2016 Top Returning Buffs Countdown: No. 28 to 25

BuffStampede.com Publisher Adam Munsterteiger and Fan Correspondent Tyler Ziskin continue this year's Top Buffs Countdown by talking about a group that includes a rising redshirt freshman offensive lineman.

No. 28

Junior Defensive Back Afolabi Laguda

Voting Breakdown: Adam Munsterteiger: No. 27 | Tyler Ziskin: No. 26 | Fans: No. 28

When asked about Laguda's current standing atop the depth chart at nickel back, head coach Mike MacIntyre hinted that Chidobe Awuzie will likely still man that position a majority of the time in 2016. Regardless, Laguda's importance to the Buffs' defense is significant. After starters Tedric Thompson and Ryan Moeller, Laguda is the safety with the most experience. The former Junior College transfer played 237 defensive snaps in 2015, his first season with the Buffs. Laguda is one of the hardest hitters on the team, and he will undoubtedly also be a key special teams contributor.

No. 27

Sophomore Punter Alex Kinney

Voting Breakdown: Adam Munsterteiger: No. 18 | Tyler Ziskin: No. 28 | Fans: No. 35

During his first season in Boulder, Kinney lived up to his previous billing as the third best punter prospect from the Class of 2015. The Fort Collins native did suffer through some growing pains early in the season, largely because he was taking too long to get his punts off, but Kinney quickly improved and became very consistent as his true freshman campaign progressed. He averaged 42 yards per boot during the final seven games, and for the season, he put 23 punts inside-the-20. Kinney is a preseason fourth-team all-Pac-12 pick by Phil Steele.

No. 26

Redshirt Freshman Offensive Lineman Tim Lynott

Voting Breakdown: Adam Munsterteiger: No. 23 | Tyler Ziskin: No. 31 | Fans: No. 23

One of the Buffs' prized signees two recruiting cycles ago, Lynott appears ready to step into a starting role after redshirting last fall. He is expected to move in to center in the future, most likely beginning in 2017, but the Buffs' coaches want him to gain some experience at guard first. Lynott plays with good leverage and solid technique for a young offensive lineman. He is another young Colorado player, like Nick Fisher, that should gradually move up this list the next three years.

No. 25

Senior Defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon

Voting Breakdown: Adam Munsterteiger: No. 24 | Tyler Ziskin: No. 25 | Fans: No. 26

A long corner with good ball skills, Witherspoon has the talent to be ranked higher on this list. But much like Bryce Bobo on the offensive side of the ball, Witherspoon has not yet shown consistent focus in practice, and as a result, he has not reached his full potential yet. He has another season for it all to click. Witherspoon played nearly 550 defensive snaps as a junior and he picked off two passes.

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