyle Evans and Junior Beau Bisharat are among a number of players who will be competing for the job. In the end, I believe the redshirt-freshman from Richmond, Texas will come out on top. But don’t be surprised if the Buffs use a tailback-by-committee approach to start the season.
WIDE RECEIVER (X)
Tony Brown, RS-Junior
Brown played his high school ball at La Mirada H.S. in California under former Buffs quarterback Mike Moschetti, before being recruited by Darrin Chiaverini to play for Texas Tech. In two years with the Red Raiders, he recorded 27 receptions for 378 yards and a touchdown. After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, Brown should fit right in with the Buffs offense in 2018. Expect Laviska Shenault to challenge for this role and fight for heavy playing time.
WIDE RECEIVER (Z)
Juwann Winfree, Senior
Winfree all but locked up this receiver spot when he torched USC for 163 receiving yards and two touchdowns last month.
WIDE RECEIVER (H)
Kabion Ento, Senior
Almost went with K.D. Nixon in this spot, but Ento made a big impression on CU coaches last spring before redshirting in the fall. Expect the former junior college (East Central Community College, Decatur, MS) star to breakout in his last season with the Buffs.
WIDE RECEIVER (Y; WHEN IN FOUR-WIDE SET)
Jay MacIntyre, Senior
The sure-handed son of the Buffaloes head coach is the only returning starter at the wide receiver position in 2018. MacIntyre finished with 28 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns in 2017.
Jacob Moretti, RS-Freshman
The 6’4, 275-pound local product originally committed to Ohio State but chose to sign with the Buffs in February. Assuming he can stay healthy, expect Moretti to occupy the left tackle position for the Buffs for years to come.
Grant Polley, RS-Freshman
Like Moretti, Polley is another beast from the Class of 2017 who should start in 2018. The heavily recruited guard from Denton, Texas redshirted last season but the Buffs won’t be able to keep him off the field in the fall.
Tim Lynott, Junior
Started the first 10 games last season (six at right guard, four at center) before suffering a torn Achilles tendon against Arizona State. Should be ready to anchor the Buffs offensive line in the fall.
Aaron Haigler, Junior
The versatile lineman from Northridge, Calif. saw plenty of time at right guard, right tackle and left guard last season. I’m projecting him to lock down the right guard spot for his junior season.
Josh Kaiser, Senior
The recipient of the Joe Romig (Most Improved Offensive Lineman) Award last spring, the 6’5, 300-pound senior will be challenged by junior Isaac Miller for the right tackle position. Expect Kaiser to get the nod however.
TIGHT END / H-BACK / FULLBACK
Chris Bounds, Junior
Bounds caught seven passes for 102 yards last season, including two touchdown receptions in week six against Arizona. He should lock down the tight end position in the fall assuming sophomore Jared Poplawski (played in five of the first six games last season) doesn’t unseat him.