Overview of CU Buffs football projected roster

Mel Tucker’s squad close to being set for season

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez is heading into his third season as a starter.
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

With preseason camp less than two months away, the Colorado football roster is pretty much set for the upcoming season.

Since the end of spring practices in April, there have been a few additions and departures. There could always be more between now and fall camp. But, as the Buffaloes head into summer, here’s a look at the projected roster for the fall and Mel Tucker’s first season as CU’s head coach.

Quarterbacks

Scholarship (4): Steven Montez, Sr.: Sam Noyer, Jr.; Tyler Lytle, So.; Blake Stenstrom R-Fr.

Walk-ons (1): Josh Goldin, Jr.; Grant Ciccarone, Fr.

Outlook: Montez is going into his third year as the starter, while Noyer and Lytle both have limited game experience. For now, this group is in good shape.

Running backs

Scholarship (5): Alex Fontenot, So.; Jarek Broussard, R-Fr.; Deion Smith, R-Fr.; Joe Davis, Fr.; Jaren Mangham, Fr.

Walk-ons (1): Chase Sanders, Jr.

Outlook: Fontenot (11 carries, 43 yards) and Sanders (4 carries, 8 yards) are the only backs to have carried the ball in a game, so there’s virtually no experience. The coaching staff likes the talent level here, however.

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado”s Isaiah Lewis, left, makes a tackle on Alex Fontenot during the spring game.

Receivers

Scholarship (11): Tony Brown, Sr.; KD Nixon, Jr.; Laviska Shenault, Jr.; Daniel Arias, So.; Maurice Bell, So.; Jaylon Jackson, So.; Dimitri Stanley, R-Fr.; Dylan Thomas, R-Fr.; Braedin Huffman-Dixon, Fr.; Tarik Luckett, Fr.; La’Vontae Shenault, Fr.

Walk-ons (4): Curtis Chiaverini, So.; Clayton Baca, R-Fr.; Jake Groth, R-Fr.; Alexander Smith, R-Fr.

Outlook: One of the deepest and most talented receiving groups in the Pac-12, the Buffs should be at full strength when fall camp hits. A healthy Laviska Shenault makes this group very dangerous.

Tight ends

Scholarship (5): Beau Bisharat, Sr.; Jalen Harris, Sr.; Darrion Jones, Sr.; Jared Poplawski, So.; Brady Russell, So.

Walk-ons (3): Derek Coleman, Jr.; Legend Brumbaugh, So.; C.J. Schmanski, Fr.

Outlook: Harris, a graduate transfer from Auburn, brings needed experience to a group that will be depended on more than in the past. The group has much to prove, but it’s a solid crew going into the year.

Offensive line

Scholarship (19): Arlington Hambright, Sr.; Tim Lynott Jr., Sr.: Brett Tonz, Sr.; Kary Kutsch, Jr.; Va’atofu Sauvao, Jr.; Hunter Vaughn, Jr.; Frank Fillip, So.; Chance Lytle, So.; Jake Moretti, So.; Heston Paige, So.; Colby Pursell, So.; William Sherman, So.; Josh Jynes, R-Fr.; Kanan Ray, R-Fr.; Casey Roddick, R-Fr.; Austin Johnson, Fr.; Nikko Pohahau, Fr.; Valentin Senn, Fr.; Jake Wiley, Fr.

Walk-ons (2): Jack Shutack, Sr.; John Deitchman, R-Fr.

Outlook: There will be plenty of competition in the fall, but this could be a good group with the addition of Hambright, a grad transfer from Oklahoma State. Lynott, Tonz, Fillip, Moretti, Pursell and Sherman all have game experience and there’s good young talent.

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Jake Moretti

Defensive line

Scholarship (9): Mustafa Johnson, Jr.; Jeremiah Doss, So.; Janaz Jordan, So.; Terrance Lang, So.; Jalen Sami, R-Fr.; Lloyd Murray Jr., Fr.; Na’im Rodman, Fr.; Jayden Simon, Fr.; Austin Williams, Fr.

Walk-ons (3): Dante Sparaco, Jr.; Nico Magri, So.; Ben Martinez, R-Fr.

Outlook: Johnson is one of the best in the Pac-12, while Lang and Sami could get there. Depth is a concern, though. There’s very little experience up front and the Buffs could be relying on multiple true freshmen.

Outside linebackers

Scholarship (8): Nu’umotu Falo, Sr.; Davion Taylor, Sr.; Alex Tchangam, Sr.; Jamar Montgomery, Jr.; Jacob Callier, So.; Carson Wells, So.; Joshka Gustav, Fr.; Alec Pell, Fr.

Walk-ons: None

Outlook: Taylor is one of the best players on defense and is expected to start at Star (OLB/DB hybrid. Wells might be the best of the true outside backers, but the Buffs will need several others to step up this fall.

Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Davion Taylor

Inside linebackers

Scholarship (8): Jash Allen, Jr.; Akil Jones, Jr.; Nate Landman, Jr.; Quinn Perry, Jr.; Chase Newman, So.; Jonathan Van Diest, So.; Ray Robinson, R-Fr.; Marvin Ham II, Fr.

Walk-ons (3): Colby Keiter, So.; Devin Lynch, So.; Santino Marchiol, R-Fr.

Outlook: Landman is one of the Pac-12’s best, and Van Diest had a good spring as he looks to win a starting job. Allen and Perry coming in as junior college transfers will ramp up the competition, though, as will Jones.

Cornerbacks

Scholarship (6): Delrick Abrams Jr., Sr.; Mekhi Blackmon, Jr.; Ronnie Blackmon, Jr.; Chris Miller, So.; D.J. Oats, Fr.; K.J. Trujillo, Fr.

Walk-ons (1): Uryan Hudson, Jr.

Outlook: Abrams and a healthy Miller (who missed spring with injury) could be a solid starting duo, while Mekhi Blackmon had a good spring. There’s not a lot of game experience or depth at this position, however, meaning Oats and Trujillo could be needed.

Safeties

Scholarship (7): Mikial Onu, Sr.; Aaron Maddox, Jr.; Derrion Rakestraw, Jr.; Trey Udoffia, Jr.; Isaiah Lewis, So.; Trustin Oliver, Fr.; Mark Perry, Fr.

Walk-ons (4): Lucas Cooper, Sr.; Curtis Appleton, So.; Ryan Travis, So.; Dustin Johnson R-Fr.

Outlook: Another spot with very little depth and experience, but the Buffs got better this week with the addition of Onu, a grad transfer from SMU who played 36 games (20 starts) over the last three years. Maddox, Rakestraw, Udoffia and Lewis could battle for the other starting spot, but Perry is one of the top players in the incoming class and could get in the mix.

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado safety Aaron Maddox

Specialists

Scholarship (3): SN J.T. Bale, Sr.; P Alex Kinney, Sr.; PK James Stefanou, Jr.

Walk-ons (6): PK Davis Price, Sr.; P Sam Loy, Jr.; PK Tyler Francis, R-Fr.; PK Evan Price, R-Fr; SN James Townsend, R-Fr.; SN Derek Bedell Jr., Fr.

Outlook: Bale, Kinney, Stefanou and Davis Price all return to their starting roles and, if healthy, will give the Buffs a solid special teams unit. With Loy, Evan Price and Francis, the Buffs might have the  most experienced backup kicking units in the Pac-12, as well.

Total numbers, as of June 5: Scholarship – 85; Walk-ons – 29.