After calling his last recruiting class the best heâ€™s had at CSU, coach Steve Fairchild expects some first-year Rams to have a big impact this season.
Here are three new players to watch out for.
LB Shaquil Barrett
Barrett is actually a sophomore, but gets on this list in his first year at CSU after transferring from Nebraska-Omaha after its football program was disbanded.
At UNO, Barrett started as a true freshman and recorded some impressive numbers, 82 tackles, 8.5 sacks and four blocked kicks.
Barrett has been running second string behind junior James Skelton. If Skelton faces disciplinary action for his arrest on Saturday, Barrett will step into the starting spot.
Fairchild likes what he has seen from Barrett so far.
â€œPhysically, heâ€™s everything you would want,â€ Fairchild said. â€œHeâ€™s big, heâ€™s a tough, explosive guy…Heâ€™s a real special talent.â€
WRs Lee Clubb and Charles Lovett
It only took three practices for Fairchild to single Clubb and Lovett out as freshman that are likely to be key contributors to the Rams.
The door is wide open for someone to grasp a lot of playing time at receiver.
â€œItâ€™s almost asking an impossible thing,â€ Fairchild said on knowing the playbook as a freshman.
â€œWhen it comes time for that first game, weâ€™ll limit what they need to know. Theyâ€™re a long ways away from knowing our offense, but theyâ€™re going to play.â€
As with most freshmen, learning the complex, pro-style playbook the Rams use will be his biggest obstacle.
â€œWhen you donâ€™t know everything youâ€™re kind of thinking, youâ€™re not running as hard, youâ€™re not playing as hard,â€ Clubb said. â€œWhen you get it, it just all comes together.â€
Likewise, Lovett has grabbed the coachesâ€™ attention with playmaking ability. Regardless of where he takes the field, Lovett has every intention of making an instant impact.
â€œI just want to play. I just want to travel the world. I donâ€™t want to sit here and have to do five years,â€ the Florida native said. â€œIâ€™m so far away from home. Iâ€™m ready to come here, do the best I can, get my job done, get my degree, and go back home.â€
_Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. _