As children, we all firmly believed that if you wished upon a star, your dreams were coming true. Most of us grew up and realized that isn’t the case, but for 22 high school seniors and four junior college players, those stars must have been lucky because their dreams came true Wednesday.
The Colorado State football program welcomed 26 recruits into the Ram family before 9:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, national signing day. Head coach Jim McElwain held a press conference to address the newest additions to his roster; he was especially pleased with the nine players who signed to play for their home state of Colorado.
“What we have been able to create is a buzz. When I first got here, quite honestly, my reception was better in other states than it was in Denver,” McElwain said. “What I have found already is there’s some guys wanting to jump on. Where it was an afterthought, it’s becoming a point of destination.”
As to whether the recruits, homegrown or not, will see the field as true freshman is a question not even McElwain has an answer. Then again, he won’t be able to say with certainty if last year’s first-string players will start next season.
That uncertainty makes his players fear for their positions, and that fear drives competition: McElwain’s favorite aspect of the game. It also allows him to look at each member of the team, be they freshman walk-on or quarterback Garrett Grayson and evaluate them using the same criteria.
“We recruited these guys because they have the opportunity to be successful at whatever position they end up,” McElwain said. “They have good character, they are academically in line and they are going to be valuable assets to our program. You wish every single one of them would be that, yet they all have the opportunity when they get here.”
That being said, with the gaping hole left in offensive line by the four graduating seniors, McElwain expects more out of the former JuCo offensive lineman out of California, Jordan Finley. He and returning junior Ty Sambrailo will be the anchors on the otherwise inexperienced unit. A unit that was responsible for producing a 1,500 yard rusher and 3,000 yard passer.
“It’s a time of change. We have eschewed out some great seniors who have done wonderful things here at Colorado State,” McElwain said. “I’m going to miss those guys, but now we bring in a new class of Rams in. We’ve got a good group of guys to teach them what it means to invest and give of themselves to affect the people around them in a positive way.”
*Austin Gray & Thomas Coffman will not be playing for the Rams. Both will graduate from CSU.
Rams Roster by the numbers:
20 Redshirt freshmen
Where they call home: