CU Buffs Football: Coaching hires, portal activity, top targets



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CU Buffs Football: Coaching hires, portal activity, top targets
By TrevMon • Issue #19 • View online
It’s never a dull moment early this off-season with the coaching carousel, NIL and portal dynamics re-shaping the college football landscape. Since the end of Fall term, 8 Buffs (including 4 starters) have entered the portal. Meanwhile the Buffs have one QB who has transferred in from the portal. On the coaching front, Karl Dorrell has re-made his staff, with 5 coaching hires and one more pending for a WR coach. Portal activity should peek sometime between the beginning of the Spring term and the Feb 2 signing date. In recruiting news, Houston edge rusher Kam Bizor became the first commit of the Buff’s 23 Class.

Overhaul of the Coaching Staff
After the pending WR coaching hire, Karl Dorrell will have replaced 6 of the 10 assistants that coached during the 2021 season, including 4/5 on the offense staff. Chris Wilson, Brett Maxie and Darian Hagen are the only assistants that remain on staff since the beginning of the Dorrell era. However, several of the new hires have formed ties with one another and CU coaches along the way.
Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator - The average of the major power rank statistics over the 6 years of his OC career indicate above average performance (Pff - OFF rank 32; SP + 32; F+ 35.2). I expect Sanford to have a multiple scheme (pro, RPO, power run) that is built from a strong foundation in the trenches. Sanford reunites with Coach Shannon Turley (Strength Coach) who he worked with at Stanford in the Stanford and Miami (Tua at QB) will likely inspire the scheme in Boulder.
Clay Patterson, Tight Ends and Passing Game Coordinator the former Minnesota assistant re-joins Sanford. Clay is another young coach, he also has head coaching experience at Northeastern Oklahoma, and OC for six seasons at Texas A&M Kingsville.
Vic So'oto, Defensive Line - Vic is a young coach (34) who has coached the last two seasons at USC where he coached Defensive Line and also OLBs in 2020. He began is coaching career in 2015 with Virginia. He is regarded as a solid recruiter. Vic is second cousins with the late Junior Seau and expect to strengthen recruiting networks with the Polynesian community.
Kyle DeVan, Offensive Line - Kyle is another young coach (36) He spent 21 season as an Analyst working with Michigans OL. All 5 of the starting MI lineman earned Big Ten honors, and they won the Joe Moore Award for the nations top offensive line this year. Michigan OL ranked near the top in several advanced metrics….Stuff Rate 3; Sack Rate 2; Avg Line Yrds 19. DeVan also coached OL at Arizona (19-20) and played at OSU.
Rod Chance, Defensive Backs - Rod is 36, he coached seven season in P5, including the last three years at Oregon (2 DBs, 1 analyst). Rod coached at Vanderbilt where he crossed paths with Coach Dorrell and Coach Maxie. Rod’s career also included a year at Minnesota (2019 with Patterson) where he helped their defense finish 9th nationally defending the pass.Oregon had a high pff grad for Corners (71,68).
Wide Receivers - the Buffs will hire a WR coach to round out the staff, that could happen during or following the college football coaching conventions (Jan 9-11)
Buffs Assistant Coaches Moving On
The Buffs parted ways with some good coaches. Most of their contracts were up this year, and the recent hires also brought experience coaching their position groups.
Brian Michalowski, OLB Coach- last three seasons coaching OLB. Brian is a young coach, and energetic recruiter who connected with players. Brian has promising future.
Danny Langsford, QB Coach- with hiring of Sanford (who coached QBs before) and departure of Chiaverini who had coached receivers. Danny will be hired by Tulane as their new offensive coordinator
Brian Cook - will not be retrained as the Tight Ends Coach
Roster Management 101
Since the end of Fall Semester, 7 Buffs have entered the portal (Pell-TE; Gonzo-CB; Rice-WR; Perry-S; Blackmon-CB; Davis-RB; Ray-G; Broussard-RB), bringing the grand total of Buffs entering the portal this cycle to 18. This number appears high, although not terribly inconsistent with portal activity across the board in CFB, and aside from the four starters, probably needed attrition if the Buff want to add transfers this cycle (# of Pac-12 South player in portal this cycle: AZ-14; ASU-9; UCLA-12, USC-15, UT-5).
In Oct, the NCAA approved a one year waiver that allows schools to replace up to 7 portal transfers provided those transfers entered the portal following the 2021 Fall semester (or Dec 15 whichever came first). This waiver enable football programs to exceed the 25 annual limit up to 32 roster additions per annum. Programs are still constrained by the 85 player roster limit (more or less by next Aug cycle).
The Buffs currently have ~84 players on their active roster. They will add the 20 recruits from the early signing period, plus Ashton Logan (grey shirt), plus up to 5 more to round out the 22 class. According to Buff Stampede’s Adam Munstertieger, the Buffs roster will likely expand to 93 players after signing period before trimming to 85 entering the Fall, which would include 7 spots granted to replace those transfers who entered the portal after the Fall term.
Back of envelope Portal Analysis:
The 2020 COVID waiver on eligibility is generating a surplus of supply of super seniors. Annual limits on additions (25 initial contact, up to 32 provisional) and roster numbers (85 total) are creating roster management opportunities and challenges.
Over 3000 players have entered the portal since the new cycle started in Aug. Of those, over 1400 are from D-1 FBS programs (130 teams). The market is fluid, with 15-18 entering per day the first couple weeks of Jan. It will likely reach it’s peek in mid-Jan, and slow down as the Spring term get’s well underway. Portal activity will see another wave following Spring practices.
If we assume that on average, 6 of the 25 per annum scholarships will be awarded to transfers, then 780 scholarships will be used to accommodate transfers for D1 FBS teams (130*6 = 780). Further, if we assume that %50 of the provisional 7 replacements spots available to each team are actually used, that gives another 455 roster spots (130*7*.50 = 455) for transfers for a grand total of 780 + 455 = 1250 portal transfers in this cycle. This is short of the 1400+ FBS players currently in the portal. Last year, about 100 transfer (10%)came from FCS or lower ranks into FBS, and only 400 of the 2000 + in the portal found homes (this year I assume more college teams will hedge roster management towards the portal).
Fear and Loathing in the early days of NIL
Following the Supreme Court decision last July, the NCAA has entered into the chaos of Name Image Likeness. In my view the the NCAA and the divisions were not prepared. The court’s decision put the application of NIL under the jurisdiction state laws, at least until congressional action. As it stands, only 19 states have an NIL law in place, and 31 states with multiple schools that don’t have a law.
In Colorado Athletic Director Rick George’s view, the NCAA is not performing their role in governance and guidance on NIL. In his early Jan presser, he stressed that NIL is inappropriately being used by some programs toward pay-for-play inducements and in violation of NCAA recruiting and transfer rules. Meanwhile, CU has hired a branding company called INFLCR to facilitate matchmaking between Buffs players and potential business sponsorships. He said that CU has no plans to develop non-profits or LLCs at some programs have (Texas, Texas A&M) to effectively pay college football players.
Recruiting and Portal Targets
Top High School Targets:
C, Van Wells, 3*, Houston
OT, Jackson Brown, 3*, Northern Cal
OT, Zack Miller, 3*, Orange County
RB, Andrew Paul, Dallas
S, Larry Turner-Gooden, Mission Hills, CA
Top Transfer Portal Targets:
OL Mac Hollensteiner, - Georgetown, has close to 30 offers with Oklahoma State being another Power 5 option, two years eligibility
OL, Tommy Brown, - Alabama, former 4 star recruit, played in 28 games, 2 years of eligibility
OL Tre'mond Shorts - East Tennessee State, third-team FCS All-American in 2021, one year eligibility
OL Cade Bennett, Oklahoma State, set to visit the Buffs on Jan. 14, four years eligibility (Adam Munstertieger reported he is not being activetly recruited - Jan 13 )
DB Gabe Jeudy, Vanderbilt, 50 tackles in 2021, three years eligibility (Adam Munstertieger reported he is not being activetly recruited - Jan 13 )
DB Devonni Reed, Central Michigan, started 43 games with the CM, one year eligibility
WR, RJ Sneed, Baylor, 1500 yards receiving, 1 year eligibility
DL, Xavier Carlton, Utah, former four-star recruit, three years
DL, Ryan Johnson, Stanford, played in 32 games at Stanford with four starts in 2021, one year eligibility
RB, Ty Thomas, Minnesota, leading rusher in 21, three years eligibility
CB, Isaiah Johnson, Dartmouth, first-team all-Ivy League selection in 2021, two years eligibility
DL, Dre Butler, Auburn, former blue-chip recruit from Independence C.C., two years eligibility
Edge, Chance Main, Incarnate Word, also offered by UAB, visited FSU, three years eligibility
Transfer commitments -
QB Maddox Kopp, Houston, Elite 11 Finalist in 2020, four years
You can listen to these notes on my podcast on and several other platforms.
Buffs hired Vic So'oto to coach the Defensive Line
Buffs hired Vic So'oto to coach the Defensive Line
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By TrevMon

Notes on the University of Colorado Football Program

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