For those freshmen who redshirted last fall, todayâ€™s beginning of spring practice for the CSU football means a little more â€“â€“ they are now eligible to play.
And with huge voids to fill on the offensive side of the ball at quarterback, offensive line and wide receiver, these now eligible players will certainly be in the mix for starting positions.
â€œWe will have a redshirt freshman at quarterback competing, we will have three redshirt freshmen competing on the offensive line, two redshirt freshmen defensive tackles, and the list goes on and on. That was a good class,â€ head coach Steve Fairchild said.
Two positions Fairchild will pay close attention to are quarterback and offensive line.
The Rams lost four seniors from the 2009 offensive line, as was the case in Fairchildâ€™s first two seasons, he has a quarterback battle to judge. He went with the fifth-year senior the previous two seasons, but this year could be different with redshirt freshman Nico Ranieri and true freshman Pete Thomas competing.
â€œWe are going to be extremely young; you are talking about maybe having a quarterback that was maybe in high school a year ago and offensive linemen that are one year out of high school redshirted,â€ Fairchild said. â€œSo, Iâ€™m anxious to see â€¦ and Iâ€™m looking forward to watching these practices and the development that we get in some spots.â€
One position the Rams can feel comfortable about is running back. The team returns leading rushers Leonard Mason and John Mosure, but this group goes five-deep and could be the most spirited competition in the spring.
Lou Greenwood returns after contributing as a freshman along with Chris Nwoke, a redshirt freshman, a powerful, bruising runner.
But the most intriguing prospect is UCLA transfer Raymond Carter, who was the third-rated running back coming out of high school in 2007 and ran a 4.37 40-yard dash earlier this offseason.
â€œThere is a ton of talent there, and we have to get them involved with their strengths. I donâ€™t want to handicap it. I mean there are a lot of guys that have played a lot of football and some very, very good young players along with the transfer,Â Raymond Carter, coming up,â€ Fairchild said.
Todayâ€™s practice, which starts at 3:30 p.m. on the football practice field, is the first of 15 leading up to the annual spring game April 24.
Football Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.