Colorado Buffaloes football roster overview

First-year Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders is just getting started with an overhaul of the Buffaloes roster.

Since national signing day on Wednesday, Sanders and the Buffs have added 31 players, including 15 transfers. In the coming months, the Buffs are sure to add more as they re-shape the roster, and that means there are more players from the 2022 roster likely to move along.

While there are sure to be many changes coming, here’s a look at how the roster is shaping up for now. This list only includes scholarship players. As of now, CU has 86 players slated to be on scholarship, as far as what’s known publicly.

Quarterbacks (5)

Returners: JT Shrout, Sr.; Drew Carter, So.

Newcomers: Shedeur Sanders, Jr.; Ryan Staub, Fr.; Kasen Weisman, Fr.

Note: Sanders, a two-year starter at Jackson State and the son of the head coach, is sure to take over as the starter. Shrout started seven games this season for the Buffs and could be a key backup if he stays.

Running backs (5)

Returners: Deion Smith, Sr.; Jayle Stacks, Jr.; Anthony Hankerson, So.; Victor Venn, Fr.

Newcomers: Dylan Edwards, Fr.

Note: For now, Smith and Hankerson are the top two in terms of experience. Both had good moments this season, as did Stacks when called upon. Edwards is a four-star recruit, however, and has the ability to compete for the top job.

Wide receivers (13)

Returners: Maurice Bell, Sr.; Montana Lemonious-Craig, Jr.; Ty Robinson, Jr.; Jordyn Tyson, So.; Grant Page, Fr.; Chase Sowell, Fr.

Newcomers: Jimmy Horn Jr., Jr.; Isaiah Hardge, Fr.; Adam Hopkins, Fr.; Omarion Miller, Fr.; Jordan Onovughe, Fr.; Jacob Page, Fr.; Asaad Waseem, Fr.

Note: Tyson was dynamic this season, but faces a long offseason of injury rehab. Lemonious-Craig had a productive season as well. Bell would need a medical hardship waiver to return. Coach Sanders has made this a high priority, and Horn was a huge addition. He could be the top receiver. Transfer cornerback Travis Hunter is also expected to play receiver.

Tight ends (6)

Returners: Caleb Fauria, So.; Erik Olsen, So.; Louis Passarello, So.; Austin Smith, So.; Zach Courtney, Fr.

Newcomers: Seydou Traore, Jr.

Note: With Brady Russell graduating, there isn’t much experience coming back. Traore could slide in as the top target. He was first-team All-Sun Belt at Arkansas State this year. Fauria and Olsen showed great potential this season.

Offensive linemen (14)

Returners: Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan, Jr.; Alex Harkey, Jr.; Jake Wiley, Jr.; Jackson Anderson, So.; Lucas Eckardt, So.; Van Wells, So.; Carter Edwards, Fr.; Travis Gray, Fr.

Newcomers: Landon Bebee, Sr.; Isaiah Jatta, Jr.; Tyler Brown, So.; Savion Washington, So.; Jack Wilty, So.; Hank Zalinskas, Fr.

Note: Three starters — Christian-Lichtenhan, Wiley and Wells — are slated to return, but Sanders loaded up on transfers. Jatta was a JUCO All-American, Brown was an FCS All-American, Bebee and Wilty earned all-conference honors and Washington was a full-time starter at Kent State. There will be plenty of competition in the trenches.

Defensive linemen (9)

Returners: Jalen Sami, Sr.; Na’im Rodman, Sr.; Allan Baugh, So.; Tyas Martin, So.; Ryan Williams, So.; Aaron Austin So.

Newcomers: Taijh Alston, Sr.; Shane Cokes, Jr.; Marshawn Kneeland, Jr.

Note: Sami and Rodman were full-time starters this season, but they’ll be fighting for starting jobs if they stay with the Buffs. Alston (West Virginia), Cokes (Dartmouth) and Kneeland (Western Michigan) were all brought in as experienced starters  to beef up the Buffs on the D-line.

Edge rushers (6)

Returners: Joshka Gustav, Jr.; Devin Grant, So.; Zion Magalei, So.; Shakaun Bowser, Fr.; Kaden Ludwick, Fr.

Newcomers: Taje McCoy, Fr.

Note: The least experienced group on the team as it stands now. Grant and Gustav have played a combined 35 games, but not as full-time starters. Both have been role players — and Gustav missed all of the 2022 season with injury. McCoy is the only addition so far, but there could be more on the way.

Inside linebackers (9)

Returners: Marvin Ham II, Jr.; Isaac Hurtado, Jr.; Mister Williams, So.; Eoghan Kerry, So.; Aubrey Smith, So..

Newcomers: LaVonta Bentley, Jr.; Victory Johnson, Fr.; Morgan Pearson, Fr.; Kofi-Taylor-Barrocks, Fr.

Note: The Buffs lost their top three linebackers to graduation. Bentley, a transfer from Clemson, could stop in as a Day 1 starter. Beyond that, it’s a lot of potential. Ham, Hurtado and Williams have played well at times in limited roles. Kerry and Smith have a lot of upside, along with the new freshmen.

Cornerbacks (8)

Returners: Nigel Bethel Jr., Sr.; Toren Pittman, Jr.; Nikko Reed, Jr.; Jason Oliver, So.; Keyshon Mills, Fr.; Joshua Wiggins, Fr.

Newcomers: Travis Hunter, So.; Carter Stoutmire, Fr.

Note: Hunter, a transfer from Jackson State, is an instant starter. He was the top recruit in the country a year ago and the top transfer this year. Reed was a full-time starter this year and played well. He would currently be penciled in as a starter.

Safeties (9)

Returners: Jeremy Mack Jr., Jr.; Tyrin Taylor, Jr.; Trevor Woods, Jr.; Simeon Harris, So.; Dylan Dixson, Fr.; Oakie Salave’a, Fr.; Xavier Smith, Fr..

Newcomers: Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig, Jr.; Jaden Milliner-Jones, Fr.

Note: The Buffs are slated to return a lot of experience. Taylor and Woods were full-time starters this year, while Mack and Harris played a lot of snaps. Silmon-Craig is likely to fill one starting role, though. He played for two seasons at Jackson State for Sanders.

Specialists (2)

Returners: Cole Becker, Jr.

Newcomers: Mark Vassett, Jr.

Note:  The Buffs appear to be in great shape with the kicking game. Becker is one of the best kickers in the Pac-12 and was exceptional this season for the Buffs. Vassett committed to CU on Monday. He’s been one of the best punters in the ACC  and leaves Louisville as the program’s all-time leader in single-season and career punting averages.

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