During the process of interviewing for and accepting the job as Colorado's defensive line coach, Jimmy Brumbaugh got excited with his initial evaluation of the roster.

"I wanted to see what we had," he said. "It really helps you know what guys you need to go after (in recruiting).

"There's some depth here, there's some guys here that are really good football players. I'll get into more watching them and evaluating in winter workouts and spring ball, but I know there are some players here that have had some success."

Although the 2018 season didn't go as planned for the Buffaloes (5-7, 2-7 Pac-12), the defensive line was a strength, and it's a position that Brumbaugh hopes to make even better in 2019.

Hired last week after spending the last two seasons as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Maryland, Brumbaugh will have plenty of returning talent to work with, and he's already made an impact in recruiting depth to the defensive front.

Here's what Brumbaugh will have to work with in 2019:

Returners (with 2019 class):

Israel Antwine, So.: Just a true freshman this season, the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder started 11 games and often took on multiple blockers to assist in run defense. He finished with 16 tackles and nine quarterback pressures.


Mustafa Johnson, Jr.: As a sophomore this year, the 6-2, 290-pound junior college transfer was CU's best defensive lineman, and one of the best in the Pac-12. He racked up 73 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and 16 quarterback pressures.

Terrance Lang, So.: A 6-7, 275-pound redshirt freshman this season, he had 11 tackles, six pressures and three pass breakups. He got better as the year went along and his impact was greater than his numbers suggest.

Colorado’s Mustafa Johnson is just one of several returning defensive linemen that new assistant coach Jimmy Brumbaugh will be tasked with grooming.
Colorado's Mustafa Johnson is just one of several returning defensive linemen that new assistant coach Jimmy Brumbaugh will be tasked with grooming. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Lyle Tuiloma, Sr.: A backup nose tackle at 6-3, 310, Tuiloma had 11 tackles and two third-down stops. He's been a valuable member of the rotation for the past couple of seasons.


Jeremiah Doss, So.: A junior college transfer signed last week, the 6-4, 260-pounder was recruited to CU by Brumbaugh. He recorded 53 tackles, six sacks and 13 tackles for loss this year at Hinds (Miss.) Community College.

Tava Finau, Fr.: Redshirted this year, and at 6-3, 260, has the athleticism to work his way into the rotation next year.

Janaz Jordan, So.: Another Hinds product recruited by Brumbaugh, the 6-4, 305-pounder has been limited by injuries and is still learning the position. CU coaches love the potential, though.

Na'im Rodman, Fr.: A three-star prospect who will be a true freshman next year, he played for one of the nation's top teams, St. John Bosco in California. He had 59 tackles, including 13 for loss.

Jalen Sami, Fr.: A knee injury sidelined the 6-6, 320-pound nose tackle for his true freshman season. Earlier this month, former CU defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said Sami "is an NFL player, no doubt." Asked if he thought Sami could be as good in 2019 as Javier Edwards was this year, Eliot said, "Yeah, he could be."

Austin Williams, Fr.: One of the biggest freshmen to come into CU, the 6-3, 320-pounder was an all-region player in Georgia and a three-star prospect.

The common theme among this group is size. The Buffs might have the biggest group of defensive linemen they've had in years, and that's exactly what Brumbaugh wants.

"In the trenches, when you play, you have to have girth," he said.

Brumbaugh knows a little something about what it takes to succeed in the trenches in major college football. As a player, Brumbaugh started 44 of his 48 games at Auburn and earned first-team all-SEC honors in 1997. He also spent two years as a strength and conditioning coach at LSU and will be entering his 11th season coaching the defensive line at the FBS level.

While he hasn't worked with new CU head coach Mel Tucker yet, he said he's excited for the opportunity in front of him.

"I know this scheme, so that's going to help me," he said. "Since I know this scheme, it's going to help me really just focus on my guys. I'm excited to have that opportunity.

"You've got the ability to be able to build a good football team here. You've got amenities and you've got everything you need to be successful, so that's what I'm excited about."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.