Colorado coaches are expected to sign nine defensive linemen on national signing day, restocking the front end of the defense with a plethora of talent.
CU has just six scholarship defensive linemen on the roster heading into spring ball and those numbers are what led to the large group in this recruiting class.
Senior-to-be Will Pericak is easily the most experienced player on the Buffs' defensive line in 2012. He has been a big contributor since his freshman season in 2009 following a redshirt year and a move from tight end.
Pericak has played inside and out during his career. Only three players made more tackles than he did in 2011 when he finished with 64 total stops in 13 games. Pericak was arrested in January for allegedly lighting a trashcan on fire inside a Boulder bar. Assuming he gets into no further trouble, he should be a mainstay once again in the fall.
Kirk Poston, a third-year sophomore who finished last season as Pericak's backup at left defensive end, will have to step up his game this year to avoid being passed by several talented freshmen.
Two big men with limited experience return in the middle of the line for CU. Nate Bonsu has been plagued by injuries in his two years in the program and Erich Richter is a converted offensive lineman, who could be a decent run-stuffing option assuming he continues to improve. He would be expected to earn most of his playing time early in the season in 2012. If he continues to earn it as the season progresses and younger players learn, that would be a bonus.
Junio Chidera Uzo-Diribe had a difficult sophomore season in 2011 and will be looking to rebound beginning with spring ball. He played in all 13 games and made just 18 tackles with 51/2 sacks.
Uzo-Diribe will likely have to share time with sophomore Juda Parker next fall unless coaches can get them on the field at the same time. Parker played in nine games and made just six total tackles as a true freshman, but he showed flashes that made him a sought-after recruit a year ago.
The star recruit in the class of nine is up for debate among CU fans. We expect him to be defensive end Kisima Jagne, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound product of Chandler, Ariz. Jagne has all the tools and talent to be an immediate contributor and to have some of the veterans worried about their playing time.
De'Jon Wilson a defensive end from Woodson High School in Washington D.C., also could earn early playing time. His high school coach describes him as "an animal."
Samson Kafovalu is the third defensive end recruit we expect to challenge for early playing time. Kafovalu is a product of Riverside, Calif., and also has the body for immediate action at 6-3, 240.
At least three recruits could earn immediate playing time on the interior of the CU defense because of the lack of depth there.
Many believe Justin Solis, a 6-3, 300-pounder from Westlake Village, Calif., is the prize recruit in the middle. He is very good, but he might need time to get in shape for college ball. We believe Josh Tupou, a 6-4, 295-pound prospect from Buena Park, Calif., is more likely to make an immediate impact for the Buffs.
The defensive linemen we believe might be the biggest surprise of the class is Tyler Henington from Mullen High School in Denver. CU coaches are said to view him as a bigger version of former Buff Curtis Cunningham, who always played with heart and passion.
Those six players are the best in this class on the defensive line, but the class also includes defensive end John Stuart, a teammate of Solis' at Westlake Village, and 260-pound defensive tackle Kory Rasmussen from Honolulu, who will likely redshirt and gain weight and strength. However, both are good players who shouldn't be discounted.
The final member of the class on the defensive line is Derek McCartney, the grandson of former CU legendary coach Bill McCartney.
Derek McCartney is considered a bit of a project, though he dominated at the Class 2A level in Colorado for Faith Christian High School.
McCartney will grayshirt next fall and join the program in January 2013 at defensive end.