It’s a new era for the Colorado State under head coach Jay Norvell. As such, the Rams are an interesting study when it comes to their top 10 returning players. With a mass exodus of transferring players out as well as in, we bent the rules a bit here. Yet, the headliners for Colorado State’s top returning players are just that, returning to Fort Collins despite the coaching overhaul.
For each Mountain West team’s top returning players: Air Force | Boise State | Colorado State | Fresno State | Hawaii | Nevada | New Mexico | San Diego State | San Jose State | UNLV | Utah State | Wyoming
Top 10 returning players at Colorado State
As the countdown to the college football regular season continues, as does our top 10 returning players series. Typically, we’re looking only at players returning to their same team from a season ago, but with the current state of the Colorado State roster, we’ve made an exception. Included in this list of top 10 returning players are also players who entered the Colorado State program with their former head coach Jay Norvell, transferring from Nevada. As such, here are the top returning players for Colorado State.
10) Angel “AJ” King, CB
Angel King comes over from Nevada after playing in all 12 games for the Wolf Pack last year. King has good size and better athleticism. He utilizes both in keeping receivers in front of him and has plenty of burst to make closing efforts on the ball. There were also multiple occasions where King pursued the ball carrier to the perimeter in the run game, limiting potential gains on the outside.
9) David Bailey, RB
Given the new offensive playbook and system, David Bailey gets thrust down this list. There is no denying his all-around talent with the ball in his hands, but his utilization remains in question until the season begins. It’s hard to think he’ll have the impact he did under former coach Steve Addazio, but there is a path to success under Norvell similar to how Toa Taua was used out of the backfield in the receiving game. If Bailey can rely on his receiving ability (33 career catches), he’ll add even more value than he currently does.
8) A’Jon Vivens, RB
A former receiver, A’Jon Vivens is tailormade for Norvell’s system. Vivens has shown growth as a ball carrier over the past two seasons, but he’s a real threat in the passing game. If Devonte Lee and Toa Taua combined for over 50 receptions a season ago, expect Vivens to have a similar impact on his own. He’s incredibly skilled with the ball in his hands and finally may have the right system for him.
7) Dequan Jackson, LB
Dequan Jackson is a three-down linebacker by trade and certainly by ability. He can find the smallest crack in protection incredibly well, finishing with a sack and 8.5 total tackles for loss a season ago. Jackson also has sound coverage skills from the middle of the field, limiting plays with his ability to run sideline to sideline.
6) Devin Phillips, DT
It may not have looked like it in the box score, but Devin Phillips was dominant when rushing the passer. He completely clogged passing lanes with his ability to two-gap and caused multiple pressures a season ago. He’s got a great first step for a man his size and rarely gets backed out of the play.
5) Melquan Stovall, WR
A season ago at Nevada, Melquan Stovall feasted from the slot. He has sure hands and a documented ability after the catch. Stovall also possesses great speed in the open field and should continue to eat up the short area in the Rams’ new offensive system. He’ll have to improve his consistency on a game-by-game basis, but he’s every bit of an elite speed threat once he’s got the ball in his hands.
4) Dante Wright, WR
An all-around force, Dante Wright is one of the lone offensive returners from the Colorado State roster under the former regime, or in Wright’s case, regimes. A Mike Bobo-era signee, Wright presents a challenge with his ball skills in the receiving game and his elusiveness as a returner. He’s a speedster with an underappreciated ability to come down with the contested catches at every level of the field. Wright can win from the slot or outside just fine.
3) Mohamed Kamara, EDGE
It should be a massive year for Mohamed Kamara as he’s the featured pass rusher following Scott Patchan’s departure. Kamara ripped off 7.5 sacks in 2021, including another handful of pressures in a limited pass-rushing capacity. He also dropped back into coverage multiple times, proving he’s more than just a pass-rush specialist. Kamara has great length and a freakish ability to bend the edge from a down stance or off the ball as a stand-up linebacker.
2) Tory Horton, WR
The top returning player under Norvell in terms of total receiving yards is Tory Horton. He should factor into the X role on the outside in the new system in Fort Collins. Horton recorded 52 receptions for 659 yards and five touchdowns a season ago opposite Romeo Doubs and Cole Turner at Nevada. He uses his great speed at his size to naturally separate from defenders and has sure hands to boot.
1) Cam’Ron Carter, LB
The leader of the defense is back as Cam’Ron Carter returns for his fifth season at Colorado State. A dominant tackler at the point of attack, Carter showcased an all-around ability that may be second to none in the Mountain West this season. Carter led the team with 100 tackles last year and chipped in with six sacks as well. It’s that multifaceted ability that separates him from his teammates and conference foes alike. He’s has great size and even more athleticism to go with his 6’1″, 225-pound frame. Carter is the name to know on this defense in 2022.
Honorable mention players returning to Colorado State in 2022
- Ty McCullough, WR
- Gray Davis, G
- Tywan Francis, S
- Henry Blackburn, S
- Tanner Arkin, TE