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How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
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Where former Colorado State athletes are now

Colorado State isn’t playing in any football games right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t root for Rams football players. CSU has produced several players that have gone on to play at the professional level. Almost two weeks of the National Football League season have passed, so let’s take a look at where former Rams are now and how they are doing professionally. 

Shaquil Barrett: OLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Since leaving the Denver Broncos, Shaquil Barrett has been making a name for himself. The pass-rushing star is bound to get paid big time after playing this season on the franchise tag. Last season he led the league in sacks with 19.5. This was en route to 58 total tackles, six forced fumbles, two pass deflections, an interception and his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. Barrett was in the running for the defensive player of the year and ended up with a second-team All-Pro to his name. He is still a key member for the new look Buccaneers who lost in Tom Brady’s debut last week. Barrett had three tackles in that performance and followed up with five total tackles in Week 2

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Michael Gallup: WR, Dallas Cowboys

Michael Gallup is a CSU favorite for fans after all the record-breaking seasons he put up for CSU. The two-time All-Mountain West member who holds the CSU record for receptions in a season is producing at the NFL level just like CSU fans knew he would. After being a third-round pick by the Cowboys in 2018, Gallup solidified his spot on “America’s Team.” 2019 saw Gallup get 66 receptions for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns, numbers that were comparable to teammate Amari Cooper’s, a player who is nationally respected. In Week 1, Gallup had a productive game with three receptions for 50 yards. In Week 2 he contributed to an all-time great comeback against the Falcons with two receptions for 58 yards, including a massive catch that went for 38 yards. 

Olabisi Johnson: WR, Minnesota Vikings

Olabisi Johnson is one of the biggest surprises to come out of Fort Collins. Originally from Lakewood, he was a seventh-rounder in 2019 but has been a huge contributor and fan favorite for the Vikings. He has worked hard and beat out lots of players, including first-round pick Justin Jefferson, to be Minnesota’s number-one wide receiver. Johnson has been regularly posted by Vikings social media due to his knack for making tough catches, his ability to do exactly what the team needs of him and his recognizable blonde hair. Johnson is the poster boy for consistency, and he had three catches and 56 yards in Week 1 and one reception for 24 yards in Week 2. 

Preston Williams: WR, Miami Dolphins

“The Unicorn,” Preston Williams, is a problem for opposing defenses. Standing at 6’5″, Williams is set to have a massive year for Miami. Fellow Dolphin wideouts Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opted out of the season because of COVID-19, meaning Williams and DeVante Parker are the only notable names that the Dolphins can throw to. He only had two receptions in Week 1 but for a massive 20.5 yards per reception. Through two weeks, Williams has been targeted 12 times with only three receptions, meaning he could really use some help with better quarterback play. Williams has big-play ability due to his ability to get the ball at the high point and cause major matchup problems for smaller cornerbacks. 

Rashard Higgins: WR, Cleveland Browns

The Rams have had an affinity for producing NFL-level talent at the wide receiver position and have gained a reputation of being a “wide receiver university” because of it. Rashard Higgins is the pass-catcher who started it all. Being with the Browns since 2016, Higgins has seen his fair share of struggles, from playing on a bad team to having to compete for catches against superstars like Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Yet Higgins has remained in the league and is the longest-tenured receiver on the Browns roster for a reason. As a team, the Browns seemed bound to make a leap for years. They still struggled in Week 1 and Higgins only had one catch for nine yards. For his career, Higgins has 77 catches and 1025 yards. The man they call “Hollywood” still has the talent to be a good contributor in the receiver room, and he now is a true veteran and can supply some experience and leadership for a team desperately in need of it. 

Josh Watson: LB, Denver Broncos

Josh Watson remained in Colorado after being an undrafted free agent and is now a member of the Broncos practice squad. Watson was waived before the regular season but was a fringe roster guy and did see some action in 2019. The Broncos have seen injuries to Von Miller and other members of the defense, and former starting linebacker Todd Davis was cut, so Watson appears to be a prime call-up candidate if the Broncos want another linebacker on the 51-man roster. 

Trent Sieg: LS, Las Vegas Raiders

There are only 32 starting long snappers in the NFL, and Trent Sieg is one of them. Playing a position that receives no glory and tons of criticism if done wrong is not an easy assignment. Yet Sieg is one of the best in the world. The Raiders are now in Las Vegas and Sieg is in the final year of his contract. He will have to prove he deserves a pay raise and a chance to stick around.

Weston Richburg: C, San Francisco 49ers

Weston Richburg is a proven player and one of the best players at the center position in the league. That’s why in 2018 he signed a massive five-year, 47.5 million dollar contract. Unfortunately, since then the injury bug has taken a chunk out of Richburg’s career. Last season he missed out on the Super Bowl due to a torn patellar tendon. He is currently on the physically-unable-to-perform list. They’ve seen Jimmy Garappolo, George Kittle, Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Raheem Mostert and Richard Sherman all go down with injuries this season, so if Richburg can work his way back, he will be a welcome addition to the 49ers roster.

Ty Sambrailo: OL, Tennessee Titans

The former Broncos player wasn’t the favorite of most Broncos fans because he was known more for holding penalties and allowing sacks than for protecting his quarterback. Yet since his departure from Denver, he has carved out quite the roll for himself. Ty Sambrailo’s biggest strength is his versatility. After being an option at all five offensive line spots for the Falcons last season, Sambrailo is now the swing tackle for the Titans. He has proved he can come into the game in a pinch and do whatever the team needs from whatever position.

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Rams in other professional leagues:

Although producing talent for the NFL seems to be CSU’s forte, they still have plenty of former players in other professional leagues. Basketball star Nico Carvacho, who was once thought of as a potential National Basketball Association prospect, is now playing abroad for Rilski Sportist. He continued his heroism that CSU fans are so used to by dominating for 20 points, 10 rebounds and a game-winner in his first game. Big things can be expected from Carvacho going forward. 

Gian Clavell previously had a run at the NBA. After playing for the Larry-Eustachy-era Rams, Clavell played the 2017-18 NBA season on a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks. He had 20 total regular-season NBA points and is now playing for Brujos de Guayama in the Puerto Rican BSN league

Caeley Lordemann holds just about every CSU soccer record out there. After graduating in 2020, she signed with Civitas Santa Teresa Badajoz. Zack Golditch, Trae Moxley and Nick Callender all had shots in the XFL before the season was shut down early due to the coronavirus. Perhaps they will get a shot again since the league has been purchased by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. 

Bailey Bassett can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @baileybassett_.

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