Jim McElwain is working to build a winner in Fort Collins.
One year ago yesterday, Colorado State's second-year head coach had the pleasure of announcing his first ever recruiting class.
That day, Coach Mac showed us a side of him we all grew accustomed to over the last 12 months; he joked openly about the Rams' lack of size.
When he got to campus he wondered, “Where are the linemen?” and filled six of his recruiting spots with men over 260 pounds.
This year, things are much the same, as CSU continues to need bigmen up front; McElwain's added seven at 260 pounds or more.
Addressing the need in a hurry, McElwain's grabbed three junior college transfers to play on the defensive line in DT Terry Jackson (6'2” 260), DE Martavius Foster (6'5” 260) and DT LaRyan King (6'3” 290), while freshman DE Austin Berk (6'5” 230) signed his letter of intent early and is already taking classes.
Foster, King and Jackson all look to make an immediate impact at defensive line where the Rams are short on depth, especially following two seniors graduating last Fall.
The green and gold need all the help they can get; graduated seniors Lanston Tanyi and Broderick Sargent recorded 4.5 of the Rams' 20 sacks last season, a total that was far too low. They could barely manage a pass-rush with five defenders, and were almost always blocked when rushing four last season, a reason opposing quarterbacks were able to pick apart the skilled secondary.
Where the Rams also got bigger – as well as more athletic – is at wide receiver.
Last season, two of CSU's most productive wideouts – Charles Lovett and Joe Hansley – stand at 5'10” or shorter. They needed taller, more physical receivers, and McElwain went out and found them.
Rashard Higgins (6'2” 177), Elroy Masters (6'2” 200), Sammie Long (6'4” 197) and Xavier Williams (6'4” 205) all add size and strength to the wide receiver position, and they're speedsters as well. Williams runs a 4.54 40-yard dash and Long is listed on Rivals.com as possessing a 4.5 second 40 time as well.
Coach McElwain showed he could utilize his smaller receivers down the seam of the field for big gains last year, and it will be exciting to see what he can do with this foursome of beastly wideouts in the years to come.
Of course, with a 4-8 team last season, the coach has many areas of need to fill, and he did just that.
In all, there are six defensive linemen, four wide receivers, three linebackers, three defensive backs, three offensive linemen, two running backs, a tight end and quarterback.
With Coach McElwain's second Signing Day press conference at 2:30 this afternoon, there will be much more information on the Rams' 23 commitments later today.