Keegan Pope/InsideTheRams.com

Get everything you need to know regarding CSU's highly-touted recruiting class right here

CSU earned a second straight big recruiting class under Mike Bobo. Get to know the Rams' defensive signees.

National Signing Day has come and gone, a day full of suspense and drama for Colorado State. The Rams announced the signings of 25 new football student-athletes on Wednesday, Mike Bobo's third class as Rams head coach. The 2017 class is the second consecutive big - and talented - recruiting class under Bobo, as Scout ranked the class no. 66 nationally and second-best in the Mountain West.

Inside The Rams profiles each Rams signee, so fans know how each recruitment went down and what to expect from each signee when he dons the Green and Gold. ITR kicks things off by analyzing the defensive signees.

http://www.scout.com/player/213452-zoauntarrious-brunt?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Ronnie Letson)

Brunt flew a bit under the radar for much of his recruitment. He wasn't even listed in the Scout database and not much was publicly known about him. At a solidly built 6-foot-4, Brunt is a huge safety CSU offered last year because of his ability to hit and cover ground. He picked up offers from around ten schools, but told ITR that CSU, Youngstown State, Arkansas State and Prairie View were among the schools who offered. He took an official visit to CSU the weekend of December 2 and committed while in Fort Collins. He sited his relationship with Ronnie Letson as a big selling point, as well as his time spent watching film with Terry Fair. Brunt is a less heralded recruit, but when you watch his film, it's easy to see why the CSU staff quickly jumped on the idea of pursuing the Orange College product and North Carolina native, who originally signed with James Madison out of high school.

Skill Set

His size looks great on paper, but Brunt is more than a physically gifted 6-foot-4 safety. His ability to cover ground is an eye-opener, especially when you consider he is a well-built 6-foot-4. Brunt has tremendous straight-line speed, knows how to take proper angles and can light up oncoming receivers. With his size, he can support the run - think Trent Matthews, only a bit taller. Brunt played alongside several talented DBs for Orange College, a school CSU has recruited hard for two seasons now. Brunt has a chance to play immediately if he indeed can pick up Jamie Bryant's defensive schemes. With size, range, ball skills and speed, there is a lot to like about this junior college addition.

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Brunt OCC Highlights 1

Brunt Highlights 2

Previous ITR articles

Brunt joins 2017 class

http://www.scout.com/player/206391-darius-campbell?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Bryan Applewhite)

ITR profiled Campbell earlier this week, but Campbell came onto the scene late for the Rams. CSU had recruited him - contacted him off and on throughout the season and sent mail - but didn't really pursue Campbell until late when other options fell through. He picked up a Ram offer late last week and decided to commit soon after. Prior to that, he was committed to Jackson State. Campbell actually committed to Tulane a year ago, becoming the Green Wave's first commit of the 2017 cycle. However, he backed off that pledge this fall. He picked up offers in his recruitment from CSU, Tulane, Jackson State, Louisiana Monroe, McNeese State, South Alabama, UTSA, and Troy. Bryan Applewhite recruited Campbell for the Rams.

Skill Set

Campbell is ideally suited to play nickel at the next level. At 5-foot-8, 170-pounds, he is ultra-quick and has great hips, so he can turn or change directions on a dime. He is limited because of his height, so he probably would excel best in covering slots and inside receivers in space. He has advanced technique - both with his footwork and hands - and is an above average defender in breaking up the ball when competing with bigger receivers. Because of his skills with the ball in his hands, there is a chance CSU looks at him as a slot receiver or return man. For now, he is a nice addition in the defensive backfield, an area that's been an Achilles Heel for the Rams.

Video

Campbell Highlights

Previous ITR articles

Louisiana CB commits to CSU

http://www.scout.com/player/195662-christian-cumber?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Marty English)

Throughout Cumber's recruitment, it seemed almost a given that the 6-foot, 185-pounder would end up at a Power Five school. The Mullen all-stater collected offers from CSU, Colorado, Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Wyoming, among others. For much of the fall, the general consensus was Cumber would end up at either Wisconsin or Michigan State. After official visits to each, Cumber continued to look around. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, CSU continued to pursue Cumber heavily. Marty English stopped by Mullen as much as possible, went to games, and contacted Cumber as much as he was allowed. In-home visits from English, Terry Fair and Mike Bobo played key roles in CSU landing Cumber, as did an official visit to CSU on December 9. Cumber pledged to the Rams soon after his trip, giving the Rams Scout's 8th rated prospect in the state of Colorado this cycle.

Skill Set

Cumber is a refined, college-ready corner who could step in immediately and contribute as a Ram. He is the most physically ready CB in this class. Cumber has spent a great deal of time at corner and some at safety, facing some of the state's best receivers, as well as regional skills players on his summer team, Weapon X. He is built similarly to Tyree Simmons and knows how to come up and stick ball carriers. CSU struggled at times in stopping the run on the edge this year, and Cumber is the type of player who can not only blanket receivers in coverage, but also stifle edge runs. Really, there's a lot to like about Cumber's film, as the all-Colorado selection (8 career interceptions) is expected to play immediately under Terry Fair's tutelage.

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Cumber Highlights 1

Cumber Highlights 2

Previous ITR articles

Cumber excited to stay in-state

http://www.scout.com/player/198353-christian-howard?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Will Friend)

Howard is an important piece in this class because he will be relied upon to come in immediately and play along the defensive line. CSU targeted and offered a boatload of defensive linemen this cycle (really, they offered a boatload of players at many positions). Towards the end of the season, Howard came to the top of the list as a guy that, following a CSU offer on November 10, was a top target who CSU could see joining the program. Howard quickly set up a visit for December 9 and silently committed that weekend. He announced his decision within a few days of returning home. Will Friend was the primary recruiter for Howard. Friend also recruited Howard's teammate, offensive tackle Ben Knox. Visits from Friend and Alvis Whitted sealed the deal for Howard in the end. An early Arkansas State commit then de-commit, Howard picked a CSU offer over New Mexico, Georgia State, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. At 6-foot-2, 268-pounds, Howard could play a lot of strongside defensive end for the Rams, or even slide over to nose tackle on occasional downs.

Skill Set

Howard is a solid defensive end pickup with college experience. Due to his age and time spent in the weight room, Howard should play immediately for the Rams. He could realistically start at one end spot because of his size and ability to stop the run. Either way, he will be a key piece in Ricky Logo's defensive line, a unit which was much improved a year ago but is still looking for improvement. The Indianapolis native tallied 33 tackles and two sacks this year as a sophomore at Independence C.C., but don't let his lack of stats fool you. He is an active, aggressive lineman, which is something CSU really needs. Howard doesn't necessarily need to rack up a high number of sacks as a Ram. What he needs to do is fill lanes and allow the linebackers to do the work of bringing down ball carriers. CSU is in need of some serious beef up front and Howard fits the bill. He will have two years to play two seasons at CSU.

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Howard Highlights 1

Howard Highlights 2

http://www.scout.com/player/208031-ellison-hubbard?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Joe Cox)

Hubbard was a top defensive tackle target early on for the Rams. The 6-foot-2, 267-pounder was offered by CSU last spring. Other teams like Boston College, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Indiana, Memphis, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Wake Forest offered before his senior season. Hubbard started for one of the better teams in the country - Grayson, who went on to win the Georgia State 7A title. Hubbard notched 58 tackles and 8 sacks in a 3-4 alignment. Joe Cox relentlessly recruited Hubbard, even with multiple Power Five teams in the picture. Towards the end of his recruitment, Hubbard took visits to Virginia and Tulane before tripping to Fort Collins. Rutgers offered later in his recruitment, too, so he was a heavily pursued big man. He picked CSU during his visit, but didn't announce his plans to commit until later in the week following his Jan. 21 visit. Cox did an outstanding job recruiting the Peach State this cycle and Hubbard was the icing on the cake for his job well done.

Skill Set

Hubbard is similar to Christian Howard in that he is a big-bodied lineman capable of playing nose tackle or the three-technique. CSU needs size inside, so Hubbard, already a filled out lineman with a proportionate build, could play immediately as a true freshman at tackle or defensive end. He is best suited for strongside end, but if depth is a concern for CSU, they will gladly play him inside if needed. Hubbard played against two of the very best teams in the country (on top of playing on the top team in Georgia) in IMG Academy and Roswell, so the experience will be invaluable as he transitions to the college game.

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Hubbard Highlights 1

Hubbard Highlights 2

Previous ITR articles

Hubbard excited to remain a Ram

http://www.scout.com/player/214630-emmanuel-jones/recruiting?year=2016&s...

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Joe Cox)

Joe Cox's final addition to this year's class was Emmanuel Jones, who committed to CSU on Sunday, but didn't announce until signing day. Jones is a giant defender who flew under the radar until late in his senior year. He had an undisclosed illness for most of his junior year and didn't hit up the summer camp circuit. He doesn't have a Twitter account, and being as quiet as he is, Jones didn't do a ton to get his name out to recruiters. However, word quickly spread his senior year that he was for real. He earned region defensive player of the year honors and garnered offers this past fall from Appalachian State, CSU, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Purdue, and Troy (he had others, but couldn't remember them all off the top of his head). Cox convinced Jones to visit CSU the weekend of January 14. Jones committed to CSU Sunday night when a spot opened up in their class. The soft-spoken linebacker is set to play outside linebacker for the Rams.

Skill Set

Jones is an intriguing prospect at 6-foot-4, 245-pounds. He played defensive end as a junior, but moved to middle linebacker as a senior so he could help his team out (high school coaches typically play their best players in the middle of the defense). Jones flourished, earning Cartersville region defensive player of the year honors. He is an explosive athlete that doesn't seem to have a different gear other than "beast mode". Had he hit the camp circuit, he likely would have received more offers, because he runs extremely fast, hits hard and has a physique college coaches strongly desire. He is best suited for Buck linebacker for Marty English. He has an array of pass rush moves, but more than anything, he is extremely athletic as a downhill or sideline-to-sideline pursuer. He is violent and has a nose for the football. Because the Rams desperately need help on the edge in rushing the passer, Jones will compete with the likes of Evan Colorito and Trey Sutton for playing time to open up the new on-campus stadium.

Video

Jones Highlights

Previous ITR articles

http://www.scout.com/player/197021-patrick-moody?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Marty English)

Moody flew under the radar for much of his recruitment. He isn't one for self-promotion, so he didn't hit up the camp cicuit much or promote himself through social media. Marty English was aware of Moody ever since he blew up with a big freshman season at Chapparal in Parker. Moody was an all-state performer as a sophomore, before moving to Florida to compete at a higher level. He joined national power St. Thomas Aquinas for part of a season, playing alongside Ram Arjay Jean, before moving again to Vero Beach to finish out his junior year. English kept tabs of Moody the entire time, and while Moody had impressive statistical seasons all four years - accounting for 398 career tackles - he didn't completely catch the attention of CSU coaches until he proved he could compete at a high level against top competition in Florida. CSU offered Moody in late September and he committed on the spot, picking CSU over Southern Illinois. He never got the attention that so many others in this class got, but word has it that CSU's staff couldn't be more fired up about the 6-foot-2, 236-pound linebacker. He took his official visit to CSU Dec. 7 to cap off his recruitment.

Skill Set

There is a lot to like about Moody's game, primarily because he is an extremely physical linebacker who can track down the football. He is a tackling machine, collecting nearly 400 for his career at one high school in Colorado and two in Florida. He can play inside or outside, but may be best suited for the inside, as he already has a thick, well-built frame, and can handle punishment from big offensive linemen. Moody can move well sideline-to-sideline, too, so he's not just a one-dimensional run-stopper. Moody is a blue collar worker. He has undervalued speed, athleticism and ball skills (2 interceptions and 125 total tackles as a senior), and he is a Kevin Davis type player where he lets his play do the talking for him. Because of his size and experience against bigger, faster players in the Sunshine State, Moody could break into the rotation as a freshman.

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Moody Highlights 1

Moody Highlights 2

Moody Highlights 3

Moody Highlights 4

http://www.scout.com/player/196981-livingston-paogofie?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Ricky Logo)

A tireless recruiting effort from Ricky Logo helped CSU land Paogofie, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound defensive end/ouside linebacker hybrid. He really blossomed from his junior to senior year, which is a big reason schools really didn't start to show a lot of interest until late. Paogofie chose the Rams over offers from Utah State, Texas State and Lamar. Baylor and Boise State showed late interest, too. The Rams offered Paogofie in September after his hot start to the season. CSU knew about him dating back to last year, because Logo recruited CSU wideout Anthony Hawkins out of Bowie. Paogofie admitted it took several months before he began to open up to Logo, but following an in-home visit and his official visit to CSU on December 14, he really opened up to the idea of going to CSU. He didn't initially commit following his visit, but ultimately did several days later so he wouldn't miss out on a spot in the class.

Skill Set

Paogofie earned first team all state and Texas 6A District 4 Defensive Player of the Year after collecting 10 sacks, 93 tackles and 21 tackles for loss in 2016. He played mostly linebacker, lining up inside and on the edge. Paogofie has a big frame and spent time on the defensive line, too, both at tackle and end dating back to his junior year. At CSU, he will probably play outside linebacker and rush the passer, similar to what Cory James and Shaq Barrett did for the Rams. Paogofie is very physical, uses leverage and his hands well upon contact, and knows how to get after ball carriers. He is thickly built, so he could grow into a versatile defensive lineman down the road. Without overanalyzing, Paogofie simply gets the job done and lights up ball carriers. He is a heat-seeking missile, and because he is so big, he often violently takes down opponents. There is a lot to like about Paogofie the player, while coaches have raved about his character off the field.

Video

Paogofie Highlights

Previous ITR articles

Rams land Paogofie

CSU visit intrigues Paogofie

http://www.scout.com/player/197011-corte-tapia?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Marty English)

The Rams earned a summer commitment from Tapia, the state's all-time leader in career sacks (he passed Calais Campbell's 38 two seasons ago in helping Windsor win the state title). Tapia was slowed to a degree this year by constant double-teams and an off-field incident. However, he proved to CSU he was what they were looking for last offseason. The Windsor product has known CSU's Marty English his whole life, as his dad played with him at UNC. English recruited Tapia under McElwain and continued that under Bobo. CSU wanted to evaluate Tapia in person leading up to his senior year, so they brought him in for their July elite skills camp. Measuring in at 6-2, 220-pounds at the time, Tapia displayed the type of explosiveness, tenacity and measurables Bobo was looking for, so the Rams offered. Tapia committed a day later, picking the local Rams over local offers from Air Force, Northern Colorado and Wyoming. Tapia remained solid on his pledge all season, taking an official visit January 13. Having gone to numerous CSU home games, CSU junior days and other unofficial visits, Tapia is probably the most well-versed of the recruits when it comes to already being familiar with CSU.

Skill Set

Tapia appears set to fill the Buck outside linebacker role in English's 3-4. Tapia is a natural pass rusher - his best attribute. He simply knows how to get after the quarterback. He's nasty at the point of contact and has explosive straight line speed over short distances. He is limited laterally and his lack of hip mobility may limit his ceiling at the next level as a linebacker. However, he is a big athlete who knows how to light up oncoming blockers, use his hands to shed blockers, and is extremely instincual in finding the right lanes to snuff out ball carriers or get after quarterbacks. Depending on how his body develops, he could actually end up at inside linebacker. Otherwise, already at close to 230 pounds with room to grow, he could wind up as a weakside defensive end. He is a versatile athlete, having starred as a bruising fullback as well in Windsor's option attack. He is a crafty edge rusher, physical at the point of attack and seems to really enjoy the physicality of the game. Tapia is an excellent in-state addition with a chance to play early, given CSU's issues getting after the quarterback in 2016. The two-time first team all-Colorado selection and state record holder with 46 career sacks brings a vast skill set to the CSU defense, as well as confidence and leadership.

Video

Tapia Highlights 1

Tapia Highlights 2

Tapia Highlights 3

http://www.scout.com/player/201007-jadon-walker?s=132

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Joe Cox)

Joe Cox was Walker's lead recruiter, while Alvis Whitted and Terry Fair also aided in CSU's efforts. The Rams offered him this fall after he blew up with a big season offensively. Walker ultimately picked Colorado State over Boston College. All three service academies and Georgia Southern offered Walker to play quarterback (cousin Ricky Dobbs starred at Navy), but CSU, BC and Ball State liked him as an edge athlete. Georgia came on late and showed significant interest, offering Walker a preferred walk-on spot. Walker ended up committing to CSU during the weekend of his official visit the first week of December, but didn't publicly announce his pledge until later that week after confusion of whether UGA offered a preferred walk-on or a full ride scholarship. The Rams were able to secure an official visit from Walker, the Georgia Class 4A Region 5 Offensive Player of the Year, and he committed due to the family atmosphere in Fort Collins, his relationships with lead recruiter Joe Cox and CSU's coaches, as well as his developing relationship with player-host Marvin Kinsey, who Walker could see becoming a mentor for him. Walker also sought early playing time and CSU's cornerback spots are up for grabs.

Skill Set

Walker starred primarily at quarterback for Chapel Hill, displaying a wide skill set as the offensive leader. Scout rated Walker a 3-star recruit and the 6th-best quarterback in Georgia this cycle, but Walker will most likely end up at cornerback for the Rams. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder is a dynamic offensive player and produced 1,074 yards and 8 touchdowns through the air, but it was on the ground where he was most dangerous. He finished with 895 yards and 9 scores rushing, showing an ability to find holes and explode through them quickly in order to get downfield. He also started at cornerback, securing around 20 tackles. Walker certainly has the ability to play both sides of the ball. He is a more natural athlete with the ball in his hands, so he could end up at receiver down the road, or most likely, compete immediately for a kick or punt returner spot. He has great size for a potential corner at 6-foot-1 and natural ball skills. Walker already knows how to be physical in getting after bigger ball carriers, too, and shedding blockers on the outside to get after ball carriers. But he will need to refine his technique at corner, as well as add muscle and become even more physical. Clearly, there is a lot to like in the speedy athlete, who sports a sub-4.5-forty and a 10.9 100-meter dash. 

Video

Walker Highlights

Previous ITR Articles

Jadon Walker is a Ram

Georgia athlete intrigued by CSU offer

http://www.scout.com/player/194124-darius-wise/recruiting?year=2016

Recruitment (lead recruiter - Jamie Bryant)

Wise had an interesting recruitment. The speedy athlete picked up an offer from CSU last May and reportedly received offers last year from BYU, Eastern Michigan and Miami (OH). He added an offer from Virginia in October as well. CSU safeties coach Jamie Bryant, who is well-versed in recruiting the Midwest and East, headed up Wise's recruitment for the Rams. Bryant visited Wise on multiple occasions and got him to take an official visit to CSU on December 2. While half of that weekend's visitors committed to CSU, Wise decided to wait things out. After six weeks of moving pieces behind the scenes, CSU needed a cornerback late and Wise committed to the Rams a week before signing day. 

Skill Set

Wise is similar to Jadon Walker in that he starred as a quarterback for his team, while also playing cornerback. Wise is much smaller at about 5-foot-10, but he is simply dynamic with the ball in his hands. Like so many other signees in this class, Wise could return kicks or even fill a role at slot receiver. However, the Rams like his quick-twitch abilities and intincts at cornerback, a spot he could see early playing time at. Wise can cut on a dime, meaning he would be great as a slot cover man. While he is smaller in stature, he isn't afraid of contact. Wise hardly came off the field for Beaver and showed tremendous endurance and toughness throughout the season. With great ball skills, quicks and natural football instincts, Wise could sneak under the radar as a possible early playmaker in this class. Of course, having a need at cornerback certainly helps.

Video 

Wise Highlights

Keegan Pope/InsideTheRams.com

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