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Grading the Class of 2014

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Feb 8, 2014.

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    By Stuart


    [h=3]Grading the Class of 2014[/h]The Class of 2014 is largely a matter of record (recall that CU has added players during the spring and summer*every year the past few seasons). Colorado has 23 new players in the fold, including 19 high school seniors, three junior college transfers, and a gray-shirt holdover from the Class of 2013.
    The CU*Class has been ranked nationally anywhere from 64th (Rivals) to 77th (247Sports), with the Buffs ranked no higher than 10th in the Pac-12 conference. This being the case, the CU Class is objectively a*disappointment. Most Buff fans realize, however, that the University of Colorado is not in position to compete for many of the four- and five-star prospects each season which raise national rankings, and that Mike MacIntyre & Co. must be more creative in seeking out the “diamonds in the rough”. With that in mind, let’s assess the CU Class of 2014:
    Best Offensive signee
    - Shay Fields, wide receiver … The only four-star prospect in this year’s Class, Fields not only is the highest-rated new Buff, he also fills CU’s greatest need. With Paul Richardson taking his talents to the NFL, Colorado needed a play-maker at wide receiver, and Fields fits the bill. An All-State performer for a state championship team (St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calfornia), Fields was ranked by Rivals as the No. 44 wide receiver in the nation. As a senior, Fields had 82 catches for 1,617 yards (an average of 19.7 yards per catch) and 18 touchdowns. Fields has also lettered three times in track (with a fourth coming this spring), and is reigning league champion in the 100-meter dash, with a career-best 10.9.
    - Honorable mention … Cade Apsay, quarterback … Donovan Lee, athlete … Lee Walker, wide receiver.

    Best Defensive signee
    - Rick Gamboa, linebacker … A first-team All-State performer for Chaminade College Prep (Slymar, California), Gamboa put up big numbers as a senior. Gamboa was in on 170 tackles this past fall (102 solo), with 12 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks, finishing as one of the top 100 players in the state of California. Gamboa had 20 or more stops in three games, and was in double digits in tackles*on nine occasions. A three-year starter at inside linebacker, Gamboa had an impressive 442 tackles (285 solo, 34 for losses, 15 sacks). At 6’1″, 225-pounds, Gamboa will not be the outside pass rushing linebacker the Buffs need so desperately, but Gamboa will fill the middle and take care of business in the interior. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Gamboa was leading the team in tackles in 2016 and 2017.
    - Honorable mention … Michael Mathewes, defensive end … Grant Watanabe, linebacker … Evan White, defensive back.

    Most likely to succeed
    - Donovan Lee, athlete … The easier choices would be Cade Apsay or Shay Fields, as more eyes will be upon these prospects, and, yes, it is true that Apsay and Fields will be in given every opportunity to become fan favorites. Lee, though, has the chance to get on the field in any number of positions, and for that reason, has a very good chance at early and long-term success. Buff fans are lamenting the losses of running back prospects Jomon Dotson and Kalen Ballage to other Pac-12 schools, but the fact is that the*Buffs did pick up a California first-team All-State running back in Donovan Lee. As a senior, Lee rushed for 1,979 yards on 247 attempts with 37 touchdowns (an average of 8.0 yards per carry), while also hauling in 29 catches for 610 yards and four more touchdowns. Playing for Chaminade College Prep (West Hills, California), Lee was a three-year starter on both offense (running back and wide receiver) and defense (cornerback). Why didn’t Lee, with all of these accolades and numbers, have more Pac-12 offers (only Colorado and Oregon State)? Well, he’s only 5’8″, 162-pounds, so size may have been a determining*factor. Should that*be a concern for Buff fans … yes, until you consider that*CU’s all-time leading rusher, Eric Bieniemy, played at 5’7″, 175-pounds.
    - Honorable mention … Lee Walker, wide receiver … Ahkello Witherspoon, cornerback …Dylan Keeney, tight end

    Most underrated
    - Hayden Jones, tight end … Of the players given only two stars by both Rivals and Scout, Jones has the best chance of having a significant impact for the Buffs. Jones was a two-year starter at both tight end and linebacker for Christian Brothers high in Sacramento, California (he also handled the kicking chores). A first-team all-conference performer, Jones caught 35 passes for 499 yards and two touchdowns (14.3 yards per catch), while also posting 14 pancake blocks. On defense, Jones had 35 tackles (15 solo), and had four quarterback sacks. Jones is 6’6″, 245-pounds (currently playing center for the basketball team), and once he gets to Boulder and focuses in on a position, he could turn into something special. The only problem for the CU coaches is where to play Jones. Mike MacIntyre called Jones a “big athlete”, so Jones could turn into an offensive tackle, a defensive lineman … or remain at*tight end. Wherever he plays, Jones has an excellent opportunity to overcome the doubts associated with his two-star rating.
    - Honorable mention … Jaisen Sanchez, defensive back … Christian Shaver, defensive end … Josh Kaiser, offensive lineman

    Best story
    - Terran Hasselbach, defensive end … It’s hard not to cheer for a player who only was able to play one year of high school football … and in that one season turn in an All-State performance. Right before the start of his freshman season, Terran Hasselbach was in a car accident, preventing him from playing for the next two years. Hasselbach was finally cleared by his doctors to play as a junior, only to suffer a shoulder injury in practice, keeping him out of action for another six months. Finally, as a senior, Hasselbach was able to show what he could do. Playing in nine games (he missed two), Hasselbach posted 78 tackles (57 solo), with 24 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback sacks, earning “Comeback Player of the Year” honors from the Denver Post. Hasselbach’s father, Harald, played for Washington in college, and was a member of two Super Bowl championship teams as a member of the Denver Broncos, so lineage is not an issue for Hasselbach.
    - Honorable mention … Sam Bennion, offensive lineman … Wyatt Tucker Smith, long-snapper … Sully Wiefels, offensive lineman

    These are my thoughts on the CU Recruiting Class of 2014, but it’s just one opinion. Let me know your thoughts …



    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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