Throughout the offseason, few Colorado players have received as much praise as cornerback Trey Udoffia.
While he has yet to play a college game, the redshirt freshman continues to impress teammates and coaches and he has risen to the top of the depth chart, which CU released on Tuesday.
Udoffia is slated to start for the Buffaloes on Sept. 1 when they take on Colorado State in the season opener.
“Right now, Trey Udoffia has probably solidified himself as a No.1,” secondary coach ShaDon Brown said.
Named CU’s most improved defensive back in the spring, Udoffia has continued to shine throughout preseason camp.
Udoffia can’t rest easy, however. The Buffs also like how junior college transfer Dante Wigley and redshirt freshmen Ronnie Blackmon and Derrion Rakestraw have performed.
“(The depth chart) very fluid based on how they perform,” Brown said. “We’re going to play more than one guy at that spot.”
Junior Isaiah Oliver isn’t likely to get much rest, however. Oliver has the potential to be a star and will play full-time at one cornerback spot.
“He can play against anybody and he realizes now he’ll be out there basically every snap this year,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said.
Outside of Oliver, walk-on Andrew Bergner is the only corner on the roster who has played in a Division I game. Because of that, Brown said the first three games of the season will be critical for the corners.
“We’re going to have to find some depth and find it through reps in the game and not just playing out here in practice,” he said. “All those guys are going to get a chance in the ball games.”
In addition to earning a starting spot, Udoffia got a new jersey number Tuesday – much to his surprise. The Buffs announced that Udoffia will wear No. 8 instead of No. 5, which he’s worn since coming to CU.
“News for me too!” Udoffia said on Twitter after reading about the uniform change.
With senior defensive lineman/tight end George Frazier already wearing No. 5, the Buffs had to make a change to Udoffia’s number. He takes the No. 8 that has been previously worn by cornerback Anthony Julmisse, who is suspended after being arrested twice in the past month.
Freshmen making mark
CU’s depth chart included eight true freshmen in the two-deep, including 30-year-old James Stefanou, who is currently slotted as the top kicker.
Seven others are listed as the top backup at their positions, including receiver K.D. Nixon, center Colby Pursell, right guard William Sherman, outside linebackers Dante Sparaco and Jacob Callier and inside linebacker Jonathan Van Diest. Linebacker Nate Landman is listed as the No. 2 long snapper.
Last year, just four true freshmen played for the Buffs.
In addition the true freshmen, three redshirt freshmen are listed as top backups: quarterback Sam Noyer, inside linebacker Akil Jones and cornerback/kick returner Ronnie Blackmon.
While Stefanou is listed atop the depth chart, MacIntyre reiterated on Tuesday that “it’s still fluid” and that the kickers continue to compete. Senior Chris Graham and sophomore Davis Price are also competing for field goal and kickoff duties.
CU continues to have two open scholarships and MacIntyre said it has yet to be determined how he’ll use those. One spot was vacated when linebacker N.J. Falo was dismissed from the team in the summer. The second was vacated when freshman tight end Sebastian Olver left the team after one practice and went back home to Australia. As of Tuesday afternoon, MacIntyre said he still does not know if the Buffs can fill Olver’s scholarship. … Junior college transfer Kevin George was not among the seven cornerbacks listed on the depth chart, mainly because he arrived midway through camp and is behind others. MacIntyre said George has looked good in practices, but said, “If we stay healthy in the secondary, we’ll probably redshirt him.” … Asked if 350-pound nose tackle Javier Edwards might be used in some packages on offense this year, MacIntyre laughed and said, “No, you won’t see him on that at all.” … Junior safety Jaisen Sanchez is out for the season with a chronic shoulder injury. He missed all of the 2016 season with a knee injury. … CU is encouraging its fans to wear black for the Sept. 1 season opener against Colorado State.