A look at the CU spring football roster
Colorado still has nearly six weeks before first-year head coach Deion Sanders conducts his first practice with the Buffaloes.
CU has finalized its spring roster, however, with 80 scholarship players and 32 walk-ons set to compete. The Buffs are scheduled to open spring practices on March 19, with the spring game set for April 22.
With a new coaching staff and 35 new players, the spring is just the start of what will be an ongoing process to get the Buffs ready for next season.
“Well, it’s not easy. It’s not that simplistic,” Sanders said of integrating the new systems with a revamped roster. “But we have a great staff. I really feel like we have a tremendous staff. I’m not the coach that dictates everything. I want to hear all my coaches speak because they have so much (experience). … I’m making sure my defensive coordinator, my offensive coordinator are satisfied, along with my special teams guy when it comes to compiling the practice.”
Sanders said the practices will be fast-paced, but also “100% effort.”
“That starts in the weight room in and started (in January) in the weight room,” he said. “Those guys are working their butts off. I’m happy with what I’m seeing from these young men, as well as coaches.”
As the Buffs work out and prepare for the spring, here’s a look at the roster they will carry into practices next month:
Scholarship (3): Shedeur Sanders, Jr.; Drew Carter, So.; Ryan Staub, T-FR.
Walk-on (1): Colton Fr.
Note: Sanders, a transfer from Jackson State, is the clear starter. Spring will be important for him to get comfortable with his new offense, teammates and surroundings. The Buffs need a No. 2 to emerge. Now in his third year, Carter will hope to take that step in his development.
Scholarship (5): Deion Smith, Sr.; Jayle Stacks, Jr.; Anthony Hankerson, So.; Victor Venn, Fr.; Dylan Edwards, T-FR.
Walk-ons (4): Champion Johnson, So. (fullback); Charlie Offerdahl,
So.; Dante Capolungo, Fr.: Christian Sarem, Fr.
Note: Most of the group was here last year, with Smith leading the Buffs in rushing last season. Hankerson had some big moments as a true freshman, too. The returners will aim to impress the new staff, while plenty of eyes will be on Edwards, the four-star recruit with blazing speed.
Scholarship (7): Jimmy Horn Jr., Jr.; Montana Lemonious-craig, Jr.; Ty Robinson, Jr.; Jordyn Tyson, So.; Grant Page, Fr.; Chase Sowell, Fr.; Asaad Waseem, T-FR.
Walk-ons (5): Michael Harrison, Jr.; Deuce Roberson, So.; Cole Boscia, Fr.; Chernet Estes, Fr.; Kaleb Mathis, T-FR.
Note: A handful of freshmen won’t be here until the summer and Tyson is recovering from an injury. Still, this is an intriguing group this spring. Lemoniouscraig caught a team-high 23 passes last year. Horn is a transfer from South Florida, where he shined, and Waseem is a highly regarded freshman. Robinson, Page and Sowell will have a chance to impress the new staff, as well. Cornerback Travis Hunter is also expected to play some receiver this spring.
Scholarship (6): Seydou Traore, Jr.; Caleb Fauria, So.; Erik Olsen, So.; Louis Passarello, So.; Austin Smith, So.; Zach Courtney, Fr.
Walk-ons (2): Elijah Yelverton, So.; Brady Kopetz, Fr.
Note: Traore caught 50 passes at Arkansas State last season and brings a unique skill set to the Buffs. Fauria and Olsen are the top returners after CU lost Brady Russell to graduation. Smith also has a skill set that could fit into the new offense.
Scholarship (13): Tyler Brown, Jr.; Gerad Christian-lichtenhan, Jr.; Alex Harkey, Jr.; Isaiah Jatta, Jr.; Jake Wiley, Jr.; Jackson Anderson, So.; Lucas Eckardt, So.; Yousef Mugharbil, So.; Savion Washington, So.; Van Wells, So.; Jack Wilty, So.; Carter Edwards, Fr.; Travis Gray, Fr.
Walk-ons (4): Jack Seavall, Jr.; Camden Dempsey, So.; Ben Reznik, So.; John Ramirez, Fr.
Note: What should be a great competition for starting jobs this offseason begins in the spring. Christian-lichtenhan, Wells and Wiley are all returning starters for the Buffs. Meanwhile, Brown (Jackson State), Jatta (Snow College), Washington (Kent State) and Wilty (Iowa Central Community College) were all starters before transferring to CU this winter.
Scholarship (10): Taijh Alston, Sr.; Jordan Domineck, Sr.; Leonard Payne Jr., Sr.; Jalen Sami, Sr.; Na’im Rodman, Sr.; Shane Cokes, Jr.; Allan Baugh, So.; Tyas Martin, So.; Ryan Williams, So.; Aaron Austin, So.
Walk-on (1): Mason Maddox, So.
Note: It’s a deep and experienced group this spring. Sami and Rodman return after starting roles with the Buffs last year. They’ll compete with a talent group of transfers, including Alston (West Virginia), Domineck (Arkansas), Payne (Fresno State) and Cokes (Dartmouth).
Scholarship (7): Taylor Upshaw, Sr.; Jeremiah Brown, Jr.; Joshka Gustav, Jr.; Devin Grant, So.; Zion Magalei, So.; Shakaun Bowser, Fr.; Kaden Ludwick, Fr.
Note: The Buffs don’t return much experience from last year, opening the door for Upshaw (Michigan transfer) and Brown (Jackson State) to earn starting roles. Grant is the only returner with recent experience, while Gustav is aiming to re-establish himself after missing 2022 with an injury.
Scholarship (8): Lavonta Bentley, Jr.; Marvin Ham II, Jr.; Isaac Hurtado, Jr.; Mister Williams, So.; Eoghan Kerry, So.; Aubrey Smith, So.; Victory Johnson, T-FR.; Morgan Pearson, T-FR.
Walk-ons (4): Caiden Robertson, So.; Thomas Notarainni, So.; Nathan Hallmark, Fr.; Jack Remington, Fr.
Note: The Buffs’ three starting linebackers from last season all graduated. Bentley joins the herd after being a highly productive reserve at Clemson. He could earn a starting role with the Buffs this spring. Ham, Williams and Smith all got some playing time last season, while Kerry is a top young player who has a chance to emerge this spring.
Scholarship (9): Nigel Bethel Jr., Sr.; Nikko Reed, Jr.; Tayvion Beasley, So.; Kyndrich Breedlove, So.; Simeon Harris, So.; Travis Hunter, So.; Jason Oliver, So.; Keyshon Mills, Fr.; Joshua Wiggins, Fr.
Walk-ons (2): Braden Keith, Fr.; Liam Mcgannon, Fr.
Note: Five-star recruit Cormani Mcclain won’t be here until the summer, but Hunter, a five-star recruit and transfer from Jackson State will, be in the spotlight. He’s a Day 1 starter and leads this group. Reed is a returning starter for the Buffs, while Bethel, Harris and Oliver also have experience at CU. Beasley (Jackson State) and Breedlove (Mississippi) are talented transfer additions to will compete for top roles, as well.
Scholarship (9): Jeremy Mack Jr., Jr.; Cam’ron Silmon-craig, Jr.; Myles Slusher, Jr.; Tyrin Taylor, Jr.; Trevor Woods, Jr.; Dylan Dixson, Fr.; Oakie Salave’a, Fr.; Xavier Smith, Fr.; Jaden Milliner-jones, Fr.
Walk-ons (4): Trey Ortega, Jr.; Austin Dahlke, So.; Ben Finneseth, So.; Jordan Woolverton, So.
Note: Woods returns after finishing second in the team in tackles and he’ll look to impress the new staff and keep his starting role. Taylor was also a starter for the second half of last season. Transfers Silmon-craig (Jackson State) and Slusher (Arkansas) are both experienced starters. Mack also brings experience to the table. Dixson was a highly regarded recruit a year ago and Milliner-jones is one of the top freshmen this year.
Scholarship (3): Mark Vassett, Jr.; Jace Feely, So.; Alejandro Mata, So.
Walk-ons (5): Noah Hubbard, So.; Trent Carrizosa, So.; Cristiano Palazzo, So; Jacob Politte, So.; Cameron Warchuck, So.
Note: CU has a revamped kicking game. Mata, who handled all the place-kicking duties at Jackson State last year, will begin his competition with Feely, a transfer from Arizona State. Carrizosa was CU’S primary punter last year, but Vassett, a transfer from Louisville, is likely to take over that role. Politte joins the team after handling snapping duties at Jackson State last year.