The Colorado Buffaloes officially released their 2017 depth chart today. There aren’t many surprises, but there are lots of previously asked questions that have now been answered.
First off, everything on offense looks just as expected. Steven Montez is at quarterback with Sam Noyer as his backup. Phillip Lindsay is at running back with four quality backs behind him, including senior Michael Adkins, who will be the last CU player to wear #19. Devin Ross, Shay Fields and Bryce Bobo are the three main receivers, though it is surprising (but not shocking) to see Jay MacIntyre fourth instead of Juwann Winfree. George Frazier is at tight end and the line has the exact same starters as it did last year.
Questions are answered in looking at the backups. Laviska Shenault and Johnny Huntley are listed third at their respective wide receiver positions, so it’s not hard to imagine that they will redshirt. K.D. Nixon, on the other hand, is second on the depth chart at his spot, and considering his special teams output, he’s going to see time as a true freshman. The offensive tackle depth chart shows that Isaac Miller is probably another year away and that the Buffs will let Jake Moretti develop on a redshirt.
There were always questions about who was starting, what each positional rotation would like, and who we can expect to see on the field in 2017. The defensive line is replacing all three starters — all in the NFL now :) — and they just lost Frank Umu to suspension. The depth chart reflects that they will lacking in experience and possibly depth as they start Leo Jackson and newcomers Javier Edwards and Chris Mulumba, plus Jase Franke, Lyle Tuiloma and George Frazier (and later Umu) in the rotation.
At linebacker, it isn’t surprising to see Rick Gamboa and Drew Lewis starting on the inside with Derek McCartney and Terran Hasselbach on the outside. The former to two will be backed up by Jonathan van Diest and Akil Jones; the latter will split time on the edge with Timothy Coleman and true freshman Dante Sparaco.
Back in the secondary, we now have the answer to the pressing questions at cornerback. Isaiah Oliver was always going to start on the outside, but now we know he’ll will joined by Trey Udoffia on the opposite side and Dante Wigley in the slot. Kevin George was in contention for Udoffia’s spot, but it seems the coaching staff has decided to redshirt him. At safety, there was no doubt that returning starters Ryan Moeller and Afolabi Laguda would reclaim their positions. They will be backed up primarily by Nick Fisher and Evan Worthington.
Finally on special teams, CU has officially shown that the starting kicker will be Australian James Stefanou, though Mike MacIntyre said in his press conference that that spot hasn’t been decided. Also, CU listed Alex Kinney at punter (no surprise), Lee Walker, Ronnie Blackmon and K.D. Nixon as kick returners (all expected), and Isaiah Oliver as punt returner (expected, but please Mac, don’t let him get injured as a returner).
This depth chart isn’t quite like the classic Michigan depth chart from a year ago, but it does answer many questions surrounding the team.