Meet the newest recruits of the Ram football team

Colorado+State+head+football+coach+Jay+Norvell+leads+the+participants+of+the+Spring+Youth+Camp+out+of+the+tunnel+April+23.

Collegian | Gregory James

Colorado State University head football coach Jay Norvell leads the participants of the spring youth camp out of the tunnel April 23. “We want our team to be a part of the community and engage in the community,” Norvell said. “When we go out and play on Saturdays, we need our community.”

Cameron Davis

Jack Taylor, Sports Reporter

It’s been a long time since Colorado State football fans have read a headline that brought them hope for a prosperous future for their football program. After three seasons of flirting with mediocrity at best, the Rams have crossed the horizon, putting together an excellent recruiting class and showing signs of fielding a team worth watching.

Under previous head coach Steve Addazio, the inability to win games was not the only ineptitude of the former football coaching staff. The 2021 recruiting class curated by Addazio and his support staff was reported by 247sports to be beaten out by many Division II programs.

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With very limited connections to the Mountain West Conference and the high school head coaches on the West Coast, it would be inaccurate to consider Addazio’s recruiting net sufficient enough to build a successful future for the CSU football program.

However, not all hope is lost for the 2022 recruiting class. After the announcement that Jay Norvell would become the next and 24th head coach of the CSU football team this past December, the 2022 CSU recruiting class climbed in 247sports to 84th overall. This increase in the ranking was caused by CSU Athletics’ recorded 11 transfer players who followed Norvell to CSU from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Even though Ram fans won’t immediately see the recruiting advantages Norvell brings to the CSU football program, apart from the transfers accompanying Norvell from Nevada, CSU should expect to see a vastly improved 2023 recruiting class.

The upcoming 2022-23 football season currently features 28 recruits. Read below for insight into a few of the recruits fans will see take the field at Canvas Stadium sporting green and gold this coming spring.

Clay Millen

Colorado State quarterback Clay Millen (11) passes the ball April 23 at the Green and Gold intra-squad scrimmage.
Colorado State quarterback Clay Millen (11) passes the ball April 23 at the Green and Gold intra-squad scrimmage. Millen, who transferred from the University of Nevada Reno with Head Coach Jay Norvell, threw for four touchdowns in the ‘green’ squad win over the ‘white’ squad 49-37. (Collegian | Gregory James)

Fans should expect to see an immediate impact on the offensive side of the ball from highly touted quarterback and redshirt freshman Clay Millen. Millen, a 6-foot-3-inch transfer from Nevada, was composed in the pocket during the Green and Gold spring game. Despite the pair of interceptions Millen threw, he looked comfortable passing deep down the field.

Millen’s quick release and knack for standing in the pocket despite a collapse labels him as a prototypical pocket-passing quarterback. Chemistry with his new wide receivers will develop with time, but as things stand right now, Millen has a good shot at getting the starting nod for this coming season.

Melquan Stovall

Melquan Stovall is another transfer following Norvell from Nevada. The lighting-fast senior wide receiver posted “56 catches for 643 yards and one touchdown” last year at Nevada, according to CSU Athletics, and is poised to produce even greater stats this coming season.

The 5-foot-8-inch wideout has amazing footwork and a surprisingly adept release off the line for a player of his size. Stovall commands attention at the slot receiver position. Collegian sports reporter Braidon Nourse, who covered the Green and Gold spring game, said, “Rams fans should expect the connection between Millen and Stovall to be a special one this season.”

Mekhi ‘Flip’ Fox

Mekhi “Flip” Fox originally committed to the University of California, Los Angeles. After Norvell was named the next head coach for CSU, Fox decommitted from UCLA and signed a letter of intent to play for the Rams. Fox is a 6-foot-1-inch receiver/running back who ended his high school career in Pasadena, California, with 3,243 all-purpose yards and 40 touchdowns.

With blazing speed and excellent body control to haul in 50/50 balls, Fox was rated the 31st-best recruit in California by 247sports. Fox is regarded as one of the best talents to commit to CSU in the past decade. Fans should be more than excited to see how this future star develops.

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Jackson Stratton

Colorado State quarterback Jackson Stratton (15) passes the ball at the Green and Gold intrasquad scrimmage April 23.
Colorado State quarterback Jackson Stratton (15) passes the ball at the Green and Gold intrasquad scrimmage April 23. (Collegian | Gregory James)

A battle between quarterbacks is always a good thing — the whole positional locker room elevates their games to outplay their teammates in hope of getting the starting role. Jackson Stratton is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and has a similar playing style to Millen; however, Stratton does seem to have a stronger arm and more commanding presence in the pocket than Millen. Originally a commit to the University of Washington, Stratton signed his letter of intent to play for the Rams in December after the Norvell hire.

With his cannon of an arm, Stratton finished his high school career in La Jolla, California, with “4,469 yards and 52 touchdowns with 19 interceptions,” according to CSU Athletics. As a three-star recruit, Stratton has the ability and talent to bring much-needed stability to a historically fickle CSU quarterback position.

Marshon Oxley

 

The CSU 2022 recruiting class is stacked on the offensive side of the ball. Marshon Oxley, however, is one of the defensive recruits featured in this year’s class. Oxley is a 6-foot-3-inch outside linebacker from Inglewood, California. Speed combined with a large frame makes Oxley a formidable zone-coverage linebacker who can rush off the edge in heavy linebacker sets. Fans should be excited to see Oxley fly into the backfield and intercept checkdown throws this coming season.

 

CSU is expected to showcase its re-tooled offense and its newly implemented air-raid scheme when the new Rams team travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on the Big-10 juggernauts of the University of Michigan Sept. 3.

Reach Jack Taylor at jtaylor@collegian.com or on Twitter @j_taylr.