CU’s defense was dominant last year. We all knew that. The Buffs shut people down. As most of us know, the defensive backfield was the driving force of that immovable object. Opposing teams had a very tough time throwing against the Money Gang, and the group of seniors involved all showed up before they shipped out. Tedric Thompson, Chidobe Awuzie, and Ahkello Witherspoon played to their full potential as seniors, and now they are rewarded with combine invites. This is a big deal for the Buffs, as the four invited to the combine (including Sefo) represents the most in a while, but it is especially a big deal for the DB group. 3 of four invited were defensive backs. And they are proving the combine right.
#CU's Chidobe Awuzie goes 4.44 in the 40 at 202. He's a terrific prospect. Very smart. Good size and Buff coaches love his versatility.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) March 6, 2017
We knew Chidobe was a player, but I don’t know if anyone thought he would test this well. Fifth-fastest cornerback, 2nd best broad jump, and he excelled in drills as we thought. He always was a player, and now he’s proven to be a high-caliber NFL athlete as well. He’s going to make someone very happy in the 2nd round and he could start day 1 at Nickel.
THis is the performance that surprised me the most. 200 pounds?! Ahkello Witherspoon?! 4.45?! Ahkello Witherspoon?! I knew he was lanky, I knew he was lockdown, and I knew he could jump (40.5’ vertical), but he’s fast and he’s thick now? How do you not draft that? He was Coach MacIntyre’s project recruit two years ago, and through his hard work and effort, as well as the coaches’, he is shooting up draft boards.
He's in the slot here, but after 1 game I have a hard time imagining there are going to be 3 better safeties than Tedric Thompson. Player. pic.twitter.com/DTMqzDLsXc— KP (@KP_Show) December 14, 2016
And finally we get to Tedric Thompson, who destroyed the middle of the field this year. He had the worst testing numbers of the three, but the tape shows an NFL player with NFL athleticism. Some NFL team is going to get an absolute bargain when they draft him, and other NFL teams are going to look stupid for letting him drop because of testing numbers.
For all three prospects, the tape don’t lie, and all three helped themselves by going to the combine. Chidobe and Ahkello shot up draft boards, and all three interviewed well. This senior class of DB’s is historic for Colorado, who has had a long history of successful defensive backs in the NFL. Jimmy Smith has been holding the torch for quite a while, and now he’ll have backup in the pros.
But this is all indicative of a larger trend. Mike MacIntyre coached DB’s in the NFL for the Cowboys. He has a long successful track record with the backfield at all levels, and he’s proving that again at Colorado. This is not a flash in the pan. For as long as Coach MacIntyre will be at CU, there will be NFL-caliber defensive backs.
Alright, Jack. That’s a bold claim. Back it up. Well, first of all, stop talking to me in my own article. Second, it will prove itself, but to get your primed, here’s a few names. Let’s start with one that everyone should know. Isaiah Oliver. The superstar in waiting shined at times as a sophomore, but now he is stepping confidently in the vacuous hole in the secondary. Put him on a boundary, and he’ll shut that side down. He is the most physically impressive DB in Coach Mac’s tenure, I would argue, standing at 6’1, 190 pounds, and speed and agility to burn. Splitting time between spring football and track, he posted school and personal records in his decathlon events.
Oliver is an absolute freak athlete. Somehow, despite playing in a visible high school in Arizona, CU was his only P5 or Pac-12 offer. Now, he’s proving everyone wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes in the 1st round when he declares. And he’s not the only player. Afolabi Laguda is primed to have a huge senior year and his physical traits could equal a combine invite. Evan White is a giant, bad man. Nick Fisher is a fantastic and physical player. Dante Wigley, the JuCo transfer, has all the measurables and the attitude you want, as well as molding from Mike MacIntyre. This secondary is stacked to the rafters. There will be DBs in the combine with Colorado next to their name for years to come.