If you haven’t already heard, Kyle Bell and Gartrell Johnson III have graduated, which means the featured running back position is up for grabs this off season. The Rams return six running backs from last year’s roster, four of which are currently freshmen. The other two are junior Alex Square, who returned the majority of punts this year for CSU, and the player who I feel was this 2008 team’s X-Factor – sophomore John Mosure.
The question is, are either Square or Mosure the guy to carry the Rams as the feature back? I’ll let you discuss that amongst yourselves while I tell you about the three new backs CSU has received commitment from so far.
First off, lets start again with the junior college guy who has already signed his letter of intent, Leonard Mason, who stands at 6-foot, 215 pounds. During his two seasons in junior college (freshman year at California’s Citrus College, sophomore at College of the Desert) Mason rushed for over 2,250 yards and 29 touchdowns, while averaging more than six yards per carry.
Mason is a guy who has all the physical tools to be a huge playmaker at the FBS level. He’s strong, fast, and durable. During his visit to Fort Collins on Nov. 15, he witnessed Johnson help lead the Rams over New Mexico with 30 carries for 127 yards.
After the game he told GoldandGreenNews.com’s Tom Lacock how much he likes carrying the football.
“I liked the team, liked what the coaches are doing with the program. I like the opportunity to come in and replace Gartrell. And 30 carries-I can handle that,” Mason said.
Oh, and did I mention that he’s the second ranked junior college running back in the nation, according to Rivals.com? That has to get a fan’s blood boiling.
Next we have Conroe, Texas running back Lou Greenwood, ranked as the No. 44 overall high school back in the class of 2009. Greenwood is built differently than most players in his position at 6-foot-1, 174 pounds. He’s going to be a player the coaching staff is most likely going to need to make a decision on whether he will play in the backfield or as a wide receiver here at CSU.
Greenwood has great hands and balance with the ability to break tackles to make big runs, he could be a great Z-type receiver who comes across the middle, but at the same time, he is so elusive he could make a quality college running back with the right strength and conditioning training.
Whether he ends up at running back or wide receiver, I can almost guarantee you that Greenwood will be a kick returner for the Rams. Also receiving offers from Georgia Tech, Houston, Iowa State, Ole Miss, Syracuse and Baylor, I rank Greenwood as CSU’s best commitment from the 2009 class. Well, at least so far.
Last, but not least, we have CSU’s only commitment from the state of Colorado, Thunder Ridge half back Chris Nwoke. The 5-foot-11, 205 pound speedster from Highlands Ranch scampered for 1,611 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Grizzlies this season as he helped his team to the second round of the CHSAA Class 5A playoffs before losing to Douglas County.
I have a feeling that before playing a down of football for the Rams, Nwoke will be an instant fan favorite in Fort Collins thanks to the fact that he will probably be the only player in the 2009 recruiting class from the state of Colorado; similar to the feeling fans have for freshman quarterback Alex Kelly.
Here’s an update for everyone on three of the four verbal commitments the Rams received this weekend, giving them 16 total for the class of 2009 (yes, we have lost one since last week in safety Jansen Watson to Iowa State) and their first of 2010.
On Sunday, CSU received verbals from two California players. Jared Koster from Norco is a 6-foot-1, 220 pound linebacker who has 4.6 speed and has expressed that his goal is to fill the hole left by Jeff Horinek at middle linebacker as a true freshman. Cameron Moss of Steele Canyon also confirmed, he’ll add to the Rams’ depth at tight end.
And while it may seem too soon to talk about kids from the class of 2010, once Feb. 5 is past, the recruiting process starts all over again. Steve Fairchild and company have to be happy to add to the many CSU football family legacies, as young quarterback Bobby Borcky, the younger brother of none other than the Rams’ T.J. Borcky is now a Ram.
That’s it for this week, next Wednesday is signing day and I will have all the latest recruiting scoops that have happened leading up to the big day.
Sports writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.