CSU’s offense gets national preseason recognition

Scott Nies

If the college football award watch lists and Mountain West preseason predictions are anything to go by, the Colorado State Rams are poised for a season of strong offensive output.

Rarely has there been a recent sentence about Ram football without mentioning star wide receiver Warren Jackson — and rightly so. Jackson was recently named the Mountain West preseason offensive player of the year, an honor that has only gone to one other wide receiver, former CSU Ram and current Cleveland Brown, Rashard Higgins.

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“Regardless if Addazio looks to remain run–centric, continue CSU’s aerial game, or a mix of both, it seems like he will have the offensive talent to do it.”

Coming off a 77-reception, 1119-yard and eight-touchdown season, Jackson will look to continue his dominating trend into his senior season.

Jackson is also listed on the watchlists for the Fred Biletnikoff Award and the Maxwell Award. The Biletnikoff Award looks to name college football’s most outstanding receiver and the Maxwell Award looks to name the nation’s “College Player of the Year.”

Trey McBride, a tight end for the Rams and another member of CSU’s arsenal of passing targets, has been put on the watchlist for the John Mackey Award. The Mackey Award distinguishes the nation’s most outstanding tight end in college football.

Jackson and McBride were also listed as the choices for wide receiver and tight end on the Mountain West preseason all-conference team.

Dante Wright, a sophomore wide receiver for the Rams, has also received national recognition showcasing the depth that CSU has at the receiver position, having been put on the Paul Hornung Award watchlist. While not specific to receivers, this award honors those that “play multiple positions on offense and/or defense.”

Wright earns this nod after rushing for 214 yards, two touchdowns and catching 57 receptions for 805 yards with four touchdowns during a stellar freshman season.

Wright’s versatility will be a key factor as the Rams look to build their rushing game under new head coach Steve Addazio.

Addazio led the Atlantic Coast Conference in rushing during his 2019 season with Boston College, averaging 253.2 yards per game — a huge difference to CSU’s 132.2 rushing yards per game during the 2019 season. The Rams will hope to see an increase in rushing in order to balance out their offense.

Perhaps this could be senior running back Marcus McElroy, Jr.’s breakout season, as he may very well see an increased workload under Addazio, especially after coming into his own against Fresno State with two touchdowns and 117 yards over 18 carries.

Regardless if Addazio looks to remain run-centric, continue CSU’s aerial game, or a mix of both, it seems like he will have the offensive talent to do it.

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Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.